The Top Chess Players in the World

GM Robert Hess

Full name
Robert Lee Hess
Born
Dec 19, 1991 (age 29)‎
Place of birth
United States
Federation
United States
Profiles

Rating

Bio

Robert Hess is a strong American grandmaster, world-class commentator, streamer, and chess celebrity. He reached his peak FIDE rating of 2639 in June 2012, when he was a top-5 player in the United States. You can play against his celebrity bot on Chess.com.

Play against GM Robert Hess

Challenge Robert's Bot and other computer personalities at our Play Computer page!

Play Now!

Chess Career

Hess earned his FIDE master title at the age of 14 in 2006. He won the U.S. Junior Championship in the same year. He earned his international master title in 2007. In 2008, he tied for first at the Foxwoods Open alongside GMs Alexander Shabalov, Julio Becerra, Alexander Ivanov, and Yury Shulman—Robert earned his first GM norm at this event.

A year later, he won the SPICE Spring grandmaster invitational and the K-12 Supernationals tournament. His performance at the 2009 Foxwoods Open earned him his final GM norm at the age of 17.

GM Robert Hess
GM Robert Hess. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

In the 2009 U.S. Championships, he tied for second place alongside GM Alexander Onischuk and behind the winner, GM Hikaru Nakamura. Hess earned his grandmaster title in 2009.

Robert was a member of the 2009 U.S. team that took the silver medal at the World Team Championships and was also a member of the 2010 U.S. Olympiad team. In 2011, Hess tied for first at the Groningen Chess Festival. 

GM Robert Hess chess
GM Robert Hess. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Hess is also an excellent coach. In 2016 he coached the U.S. Women's Olympiad team in Baku—they placed sixth out of 142 teams. Here he is being interviewed by GM Danny King.

Like many top grandmasters, his playing style is universal. Hess can conduct a devastating attack of nightmarish proportions in a crazy tactical position, or he can grind out the victory with the tiniest positional plus.

In the following game, we see how Robert blends positional and tactical themes against the mighty GM Sergei Tiviakov, who held the record for the most consecutive undefeated games at 110. 

Hess builds a superior positional advantage and has a nice bind after 36.Ra6. He goes for the tactical blow 35.d5!?, and then it is difficult for Tiviakov's king to find shelter. After Tiviakov slips with 38...Rxb4, Hess ends the game with a quick and decisive attack:

Twitch Channel

Robert's Twitch Channel, GMHess, is one of the most popular chess channels. He has about 40,000 followers as of December 2020, and he streams very often. He covers almost every top chess event and collaborates often with other streaming celebrities like GM Hikaru Nakamura, WFM Alexandra Botez, IM Daniel Rensch, and GM Daniel Naroditsky.

Besides his coverage of world-class events, you can find him playing blitz. Here he is winning a game vs. Danny in an arena kings tournament:

You will always find Robert having fun on his channel in every stream. Here he is bonding with fuslie over their mutual love of the movie "Mean Girls":

Chess.com Content

As mentioned, Robert is a world-class commentator. He has commentated on numerous Chess.com events and streams, including the PRO Chess League,  PogChamps, the 2020 Speed Chess Championships, the 2018 World Chess Championship

Here is Hess commentating on the 2018 WCC with Danny and Hikaru:

Aside from his commentating, Robert also creates content for Chess.com like this video from the 2018 Candidates Tournament where he highlights Kramnik's brilliancy against Aronian or this video on MVL's instructive bishop endgame. The following with Danny is a great bughouse video:

Hess continues to entertain chess fans worldwide as one of the main commentators for Chess.com. Keep watching his Twitch channel, Chess.com's Twitch Channel, and Chess.com/tv to see more of his work. Always remember: You can't spell "chess" without "Hess!"

GM Robert Hess Chess
GM Robert Hess. Photo: Courtesy of Hess.

Best Game


Most Played Openings

Games