The Top Chess Players in the World

FM James Canty

James Canty
Full name
James Canty III
Jul 6, 1992 (age 31)‎
Place of birth
Detroit, USA
United States



James Canty III is an American FIDE master, streamer, and entrepreneur. He is also a coach, commentator, and content creator for

Chess Career

James Canty III learned to play chess when he was eight years old after his father taught him the rules. Canty fell in love with the game and decided to join his school's chess club. At that time, he studied at Bates Academy, a public school in Detroit for gifted children. There, he met his first coach, the late Harold Steen—a Detroit City Chess Club Hall of Famer.

Canty didn't make it to his first national tournament that year because, according to him, he was "inexperienced and not good enough." However, instead of giving up, the young boy decided to train hard to become a great player.

NM James Canty III.
NM James Canty III playing chess. Photo: James Canty III/Instagram.

Young Canty spent that whole summer studying chess with his father from seven in the morning until noon. When he got back to school the next semester, he was the best player on the team.

His hard work paid off as Canty played on Bates Academy's first board at a national tournament in Tucson, Arizona. He finished the event undefeated and won his first national championship.

NM James Canty III.
Canty studying chess at home. Photo: James Canty III/Instagram.

Then Canty got even more obsessed with chess. He won multiple events and set his sights on the international master and grandmaster titles.

Canty became a national master at 17 after winning the first Harold Steen Memorial Cup, which happened a year after his coach passed away. Canty quickly became a legend in Detroit's chess scene after having such a meteoric rise.

NM James Canty III.
Canty giving a lecture at a chess camp. Photo: James Canty III/Instagram.

One of Canty's most significant successes came in 2014 in the under-2300 section of the Millionaire Chess Open. After scoring 4/7, Canty qualified for Millionaire Monday—four sets of prizes for the under-2550, 2450, 2350, and 2250 sections. He eventually got to the final round and took $20,000 home after securing second place.

Below is one of Canty's games from that tournament, where he displays his tactical acuteness. With the white pieces against FM Aghasi Inants, Canty launched a deadly kingside attack in a Closed Sicilian game. He finished the battle with the beautiful 29.Ra2!.

Canty continues to study chess and is chasing the international master and grandmaster titles. He reached his peak FIDE rating of 2353 in 2015 and his peak USCF rating of 2317 in 2019.

Streaming And Content Creation

Canty is an up-and-coming chess streamer and YouTuber who has gained his followers' hearts because of his informative and entertaining content. On his Twitch channel, Canty has over 23,000 followers (as of February 2022). His fans can regularly see the "Jedi Master" (as Canty calls himself) playing chess, analyzing games, and studying.

Canty's YouTube channel has more than 11,800 subscribers (as of February 2022). On it, Canty shares educational chess videos about openings and game analyses, as well as parts of his own training to become a GM. His most popular video teaches how to play the aggressive Hyper-Accelerated Dragon opening. Content

Canty also works as a coach, content creator, and commentator for The video below shows Canty providing commentary with GM Robert Hess for the match between RZA and GZA of the Wu-Tang Clan:

Canty also regularly creates videos analyzing games and moves by top players. One of his most popular videos shows the top five blunders played in world championship matches.

Canty has authored an exclusive lesson for where he breaks down the best game he has played. Facing the strong IM Roberto Martin Del-Campo, Canty sacrificed a rook and a queen to deliver a beautiful checkmate in this fantastic game. Make sure you check out his lesson here.

Best Game

Most Played Openings