IM Levy Rozman, a.k.a “GothamChess” the world’s biggest chess Youtuber, talked about his incredible growth over the last six months, reactions from other top players, an amusing one-line response from Magnus Carlsen, and his thoughts about the upcoming World Championship match.
27-year-old Levy Rozman has grown to become quite the superstar, boasting 3.5 million subscribers on his Youtube channel, 877,000 followers on Twitch, and 308,000 followers on Twitter. Recently he also announced that his videos reached an incredible total of one billion views. Even though the competition among chess streamers remains high, being crowned “Chess Streamer of the Year” at the Streaming Awards in Los Angeles doesn’t seem undeserved.
On Ben Johnson’s “Perpetual Chess Podcast” the popular chess streamer talked about his growth, his own playing career, the upcoming World Championship match, and his new Chessable course.
Another talking point was his admiration for the world’s top players, and despite having tens of thousands more followers on social media, he remains humble and doesn’t consider himself more famous. One thing he doesn’t like though is when he is made fun of.
“I get really sad when they make fun of me. And it happens all the time! They diminish me because I am an IM or I’ve got clickbait (…) I get super sad about that stuff. I really respect these guys and it would be great to be friends or on good terms with them.” the 2322-rated international master said.
One friend he is trying to make is GM Magnus Carlsen, whose games are frequently covered on GothamChess’ channel. Rozman talked about how much better those videos perform compared to other content. He decided to send the world champion an admiration message.
“I wrote him a really long message because I figured it was the best way to introduce myself. I don’t know the guy. I said ‘Hey man, obviously I am a huge fan, I’ve seen your streaming so let me know if you wanna do a collab at any point. And thanks for everything you do for chess’. And he wrote me back, one line!” Rozman laughed.
“And it was to the tune of ‘Too much sucking up, let’s just talk!’. I was like … you know what I mean? There’s nothing I can do, he seems like a normal dude.” he added, hinting he expects a collaboration with him at some point.
Carlsen has himself entered the streaming world, regularly covering his Titled Tuesday events. The Triple World Chess Champion and the world’s biggest chess Youtuber doing content together must sound like a wet dream for many chess fans.
“I am still mildly terrified of the guy, but I think we will do some sort of collab. He has collaborated with other streamers. We’ll see. It’s tough because one day he is streaming and he’s like ‘Levy, my boy!’ the next day he’s making jokes about my courses. There’s no way to get a read on the guy! That’s the scary thing about all top players. I have no idea what’s going on in their heads.”
Back in January, GothamChess lashed out at FIDE for not finding a venue for the World Championship match well ahead of time. “Organization and communication seem like a catastrophe,” he said.
Nine days later, FIDE announced Astana, Kazakhstan as the venue. Since then Rozman has regularly posted countdowns on Twitter reminding his followers of the upcoming match.
Daily reminder that the World Chess Championship begins in 15 days on April 9.
In Kazakhstan. Ding Liren vs. Ian Nepomniachtchi.
Spread the word!
— GothamChess (@GothamChess) March 25, 2023
On the Perpetual Chess Podcast, GothamChess explained that he thinks the International Chess Federation needs to market the event better.
“This year it’s in Kazakhstan. I think we have to wake up at 5 AM here to watch the games or something. Then you just don’t hear about it.” Rozman said enthusiastically.
“Then somebody drops some promotional image on the FIDE page, and you are looking at it and ‘I can’t read their names!’ There are so many things that can be marketed so much better. Chess.com has done an excellent job, that’s why everybody in high school is playing on Chess.com and then interacting with them and finding their way to Youtube. Because it’s all out there, we know how the audience wants to approach the game.”
The official website of the World Championship match is up! #NepoDing https://t.co/xFa2GibvMt pic.twitter.com/pQKWYYce8N
— International Chess Federation (@FIDE_chess) March 28, 2023
“In a vacuum, saying that … the player who wins this match is not truly the best player in the world? Yea, of course. Is he the world champion though? Yeah, both things can be true. I think we should just hype it up, and build it up. It’s all we got!”
Asked about who he thinks will be the next World Champion, he gave the least controversial answer.
“I wanna give a 55 percent, like a slight favorite to Ian.”
“I think it’s obviously a tale of two styles. Nepo can be a bit more wild, a bit more unpredictable maybe. But Ding is also learning a lot of different openings. I’d like to see the expansion of the repertoires in the months leading up to the match. The best way I can describe it is that Ian has been there, and his opponent was Magnus. Now Ian is there again, and he’s not playing Magnus. It just seems like a bit of an advantage. He knows what it takes, and all the things he did wrong. Ding doesn’t, he is the freshman now.”
The upcoming World Chess Championship is fascinating because for the first time in 10 years, we do not have to sit patiently awaiting the same winner.
Ding and Nepo is a fun clash of styles and personalities with unpredictable results!
— GothamChess (@GothamChess) March 28, 2023