Chess players find a favourite new bedfellow in esports

Sometimes everything is in the eye of the beholder, that holding especially true when it comes to what is a sport and what isn’t. There’s little arguing about the mainstream acknowledgement of football, hockey, track and field, soccer, and Turkish oil wrestling. Tune into TSN for any of those, and you’ll see people exerting themselves to the point of exhaustion. But what about darts, pool, skeet-shooting, and golf (famously described as “a good walk spoiled” by Mark Twain)? And let’s not even talk esports and chess.

Actually, scratch that. Let’s talk chess and esports because both are in the news. And both are sports.

Internet chess celebrity Frank Johnson has inked a deal with Atlanta-based multi-platform esports and lifestyle organization Premier GG. And he’s not the only proponent of the famously cerebral game to be snapped up as esports and chess meet in a new arena.

Delaware-based esports organization Noble has brought Twitch success story James Canty III into its fold. After years of working a sales job, Canty began displaying his chess prowess on the popular streaming platform a few years back, quickly amassing a following of over 10,000 fellow enthusiasts.

The two aren’t the first players to be embraced by esports organizations. Canadian-born Nemo Qiyu Zhou plays for WGM, Sweden’s Anna Gramling calls WFM home, and Brazil’s Krikor Mekhitarian is helping raise the profile of GrandMasters.

Chess is blowing up big time!

In a YouTube video announcing his signing, Johnson said that chess is currently blowing up big time in the world of esports. And that the sport is enjoying a mainstream boom that hasn’t been seen since the heyday of Bobby Fischer.

In announcing the signing of Johnson, PremierGG took to Twitter with the following: “We are thrilled about the revival of chess within Twitch, our entrance into the sport and the opportunity it presents within the esports industry.”

Canty meanwhile took to Instagram to announce his deal with “thanks for having me glad to be apart of the team time to take off!”

Feel free to argue amongst yourselves as to whether bingo, Dungeons & Dragons, and pigeon racing are sports or not.

Mike Usinger once took the better part of two years to finish Grand Theft Auto. Over the course of his career he has written about everything from eSports to music to movies to travel.

Leave a Comment