BlockChamps, presented by the dynamic streaming sibling duo WFM Alexandra Botez and Andrea Botez and sponsored by Envy and CashApp, broke the chess viewership record for a single stream previously held by PogChamps. Over 91,000 concurrent viewers and nearly one million unique viewers tuned in for this exciting knockout event featuring eight of the most popular Minecraft streamers: Pokimane, LilyPichu, Sapnap, Nihachu, GeorgeNotFound, WilburSoot, Tubbo, and Fundy. Taking into account viewership on Twitch.tv/botezlive as well as viewership on the participating streamers’ channels, total concurrent viewership peaked at above 150,000 and gained millions of views.
In a unique broadcasting twist, the games were also broadcast in real-time on a Cosmic Guard-powered Minecraft server with a chessboard that relayed all BlockChamps games in real-time. Here is what that looked like with 1,000 enthusiastic Minecrafters in the server.
While none of the Minecrafters were very experienced chess players, they all took to the game well, showcasing their creativity and problem-solving skills which carried over to chess, and more importantly, entertaining tens of thousands of fans with their reactions to the on and off-the-board drama.
One of the most fun and dramatic moments came when WilburSoot found out about en passant at the worst possible moment against GeorgeNotFound. George’s en passant capture re-opened an attack on the knight on c6 and led to big material gains. The Botez sisters were apologetic on stream for forgetting to cover en passant in lessons.
At the end of the day, Sapnap emerged victorious in a tense contest that again reminded the fans watching from around the world just how fun chess is at all skill levels. Here is the nice queen trap he spotted in the final to seize an insurmountable edge over GeorgeNotFound. GeorgeNotFound finished in second place and Fundy bested Pokimane in the match for third place.
Today we became the chess stream with the most concurrent viewers of ALL TIME. I AM SO GRATEFUL FOR ALL OF THE PARTICIPANTS, SPONSORS, MENTORS, & VIEWERS WHO MADE THIS HAPPEN + my brilliant sister @itsandreabotez for coming up with the concept. So overwhelmed, THANK YOU ❤️❤️❤️❤️ pic.twitter.com/5hAYte1c84
— Alexandra Botez (@alexandravbotez) January 17, 2021
The coaching lessons paid off for @sapnap 😂
— Envy (@Envy) January 17, 2021
The complete broadcast is available for viewing on twitch.tv/botezlive.
After the broadcast wrapped up, there was one more wholesome moment in store for everyone as the Botez sisters gave tournament victor, Sapnap, the option to select someone to raid. He found chess streamer, TheQuadRat, streaming to five viewers and liked his setup. Suddenly TheQuadRat found himself the benefactor of a HUGE raid which lead to an emotional moment shortly after as he called his mother on stream to share the moment.
Now that there is a new viewership record over 90,000, the big question is, which chess stream will be the first to break 100,000 concurrent viewers? Hint: PogChamps 3 starts on February 14th!