The Top Chess Players in the World

IM Danny Rensch

Danny Rensch
Full name
Daniel Rensch
Oct 10, 1985 (age 37)‎
Place of birth
Phoenix, AZ USA
United States



Daniel Rensch (more commonly referred to as "Danny") is an American international master, world-class commentator, tournament organizer, Chief Chess Officer of, and a chess celebrity. 

As a scholastic player, Rensch won multiple national championships and still holds the record for the youngest chess master in the state of Arizona. As an adult, he has essentially become the face of

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Early Career To International Master

In 1998 Rensch won the United States Elementary National Championship. In the following year, he became Arizona's youngest national master in history—a record that still stands as of November 2020.

Rensch won the 2000 Junior High National Championship for his second national title. In 2004, he tied for first place at the National High School Championship. He earned his final IM norm at the 2009 SPICE Cup.

IM Danny Rensch
Danny Rensch. Photo:

Rensch's playing style can be summed up in three words: dynamic and aggressive. Sure, he is capable of playing in any style, but he shines in tactical positions with imbalances. Here is a game where Danny dominates in a materially-imbalanced position against the strong GM Magesh Panchanathan (game annotations are by Danny, himself!):

Here is a nice example of Rensch's attacking vision and creativity where he defeats WGM Tatev Abrahamyan in a convincing fashion. Abrahamyan's first mistake was playing the French Defense against Rensch—his distaste for this opening is well-documented.

The attack starting with 24.Ng5 is direct and powerful—the final blow is reminiscent of Paul Morphy's legendary game-ending tactic in the Opera Game.

In the next game example, we see Rensch defeat the super-GM Hikaru Nakamura in a three-minute blitz game. After a standard Sicilian Najdorf, Naka makes the first misstep in the middlegame with 20... a5. Rensch snags an extra pawn and then steers the game towards a pleasant heavy-piece endgame. He converts the win almost effortlessly—no easy task versus one of the strongest blitz players of all time!

Commentary And Tournament Organizer

It is likely that Rensch is best known for his commentary—his engaging humor, expertise, and entertaining antics have turned him into one of the most popular commentators on the planet. You often find him on or's Twitch channel commentating on virtually all of the events like PogChamps, the PRO Chess League, the Speed Chess Championship, and more.

Rensch has also provided live commentary for the world's most important events, the Candidates Tournament and the World Chess Championship. Most notably, Rensch was part of the leading commentary team of the 2021 World Chess Championship alongside GMs Robert Hess and Fabiano Caruana. The event broke chess viewership records, amassing more than 25 million views.

However, Rensch is not a one-trick pony in any sense of the word—he has also commentated on large events in-person, including the 2019 FIDE Grand Swiss Tournament that featured many of the world's top players. Something that many people don't know about Rensch is that he holds the US Chess record for most tournaments directed as Chief Director—he has overseen over 1,200 events as of 2020. His entertaining ways are on display even at in-person tournaments:

IM Danny Rensch
Rensch at the 2010 SPICE Cup. Photo: Sam Copeland/ Content

Alongside his wonderful chess commentary, Rensch's instructional and informational content on is legendary. His numerous video lessons, instructional series, and articles on are incredibly popular.

His video series "Everything You Need To Know" is specifically designed for beginners and is still one of the most popular videos on—it also has millions of views on YouTube.

Rensch's extensive work with's YouTube Channel covers many topics. He often posts new videos, including his coverage of virtually every major tournament, his AlphaZero playlist, his giant bullet chess world championship series, and much, much more. Here he is playing giant bullet chess against GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave:

Rensch's online play is still strong. In the "Adopt-A-Danny" series, he has defeated world-class GMs Wesley SoIan NepomniachtchiAnish Giri, and Vachier-Lagrave in individual games—although he was "adopted" (the chess term for losing ten games in a row) by all four players. In addition to the above-mentioned content and significantly more, Rensch also delivers the quarterly State of address.

Rensch's chess knowledge, experience, world-class commentating abilities, and positively magnetic personality are just some of the reasons that he has become the face of—he is a very large part of's continued success.

Chess Ambassador

Rensch has long been an ambassador for chess and worked extensively to expand the game's reach. Some of his most successful efforts came from the idealization and co-creation of numerous large events.

Among these events is PogChamps, one of the world's most successful online chess tournaments. The tournament broke's record for most concurrent viewers on Twitch alone in its third edition. More than 140,000 people gathered simultaneously to watch xQc, Rubius, Tubbo, Logic, Rainn Wilson, and Michelle Khare playing chess.

In 2022, Rensch was also part of the team behind the creation of the Rapid Chess Championship. The event's first edition boasted a $650,000 prize fund and attracted some of the world's leading players like GMs Nakamura, Nepomniachtchi, Caruana, Giri, Levon Aronian, and more.

Rensch's contributions to growing chess are not limited to chess events. The international master also works to take chess to new audiences by leading panels, giving lectures, and more. In 2017, Rensch was the presenter of a lecture addressed to numerous CEOs of large corporations at the Milken Institute.

Rensch is also a familiar face for those who attend the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conferences. He participated as a speaker in the event's 2017, 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022 editions.

Danny Rensch leads panels at large conferences
Rensch often leads panels at large conferences on how chess interacts with other sports, businesses, and more. Photo: Richard Messina/MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference.

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