The Pogchamps chess tournament is back!
Chess.com announced today that Pogchamps, a chess tournament pitting top streamers and content creators against each other, is making its return. The first Pogchamps was the most-viewed chess tournament of all-time, and Chess.com is out to break the record again. The action will kick off on August 21 and last until September 6. During it, sixteen top streamers will compete for their share of a $50,000 prize pool.
The talent pool
Similarly to the first tournament, GM Hikaru Nakamura, WFM Alexandra Botez and Chess.com's IM Danny Rensch will provide commentary on the matches throughout the event. Meanwhile, the thirteen confirmed streamers that are playing in Pogchamps are:
- Hafthorjulius (The Mountain from Game of Thrones)
To note, the last three spots are remaining open for any other well-known streamers that want to get in on the action.
Accompanying the streamers will be a number of coaches. They include Nakamura and Botez, but also IM Levy “GothamChess” Rozman, GM Daniel “The Prophet” Naroditsky, WGM Qiyu “akaNemsko” Zhou, and more. That's not all though, as some streamers from the original tournament will make guest appearances throughout the event. With so many personalities, this is something you don't want to miss.
The format is simple. In the beginning, so August 21, the group stage begins. It lasts for a little over one week, until August 31. During this time, Twitch's top streamers will play in a double round-robin bracket, which then feeds into the playoffs bracket. There's both a championship and consolation bracket here too. What all this means is that there's a ton of chess action to binge during these weeks.
As mentioned before, the players can get one-on-one coaching during the event to level up their skills. This is crucial because there's a lot less variance between the players' rankings in this iteration, which should give way to more fun matches and leaves the field wide-open for anyone to take home the big bucks.
Broadcast and more
Anyone who wants to catch the high-octane chess action can watch on a variety of platforms. Chess.com themselves will broadcast on their site, while also streaming the tournament on Twitch, YouTube and Facebook. Last time, Pogchamps hit impressive heights in terms of viewership, drawing in an average of 42,000 viewers and a peak of 87,000.
Seemingly out of nowhere, chess has skyrocketed in terms of popularity online. Much of the success can be contributed to GM Hikaru Nakamura, who drew a large audience with his charming personality and in-depth explanation of games. Others, like Felix ‘xQc” Lengyel and Charlie “moistCr1TiKaL” White jumped on board the hype train and quickly grew to love the game. In fact, a match between these two went viral when moistCr1TiKaL beat xQc in a mere six moves. Since then, the clip's attracted over seven million views across multiple platforms.
Chess is a classic game and still manages to bring people together all over the world. If you're new or experienced with it, or even if you've never played before, you should definitely check out Pogchamps when it rolls around in August. Who knows, you might just find a new hobby!