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Exploring the Surprising Rise of Chess Esports

For years, chess has been growing online in popularity, much to the bemusement of many. This centuries-old board game boasts a relatively large following in its own right, but since 2020, it has been gaining new ground as a popular esports game. While many gamers may scoff at the idea, ‘chess esports’ is a perfectly valid term, and for around two years, the concept has been spreading like wildfire on platforms like Twitch.

This event was sizeable, boasting a $50,000 prize pool and attracting the attention of some of the biggest names in chess. For the tournament, players were coached by the likes of Hikaru Nakamura, one of the most famous chess grandmasters to emerge in recent years. We’ll cover Nakamura’s contribution to the growth of chess esports further down in this article. This event was enough to kick-start the true growth of the Chess category, with viewers receiving drops linked to the platform, the de-facto home for digital chess esports tournaments.

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