Supporting Each Other on Chess.com
Supporting each other is more important now than ever.

Supporting Each Other on Chess.com‎

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With over 5 million games played on Chess.com each day, your daily dozen or so games may not be drawing much attention—even from you, if you don’t analyze them afterward. Opponents may come and go in a blur of usernames.

Moreover, the pandemic causes feelings of isolation and loneliness in many people. This article gives ideas for connecting within Chess.com and supporting others on Chess.com too. You can be part of something greater than yourself on Chess.com!

Chess.com Clubs

Playing chess is fun, but may feel pointless during endless chess challenges. One way to make your games more significant is to play them within a verified US Chess Affiliate on Chess.com. Most of those are online versions of brick-and-mortar chess clubs.

For example, the Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club, located in San Francisco, California, has its own club on Chess.com and runs dozens of Chess.com and ChessKid.com tournaments each week and often challenges other clubs to matches. Then its staff of titled players analyzes members’ games in its newsletters. Playing on Chess.com against club members who you know in real life will remind you of where you belong within your chess community.

Chess.com club
The Mechanics' Institute Chess.com club has over 600 members!

If your chess club is not listed in that affiliate directory, go to chess.com/clubs to find a club that matches your location or interests. I typed “Nebraska” in the search bar, since I was born, and spent my first 11 years, in Lincoln, Nebraska. Several clubs popped up that I could join. Then I typed in “rabbit” since I have a pet rabbit. Apparently, other chess players share my pet passion as there were “rabbit” chess clubs that I could join. Joining a Chess.com club lets you make friends online and gives each game more meaning.

Chess.com Leagues

Chess.com leagues are another way to get more involved and feel more connected in the chess world. These leagues give you an excellent opportunity to represent your state, city, province, local community, and more! You can even represent your country by joining your national chess federation's club and participate in their league activities, including the World League.

Chess.com Leagues
Chess.com Leagues are a great way to get more involved and connected.

Twitch 

There are non-playing ways to find meaning on Chess.com too. The chess category on Twitch.tv has expanded from slightly more than 1,000,000 hours watched in February to over 3,700,000 hours watched in April. Many of the biggest streamers on Twitch have taken up chess in recent weeks and will be participating in Chess.com and Twitch's PogChamps event

Unlike when you are watching network television shows, a passive activity where the stars don’t notice you, Twitch streamers have the ability to acknowledge your presence. Chess celebrities may chat directly with you, as noted in this article. According to Chess.com’s director of business development Nick Barton, “GM Hikaru Nakamura may respond back to you in chat. And that's just kind of a fun little interaction that you have with people where you're able to connect on a more personal level with chess players.”

Hikaru Nakamura may respond back to you in chat. And that's just kind of a fun little interaction that you have with people where you're able to connect on a more personal level with chess players.
— Nick Barton, Chess.com Director of Business Development

That personal connection may be one reason that Chess.com on Twitch is a pandemic coping mechanism. According to GM Daniel Naroditsky, “The people who visit my stream often have a very important place. And so for them, that two, three hours of interaction and banter and, you know, friendly roasting, that's friendship for them and social interaction that really fills up the monotony (during quarantines).” Moreover, some Chess.com Twitch streams raise money for good causes, such as the India Charity Simul with GM Viswanathan Anand and other grandmasters who raised money to fight COVID-19.

Charity Events

Supporting a charity chess stream is a way to make a difference. The upcoming Chess for West Bengal Charity event is open to all Chess.com users and will raise funds to support those affected by Cyclone Amphan. The recent ECF 24-hour Marathon Event raised over $12,000 for the British Red Cross, while Chess.com's Femme Batale series raised over $3,300 for the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund in March.

Charity chess events
The Adopt-a-Danny Series is just one of many chess charity events.

The Adopt-a-Danny series has raised thousands of dollars for the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, and FIDE's Checkmate Coronavirus Initiative is running for a month and has over 1,500 events! The above-mentioned events are just some of the charity events that happen worldwide almost every day—there is always an opportunity to make a difference.

I'd like to take a specific look at an event that happened in April: the Dallas, Texas-based Chess Moves COVID-19 Fundraiser Online Blitz Tournament on Chess.com. The event raised over $800 for the benefit of DFW Care and Minnie’s Food Pantry and was won by IM Keaton Kiewra. His longtime students Chase and Cole Frutos organized the event, which Kiewra streamed on Twitch. Kiewra has been part of chess communities in Lincoln, Nebraska and The University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas), as he grew up in Lincoln and was a student at UT Dallas, where I teach.

One of Kiewra’s most beloved chess communities was the San Diego Surfers, a team that competed in the PRO Chess League sponsored by Chess.com. Kiewra emailed that “the team really united the SoCal chess community.” Moreover, Kiewra “was able to help some of the team’s younger members (through the team and also through individual training) to improve to around IM level.”

San Diego Surfers
IM Kiewra was the manager of the PRO Chess League's San Diego Surfers

During the pandemic, Kiewra is connecting with other chess players via Chess.com and Twitch. His Twitch channel is The Famous Freaking Leg3nds. Kiewra emailed that the name is, “a PG version of how GM Gata Kamsky referred to himself during his famous rant while he was streaming. The term has gained popularity in the chess community, so we decided to do our own take on it. The second ‘e’ in legends is replaced with a 3 because there are 3 of us: Derek Wu, Josiah Stearman, and me. It’s a fun group of good friends...I sometimes stream some of the strong blitz events I play, or we do ‘hand and brain’ together which is where we play as a two-person team where one person says the name of a piece the other has to move that piece. That game has gained a lot of popularity lately.”

Chess players from around the world, speaking a variety of languages, are supported by Chess.com. As a Chess.com user, you can support others by playing games for your local chess club, joining a club where you network with like-minded players, donating to a charity chess stream, or following Twitch streamers. The pandemic will end, but the connections you make via Chess.com will remain.

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