Esports organization TSM has signed Hikaru Nakamura, the youngest American to ever earn the title of Grandmaster in chess, a five-time United States champion, and now a dominant streamer on Twitch. The signing further highlights the growing popularity of chess in a time when other games like Fortnite and Fall Guys top the charts for viewers.
Nakamura is currently the top-ranked blitz player, which is a type of fast chess, where players have less time to make their moves than in a normal tournament. In blitz chess, time controls for each player are ten minutes or less per player, though there are several variations depending on the organization referenced.
The popularity of chess on Twitch should not be underestimated, with Nakamura boasting an impressive number of followers at over half a million. Not only is Nakamura’s Twitch channel the most-watched chess stream, it also ranks #45 most-watched among English channels, and #73 overall for the entire streaming platform.
Speaking about the move to TSM in the video, Nakamura discussed how chess has grown in the past few years in mainstream culture within the streaming community, “To see how chess has gone from something that I felt was very niche on Twitch to something so broad that you have [esports] organizations interested in us as streamers and content creators…speaks volumes above how much chess has grown.”
Nakamura goes on to describe how certain streamers have helped chess grow in popularity on Twitch in the past, and is an insightful look as well at the streamer mentality when considering if diving headfirst into content creation is something they want to explore.
Nakamura singled out two streamers who had a profound influence on his own progression and growth as a streamer. First was Joedat “Voyboy” Esfahani, a former professional League of Legends player, who Nakamura describes as providing invaluable insight into the process of signing with an esports organization.
The second person who encouraged Nakamura throughout this Twitch growth was none other than Byron “Reckful” Bernstein. Though he is no longer with us, Nakamura made sure to thank his old friend for the words of encouragement as a streamer.
With the move to TSM, we wish Nakamura all the best, and we cannot wait to see which other chess streamers next make a move to prominent esports organizations.
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