Most Popular Chess YouTube Channels from 2019-2020

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One of the questions we asked on the ChessGoals survey was “If you watched chess YouTube channels for at least 15 minutes per week, please list the channels”. Half of the 400 survey respondents replied that they watched one or more chess YouTube channels for at least 15 minutes per week. In this post, we will go over the most popular chess YouTube channels, and also highlight some of the statistics of the users who watch each channel.

Most Popular Chess YouTube Channels

10. GMHikaru

GMHikaru

12 members out of 200 mentioned watching GMHikaru on YouTube. His channel has increased in popularity quite a bit in 2020 and his ranking is bound to increase in the next edition of these rankings. We also separate chess Twitch channels from chess YouTube channels in our survey, and that will be in a future post. Hikaru is the strongest regular blitz chess streamer on the internet and has a huge following on Twitch. He also has the youngest average viewer age among the top 10 chess YouTube channels (18.8 years old).

Hikaru has a wide range of content available on his channel and new videos are posted daily. For advanced players, he has a commentary on his high-level matches. Most skill levels will enjoy his speedruns, blindfold events, and chess variants. Hikaru is recommended for all ages and skill levels intermediate-expert.

9. Chess24

Chess24

Chess24 YouTube channel is the 9th most popular in the survey. They post videos daily with two main categories: Banter Blitz and Event Coverage.

Their Banter Blitz videos showcase World Champion Magnus Carlsen, and many other titled players. I personally enjoy watching GMs Jan Gustafsson and Peter Svidler’s videos. FM Lefong Hua, formerly on the ChessBrah channel, is the most regular Banter Blitz player as of late. He’s somewhat of a blitz specialist and will teach you his tips while he plays blitz against all levels.

The chess24 event coverage is very high-level, rivaled only by chess.com. They bring in many top GrandMasters for their commentary. The dry humor is a nice contrast to the sillier humor you will find on chess.com. The channel skews a bit towards higher rated audiences and I’d recommend it for players over 1300.

8. GMBenjaminFinegold

GM Ben Finegold

The #1 chess YouTube channel for beginners! Grandmaster Ben Finegold has new videos posted daily and they are aimed towards newer chess players. Finegold has taught at the St. Louis Chess Club and now teaches at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Atlanta. The average rating of his viewers is the lowest by quite a large margin (1155).

Many chess YouTube channels assume players already have a baseline level of knowledge and the ability to quickly hear coordinates and be able to follow along. Finegold’s channel does a great job of breaking down concepts into rules and phrases to help new players form solid habits.

7. Chess.com

Chess.com

Like the other top chess YouTube channels, chess.com posts at least one video every day. ChessGoals is a chess.com affiliate and we recommend their lessons, game analysis, and puzzles heavily in our study plans. If you’re not a premium chess.com member, check out our post on if a chess.com premium membership is worth it.

Chess.com has event coverage from most of the top events, and they host many of them chess.com. Some of their big events are the Speed Chess Championship, Junior Speed Chess Championship, Woman’s Speed Chess Championship, PRO Chess League, Bullet Chess Championship, 960 Chess Championship, and the list goes on. Chess.com has some of the best commentators in the business with GM’s Hess, Naroditsky, Hansen, Ashley, Vidit, and more. And of course, we cannot forget IM Danny Rensch, one of the more entertaining and informative commentators.

Chess.com also recently hosted the POGChamps event which was probably the most popular chess event ever held online. The commentary was often done by popular streamers Hikaru Nakamura, Alex Botez, and Levy Rozman.

6. GingerGM

GingerGM

Grandmaster Simon Williams, aka Ginger GM, has one of the most entertaining chess YouTube channels on YouTube. The average age for Simon’s viewers in the survey is 33.8, over 5.5 years older than the next closest in the top 10. Williams’s sense of humor will make you want to enjoy an adult beverage as you enjoy his shows. His viewers also study chess more than any other channel in the top 10 at 13 hours per week!

Ginger GM posts a few times a week to a few times a month, and he also has a popular Twitch channel. Recently he has videos on openings, endgames, game review, and streamed events that he plays in like Titled Tuesday.

He also has a website that contains a library of interactive courses from many top players. The interactive courses allow you to download a PGN while you follow along with video instruction.

5. ChessNetwork

ChessNetwork

National Master Jerry from ChessNetwork is one of the original chess streamers. He was streaming chess before it was cool, and has a very large group of followers.

Jerry is a great communicator and has a very calm and clear manner of articulating his chess ideas. He is a wholesome streamer that is appropriate for all ages. He posts a bit less than the other top 10 YouTube chess channels, but his content is top-notch. Most of Jerry’s videos are game analysis from top events.

4. ChessBrah

ChessBrah

The ChessBrah channel is a group of chess streamers that aim for a high energy channel for ambitious chess players. The ChessBrahs have the highest outperformance over expected rating gain of any of the top 10 YouTube channels. The channel is lead by GM’s Aman Hambleton and Eric Hansen, with other guests rotated in including the legendary Yasser Seirawan.

Even though the ‘brahs have one of the youngest audiences (average age 21.8), they do have some streams that aren’t kid-friendly. Their chess YouTube channel has a mix of event streams, educational content, sub battles, and more.

3. John Bartholomew

John Bartholomew

I could write a whole blog post about John Bartholomew’s content, and maybe I will someday. International Master John Bartholomew is one of the best chess coaches I have met, and he pours out his knowledge into all of his content.

I’ve been friends with John since we were young kids playing chess at scholastic events across Minnesota. John is always positive and an extremely knowledgable positional player. One thing I’ve noticed in John’s play is if there is a knight on the board, John will figure out how to place that knight on an outpost and use it to win the game.

John only posts a few times a month as he is busy with work teaching and working for Chessable, but his channel is a treasure trove of educational content. His Climbing the Rating Ladder series is highly recommended in chess circles.

2. Saint Louis Chess Club

Saint Louis Chess Club

The Saint Louis Chess Club is an educational chess channel that has a wide array of hosts and content. They have rotating GrandMasters in Residence that will be giving lectures at the club and online. They also host some of the highest production quality events with commentary at their physical chess club.

The club posts a few times every week and their average viewer in our survey was rated 1393 and spent more time studying strategy than any of the other top 10 channels. We recommend the Saint Louis Chess Club for novice-intermediate players looking to improve their strategy skills.

1. agadmator’s Chess Channel

agadmator’s Chess Channel

The #1 most popular YouTube Chess Channel streamer is agadmator! Antonio hosts the show with some appearances from his dog, which is amazing for dog-lovers. I was late to the game when it came to realizing agadmator’s channel was producing chess videos, but now I recommend it to novice-beginner players looking to work on game analysis.

Agadmator focuses primarily on game analysis in short, digestible videos that are easy for beginner players to follow. Many of his fans look forward to his videos every week as he follows the high level current events. Definitely check out this channel and see why it’s the most popular chess YouTube channel among ChessGoals users.

Cluster Analysis

In total, there were 60 YouTube chess channels mentioned in the ChessGoals survey. The next thing I wanted to look at was which channels are similar to other chess YouTube channels in terms of viewer characteristics. Using the R programming language, I formed five clusters based on the following input factors:

  • Age
  • Hours per week spent on chess
  • Rating
  • Hours per week spent analyzing games
  • Hours per week spent studying strategy
  • Annual rating outperformance (Actual rating gain – expected rating gain)
Chess YouTube Channels
Cluster Plot of Chess YouTube Channels

The numbers in the plot are the respective rankings in ChessGoals popularity. Cluster #1 contains all of the top 10 chess YouTube channels.

Other Clusters

Huge Gainers

The 5th cluster contains three channels. Daniel Rensch, BotezLive, and Anna Rudolf. These channels on average each outperformed expected rating gains by 250-450 points in one year! The sample sizes are small with 3-4 viewers each, but they may be worth checking out.

Chess Opening YouTube Channels

Cluster 3 tends towards players who study less strategy and a few of them are specifically on openings. These players tend to have negative outperformance, but that goes hand-in-hand with our recommendations to avoid spending too much time on openings. With that said, it can be beneficial to study openings a little bit and these channels lightly touch on opening ideas. The Chess Website and Krisna Prem’s ChessOpenings.com are the top two chess YouTube channels in this cluster.

Channels For Advanced Players

Cluster number 4 focuses on channels for advanced players. ChessExplained and Jon Ludvig Hammer both have average viewer ratings of around 1760. These channels are recommended for Intermediate 2 players and higher.

Game Analysis

Cluster 2 is for intermediate players and higher who enjoy spending time on game analysis. These channels are PowerPlayChess, ChessBase India, and Kingscrusher. For players that are advanced and enjoy game analysis, I highly recommend GrandMaster Daniel King’s PowerPlayChess chess YouTube channel.