Photo courtesy of intheknow.com
“Chess isn’t always competitive. Chess can also be beautiful.”-Beth Harmon in The Queen’s Gambit
As someone of close Russian descent, chess was never an unfamiliar game to me. My grandparents on both sides played on the regular, especially during their childhood (where there wasn’t much else to do). Despite the game not originating in Russia, chess has roots as early as the 14th Century in the Slavic country. There’s even a legend that says Ivan IV (The Terrible) died while playing against Bogdan Belsky, one of his associates.
Chess appeared even more popular in the public eye during quarantine, specifically after Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit aired in October of 2020. After watching the show and absolutely adoring it, I decided to dive back into my childhood and spark my own interest in the game again. Here I have listed my favorite chess content creators.
GothamChess on Youtube and Twitch:
When I began to learn again, GothamChess, also known as Levy Rozman, was the first chess Youtuber I came across. In addition to content creating, Rozman also is a chess commentator and an International Master, which is slightly below a Grandmaster. His channel consists of free and extremely informative lessons for virtually any chess player at any level, and his charismatic energy is what keeps viewers coming back for more. My favorite video of his is titled, “The Most Violent Chess Game in History.” I’d say a rather fitting title since most outsiders look at chess as a very boring game to play or watch, but it’s technically a “war” game. Regardless, the video showcases a 1912 game between Edward Lasker (playing white) and George Alan Thomas (playing black). Both played a generally solid game until black blundered, causing white to play a beautiful queen sacrifice. The king, which is currently on the top right of the board, only has one option, which is to capture the queen. From there on, every move by black is forced by white. White positions itself so that each move, black only has one legal move until it makes its way all the way down the board, in which white delivers a BACK RANK CHECKMATE. This never happens, and I will attach an image because it sounds ludicrous.
The 1912 game where white delivers an unseen before and a rather shameful checkmate. The king initially started on the left of the rook and made its way all the way down the board.
2. Agadmator’s Chess Channel on Youtube
Antonio Radić, also known as Agadmator, is a Croatian chess Youtuber with an incredibly sarcastic personality. He is not nearly as charismatic or energetic as other chess content creators, but his dry humor will not fail to make you laugh. Rather than posting chess lessons, Agadmator usually sticks to creating videos that analyze popular games from different time periods. My favorite video of his is undoubtedly “Tal Creates Absolute Madness on the Board!” Tal being Mikhail Tal, a creative genius and one of chess’s all-time greats. The game features Tal (playing white) versus Andres Vooremaa (playing black). Agadmator explains the position where Tal made genius moves solely to fire up the crowd, and says, “this position is so disgusting, it’s even hard to look at, but then again it’s beautiful.”
3. Anna Rudolf on Youtube
Anna Rudolf, a Hungarian Woman Grandmaster, is also a chess content creator with positive energy and informative explanations. Her channel mostly consists of various chess challenges, with a few chess lessons here and there. My favorite video of hers has to be “Beth Harmon at her peak: my biggest challenge to date”, referring to the (unfortunately) fictional chess prodigy in The Queen’s Gambit. Chess.com created a bot in which you can play against Beth Harmon at different ages, including when she first began learning under the tutelage of Mr. Shaibel, and the level where she defeated world champion Vasily Borgov. Rudolf, being one of the 458 Woman Grandmasters, worked her way up to the final Beth Harmon after beating Beth at every other level. Unfortunately, after an hour-long video, the Beth Harmon bot at age 22 proves to be at a higher level than Rudolf, causing Anna to resign in a losing position. One of my favorite things about Anna Rudolf’s videos is how in-depth she explains her moves. When playing against different bots, she essentially thinks out loud, pointing out the purpose of almost all her moves and her opponent’s. For someone who is a relative beginner, her videos are very helpful.