28 March 2021

Is It Only About Money?

For this edition of The Sociology of Chess (November 2016), I wanted to use another Youtube video from the recent post, TCEC/CCC HTTP '!Command's (March 2021). The only problem was : of the 30 or so videos on the list for that post, most of them had nothing to do with chess. Although there were plenty of clips like Aiaaira - the National Anthem of Abkhazia (youtube.com; Wikipedia: 'a partially recognized state in the South Caucasus, recognised by most countries as part of Georgia, which views the region as an autonomous republic'), the handful of videos that had anything to do with chess were on un-sociable topics like chess programming.

Luckily I also had the short list from the most recent featured video Chess Can Be Heavy (also March 2021), which was 100% about chess and which had a few good clips for the series on sociology. The one I chose harks back to another video post in the series, The Dilemma of Women's Chess (July 2020).

Making $100K+ A Year Playing Chess On Twitch (8:21) • '[Published on] Feb 18, 2021'

The description of the CNBC 'Make It' video says,

Alexandra Botez, 25, is a professional Twitch streamer who makes six figures playing chess online. She and her sister Andrea Botez, 18, have over 650,000 followers and are signed with Team Envy, a global esports and entertainment company. 2020 was a big year for chess as the popular Netflix show ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ attracted millions of new users to Chess.com.

As usually is the case with popular videos -- this one is approaching 250.000 views -- the comments are half the entertainment. Example:-

Many people think these sisters only play chess, but they do more than play chess. They will play 'Among Us', chat with their Followers, talk about their ex-boyfriends, and even collaborate with Mr. Beast. Their content is really entertaining.

'Among Us', 'Mr. Beast'? I had to look them up. Or how about a little history:-

'Queen's Gambit has done a ton for bringing attention to the game!' • 'The streamer xQc blew up chess on Twitch by streaming it to his audience.' • 'I disagree. Pogchamps 1 and 2 really blew up chess.' • 'xQc made Pogchamps possible.' • 'Chess blew up on Twitch prior but for sure the Queen's Gambit brought it to a larger audience.' • 'It was Hikaru who really blew it up.' • 'xQc blew up Hikaru' • etc.

One name, Graham Stephan, was mentioned again and again:-

I can't wait for Graham Stephan to react to this.

Ditto, 'simps':-

There are enough simps out there for her to even get to 1M [followers?]. There are so many better players and actual GMs who make videos but people watch her just to look at her or chat with her.

Maybe chess isn't the story at all:-

'"Making $100K+ a year just chatting on Twitch" should be the title, right?' • 'Title could have read "Making $100K being a chick on Twitch".'

I could go on and on, but finally, when all is said and done:-

'This is just really a phenomenal story. Thank you, CNBC Make It, for this one and many others.' • 'Wow, thanks for sharing your story!'

Amen to that!

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