Chess has seen a huge resurgence in popularity in one of the most unlikely places - Twitch. Part of it is thanks to variety streamer FÃ©lix "xQc" Lengyel, whose massive following has sprouted the game's renaissance.
Like many people trying out their luck in chess for the first time, xQc isn't particularly gifted, but his determination to improve has yielded some favourable results, even impressing Chess Olympiad gold medalist (and also streamer) Hikaru Nakamura.
Recently, Chess.com, the site used for online play, decided to join in on the fun by pulling a lighthearted prank on xQc. They gave him the Grandmaster role.
The former Overwatch pro is no stranger to being called a Grandmaster, albeit under very different circumstances, and his confused reaction reflects a self-awareness about his skill level when it comes to chess.
The chess community 's reaction to this sudden growth in popularity was mixed at first, but several important figures in the scene have come around their initial criticism of xQc's antics, like fellow streamer and Grandmaster, Ben Finegold.
I want to apologize for insulting @BoxBox and @xQc ... I donâ€™t really know them... and normally, I meet someone at least once before the barrage of insults goes forth. The truth hurts! If either of them wants to play chess (on or off stream, doesnâ€™t matter...) Iâ€™m game.â€” Ben Finegold (@ben_finegold) May 26, 2020
"I want to apologize for insulting BoxBox and xQc. I donâ€™t really know them... and normally, I meet someone at least once before the barrage of insults goes forth. The truth hurts! If either of them wants to play chess (on or off-stream, doesnâ€™t matter...) Iâ€™m game," he tweeted out.
Regardless of how it came to be, the newly found fame the sport has gotten should be something to celebrate, not get upset about.