10 Tips To Stream Your Chess Games

10 Tips To Stream Your Chess Games

pete
pete
Aug 10, 2015, 12:00 AM |
16 | Fun & Trivia

Streaming competitive gaming has exploded in popularity the past few years, and many of the biggest chess celebrities on the Internet are not super-GMs but super streamers.

Chess.com is hosting a $3,000-prize pool streamers tournament on Sept. 16, open to any chess streamer with a quality video sample and who is willing to stream every round of the event.

If you'd like to apply to that tournament, please send a Chess.com message to "Pete" with a sample of one of your chess streams. If it's good, we'll put you in the tournament.

But how do you make a chess stream good? You want your channel to be inviting to beginners and exciting for everyone.

Here are 10 tips for making a fun and professional chess stream.

1. Use XSplit (if you're on a PC).

XSplit is available and easy to use, but there is other software recommended by many regular streamers and top sites like Twitch. Options include Evolve, OBS, CamTwist for Mac (requires FLME) and others. The software is important, but the biggest factor is that you're comfortable with the technology so that you can focus on delivering a great show.

2. Make a master template.

Chess.com can provide titled players with a customized professional template if requested, especially for those who may not have the time or design skills to create a professional-looking layout themselves.

3. Interact with viewers.

Use the chat on your stream and Twitter to make your viewers feel more engaged. You'd be surprised how far a little fan interaction can grow your stream's popularity.

Ask trivia questions, run silly contests, and be creative. It's up to you to make your chess stream a must-watch event.

4. Don't try to be too smart.

Chess has many strong grandmasters providing commentary on top games, but that's not always what the people want! One of our most popular shows is Melik and Me, and that's because the amateurs aren't afraid to ask questions so that they can get real answers and provide instruction for the audience. Pretending you know more about chess than you do is not going to get you anywhere, and it will leave your audience frustrated.

5. Learn from the best.

Why try to re-invent the wheel? Check out the best chess streamers and see what they're doing right to maintain a quality show. Of course, don't be afraid to add your own voice to your broadcast. After all, it's your show.  

6. Have good hardware.

Invest in a good microphone and webcam. Professional quality sound and video might be more affordable than you think. Also use a hardwired connection (avoid wifi). For connection speed, we recommend (and it's really a requirement) that you have a minimum three mbps upload, and over five is much better.

Download speed is less important. You can test your speed at Speedtest.net. If your upload speed is low, consider upgrading your Internet connection. A fast cable or fiber-optic connection is best. (Sorry, DSL users.)

7. Keep the room quiet.

A quiet room is a must for broadcasting. Keep your windows closed, turn off your TV and radio, and ask other people in your residence to keep the noise down.

One tip you might not have thought of is to keep your microphone away from your computer's fan. Test several different setups to see which gives you the quietest, cleanest sound. 

8. Control the room lighting.

Some streamers are very professional, like IM Thomas Rendle on Hack Attack, or Hutch with his green screen. While such set-ups provide an excellent user experience, they might not be necessary for you to achieve good lighting. IM Danny Rensch, for example, maintains decent lighting with a photographer's sheet behind him for consistency.

9. Brand your show and use a hashtag.

Chess.com will be looking to promote all streamers who play on our site. We will be throwing retweets, favorites and other shoutouts your way. We will look for the hashtags #chessstreamers and #chesstv, so include those in your show for maximum benefit. Show us your work, and keep getting better -- we'd love to help your stream grow.

10. Be yourself and have fun!

Although some of the best chess streamers in the world are as professional as any broadcaster, remember that the primary goal of chess and gaming is entertainment. Viewers will always choose to watch a fun show over a tedious one with slick presentation.

Show off your personality alongside your best chess and the results will speak for themselves. 

Once you've set up your stream and had fun for a few shows, why not try your luck in the $3,000 Let's Play Chess.com Streamers Challenge? To applyplease send a Chess.com message to "Pete" with a sample of one of your chess streams.

For all the chess fans out there, get ready for the biggest streaming tournament ever on Sept. 16, live on Chess.com at 1 p.m. Pacific. Check out FM Mike Klein's news announcement for more details.

What are your favorite chess streams? Are you looking forward to the tournament on Sept. 16? 

Let us know in the comment section or on Facebook

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