Creating a Twitch community

In a previous article, we presented Twitch as a new way of crowdfunding. Viewers can support a Twitch streamer with donations or subscriptions. We will now focus more on the chess community and how a chess streamer can give viewers incentives to support him more. To illustrate our assertions, we will travel to Tbilisi, Georgia, to present Woman FIDE Master (thereafter: WFM) Lile Koridze’s channel, to which I subscribed.

You will find chess puzzles to solve in the article, with commentaries made by WFM Lile Koridze herself, who receives all my thanks.

An online chess community

Twitch is an online service that provides a streamer with the possibility to broadcast live content. That content is displayed through a Twitch channel. The streamer can interact with the viewers, chatting with them and even playing with them (or against them). We can classify a Twitch channel in both “User-generated content” and the subcategory “Viewer-generated content.

The online chess community is composed of chess masters who are streaming or watching, casual players who stream their game and viewers who watch chess content and even play against chess streamers. The website organizes regularly PogChamps, an online chess championship during which famous streamers play chess against each other. Chess Masters coach those streamers. The game level displayed ranges from beginner level to intermediate level. Those games are very instructive for viewers who have the same chess level. It allows players with a rating from 600 up to 1500 to learn from these games.

Chess streamers are also interacting with each other, organizing subscribers’ battles or matches. Those games are a way to reinforce the chess community, allowing viewers to discover a new Chess Master they can follow on Twitch. An adoption match is a particular form match. To perform an adoption during a chess match, a player must win ten games in a row or win all the games in a ten games match. Here is an example of adoption between WFM Lile Koridze and International Master (IM) Eric Rosen, a highest ranked and titled chess player :

or against IM Roberto Molina:

As the results of these matches demonstrate, it is difficult but not impossible to win a game against a higher rated player. With an ELO rating difference of 300 points, the ratio of wins/losses for the highest-ranked player is estimated at 90/10. Considering these results, how can a Chess Master give incentives to a way lower-rated player to play online against him in a live-broadcasted game he is pretty sure to lose? How to convince this viewer to subscribe.

Subscribers’ appreciation content: the example of WFM Lile Koridze’s channel

A chess streamer must give his community good quality content and interact with his community. His role is to create a welcoming community. The content broadcast must be understandable and includes tactics, but can also be funny. For instance, WFM Lile Koridze asks her viewers and subscribers to challenge her in puzzles battles during each stream. This exercise is excellent to practise tactics and spot them quickly. It helps the viewer to increase his game level. Sometimes, any viewer can challenge her to a chess game. Interactions include also sharing wits and wordplays, analyzing games and answering questions raised in chat. It is sometimes just discussing everyday’s life.

My stats against WFM Lile Koridze. The half-point indicates a draw: it is possible to draw in chess by stalemate (if the player is not under a check and doesn’t have any legal move to play), by threefold repetition or by mutual agreement.

Lile Koridze channel dedicates the Sunday to her subscribers. Any subscriber can challenge her to a chess game, broadcasted live on Twitch. The subscriber can challenge with or without odd. She also organizes simuls, playing up to ten boards online only against her subscribers. Those simuls games offer better chances to the player to defeat or draw a game against a Chess Master. As a subscriber, I have challenged Lile Koridze many times. As expected, I have lost so many games. But any game lost is a lesson learned that can lead sometimes to victories in simuls. The goal for the challenger is to play the best game possible.