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How A Bolivian Junior Chess Champion Became A Social Media Star

How A Bolivian Junior Chess Champion Became A Social Media Star

Mick
| 57 | Other

WCM Alexandra Prado, also known as AlexandraChess, is the mind behind some of the internet's most-viewed chess content, with hundreds of thousands of followers across different platforms. How did a young chess champion from Bolivia become one of the world's most-followed chess influencers? Read her story to find out!


You played chess competitively for Bolivia before moving to France. Can you tell us more about your background, and how you started playing chess?

When I was a kid, my parents used to take me and my brother to extracurricular activities, and one of them was chess. There was a chess club in this really small town where I was born.

When I started I was really bad. I cried in my first class! I found it really difficult and I didn't want to go again. I cried but I just went again and they started teaching me, until one day I felt very strong and I started winning national tournaments!

Actually, in the first tournament I ever played, I got second place without realizing it. I was enjoying playing and hanging out with my new friends that I made when they called me to the ceremony to get the trophy! I was like, "Me? Are you sure?"

After that, my family was very happy. My teacher and coach at the time also realized I had some potential and started to treat me as one of the competitive students. After that, I improved faster and felt stronger in everything and started winning different age categories—I was one of the best junior players in Bolivia and went to the Olympiad and World Championship.

A young Alexandra Prado (AlexandraChess) holding a chess trophy.

When did you start making chess content?

I was playing in Bolivia when the pandemic started, and they told everyone in the country to go to their homes! I remember I saw my trainer around that time and he said, "What a coincidence,  I was just talking to my friend about how you would be perfect for something like this." And I was like, what are you talking about? He replied: “You could be a streamer!”

At the time I didn't have any idea what that was; I had actually only played just a little bit online, I played almost entirely over-the-board chess. And this streaming thing… I didn’t know it existed. But I accepted and started streaming in Spanish on a national channel—not an international one—following tournaments and different things like that. 

Then I decided to come to France. I had applied for a university exchange program because my brother lives here, and I thought I’d try. They accepted me, I came here, and just when I arrived, they locked everything down again for the third time! So I couldn’t go to class in person—I was studying online from my apartment, and I was not very happy.

But I started watching streams and following tournaments, playing online, and getting more involved in this modern chess world. And after that, The Queen’s Gambit happened too.

What kind of content do you usually post?

One day a girl posted an Instagram story where she challenged me in a video. At the time I was making videos and TikToks related to chess, but not really showing moves or things like that. I asked one of my friends to help me film, and after we finished I thought: “Why don’t I use the board?” We recorded it in one take, I uploaded the video, and it got more than a million views. I think at the time there were not many people using a real board to properly show moves, traps, and things like that in these short videos.

I started making my videos in Spanish, but I decided to switch to English after a while. How can I best describe lots of my content? They’re often traps, tricks, and things that will not help you too much in most real games! But they’re fun and aimed at beginners. 

People will sometimes leave comments saying “It doesn’t work!” or “100 Elo chess” but I also get people replying saying things like “I know nothing about chess but I really want to try it, and I’ll follow you to start learning.” A lot of people just want to beat their friends at chess, and I found that my content is really good for beginners.

A couple of months ago you mentioned an interest in chessboxing. How is your chessboxing career going, and do you have any ideal opponents in mind?

Yeah, it surprised me because I didn't know that existed until recently when I saw Andrea Botez doing it! I might have heard something about chessboxing before but didn’t really know anything about it. When I saw her I realized, oh, this is an actual thing… why don’t I try it?!

The funny thing is, I went to the doctor one time, and they told me that I should try either boxing or swimming! Right now I’ve just started boxing and I found a club here in Toulouse. I’ve only been going for about a month.

If I had to pick someone… hmm, that’s tough, but maybe I’d say one of the Annas? Anna Cramling or Anna Rudolf!

One of the benefits of living in France is that it’s a lot easier to go to events like TwitchCon Paris! How was your experience there last month?

When I went to TwitchCon, I was so excited to have this experience. It was really incredible. I was nervous to meet all these people who I’d seen online in person.

I had a really good time meeting all the other streamers, and making new friends—and seeing some very famous people. I saw Levy there, for example, and said hi to him and we took a picture together. He actually recognized me!

It was great to be in the same place as them and stream together and talk about things—when you speak with most people it’s hard to share details about your work since they don’t really understand that well. But this was like… You understand me! It was really good.

Also just to meet people and play chess at the Chess.com booth; it really felt like a family, and when we all met in person you could feel a real bond, like a community.

A photo collage of AlexandraChess at TwitchCon Paris 2023.

l am convinced the way one plays chess always reflects the player's personality. If something defines his character, then it will also define his way of playing.
— GM Vladimir Kramnik

You re-posted this great quote by Vladimir Kramnik above. How is your own personality reflected in the way you play chess?

I think I'm a very happy and cheerful person. I love to dance, and I'm always trying to make people feel comfortable and happy. I like to be moving all the time. I think the same applies to chess. I like it when it's a fun game where there’s a lot going on.

Okay, if it’s a strategic positional game, and I am winning because I control this square… It's fun in a way, because like how Magnus once said, you are constricting your opponent. And you see them trying to get out of that position, and you feel like you have the power in the situation. That can be fun, but I like it more when it's sharp and there are crazy things happening in the game.

So, yes, I think that's my style. A position where there's a lot of potential on both sides to do fun things. Of course, I'm not very good compared with grandmasters, but even at my level, I have an insight or two maybe.

Despite your positive and cheerful personality, you have one of the more intimidating Chess.com usernames. What’s the story behind deepfear?

Okay, I’ll tell you the truth! When I was creating a Chess.com account, I was trying to think about my nickname… I was creating it to play with a friend. Alexandra was taken, AlexandraChess was taken, Alex268 or whatever was taken. I was thinking, okay, none of these work and also it's not like I'm being especially original here… and I wanted to be original.

I thought “What can I choose to be really cool?” I recently watched a movie called Deep Fear… it’s about a shark, and I really love sharks, and I thought that’s a cool name to use!

AlexandraChess (WCM Alexandra Prado) at a chessboard outside with an eager dog that looks like he's about to eat the chess pieces.

Lastly… What is your dog’s Elo rating and what are his favorite tactics?

He has an Elo rating of two, and he’s always ready to play. It’s my dad's dog and he's really cute. He wants to play with the ball all the time. In the photo, he’s not actually eating a piece but trying to get the ball. I put it on the board just for the picture!


You can follow Alexandra's content on YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter/X, and Twitch.

Previous Streamer/Creator of the Month articles:

Mick
Mick Murray

Mick is a writer and editor for Chess.com and ChessKid. He enjoys playing the Caro-Kann and Italian Game to varying degrees of success. Before joining Chess.com, Mick worked as a writer, editor, and content manager in Japan, New Zealand, and the Netherlands.

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