The world of gaming is constantly evolving and every so often the game publishers manage to come out with a completely new approach that captures the ever-growing imagination and interest of the audience and becomes the next big thing. A good example is the Battle Royale genre that first appeared just a few years ago and already became a point of reference, gaining huge market share with many different publishers releasing their own version. On the other hand, some games create enormous amounts of hype when they are released but their trendiness dies out rather quickly with the audience moving their focus to something else.

It is quite amazing that currently one of the fastest growing trends in the world of gaming involves a board game that is believed to be around 1,500 years old. Yes, we are talking about the ancient game of chess and while it does not involve any in-game purchases, weapon skins, battle passes, experience gain and so forth, it seems to be on the road of becoming as mainstream as any other big title out there. To give an idea behind the renaissance growth of chess, in the last 12 months alone, the Twitch category has grown from an average of 25 channels streaming daily and 1,479 average live concurrent viewers to 151 channels and 25,885 viewers (*Source Twitchtracker). In other words, the category has grown approximately 6 times in terms of streamers and 17 times in terms of viewers for a single year. While a lot of titles experienced increased player and viewership numbers due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the chess phenomenon shows very stable growth over a large period of time and no signs of slowing down soon.

The modern outlook of several Grand Masters that took their skills to the streaming platforms, such as Hikaru Nakamura, along with the involvement of big streamers from other games certainly played a significant part in the aforementioned growth. Another boost came together with the very successful TV Series “The Queen’s Gambit’’ which further reignited worldwide interest around the game. Chess is truly universal and the fact that it is not regulated in any way by a single publisher, event organizer, or software platform seems to allow it to grow organically without restrictions.

Esports and chess have more in common than one might think, and we are very happy to announce that QLASH will be entering the scene.

Even though chess is not a regular video game, at QLASH we see it as the perfect opportunity to create a bridge between the enormous existing community and the esports reality, connecting the great traditions of the game to the modern content creation approaches. As such, we will be bringing it extensively to streaming platforms and social media, experimenting with tournament formats, and allowing the grassroot player to connect and experience the game together with top professionals – much like we do with all the other titles in our repertoire.

Another vital synergy QLASH has with the game of chess is through our Educational project. We strive to teach young people and gamers much more than how to be winning players. We want to teach them how to become professionals through esports, how to approach problem solving and to grow in life as individuals. Chess has all these values at its core and is a natural fit to expand on the project in multiple ways.

To kick things off we have already secured a QLASH Chess Game Manager and it is no other than the Italian GM Roberto Mogranzini. He is part of Unichess and we are honored to have him on board in this important endeavour. Combining his amazing background in the scene with the expertise of QLASH, we have serious plans going forward to build an even brighter future for chess and integrate it seamlessly in the world of esports.