Instructive Chess YouTubers I Watch
The sports website The Ringer recently published a chess article (“The Sharp Game”) which mentions the revitalization of the game that is occurring online due to YouTube and Twitch personalities:
Carlsen and Caruana’s generation has discovered chess on the internet, both as a place to play and a place to watch other people play. If there is a chess boom, it will take place online, and it will be millennials who will largely fuel it.
It’s true that the games — and inner thoughts — of very strong chess players are more accessible today than ever before. You can find top GMs, including Magnus Carlsen, streaming themselves playing marathon blitz and bullet sessions online. But the most instructive — and, to me, the most entertaining — are those who take the time to explain their thought process as they are playing at longer time controls.
Here are my favorites:
IM John Bartholomew
International Master and national treasure John Bartholomew is a natural teacher and extraordinarily good at explaining his thoughts while he plays. His free YouTube videos are a valuable resource for those of us trying to improve. For his longer games with commentary see the Standard chess (15-minute games) playlist. He also has a very good "Climbing the Rating Ladder" series where he plays progressively better players pointing out common mistakes along the way. Embedded below is an example video from that series:
Tony Rotella is not a titled player, but he is still much stronger than most of us (his lichess rapid rating is around 2350) and is particularly knowledgeable in opening theory (having literally written a book on the 1.e4 Sicilian Kalashnikov). Hist most instructive videos are listed in his Rapid Games playlist. Here’s an example game of Tony playing a French Advance with the black pieces:
Another non-titled player (2260 on lichess rapid), Pawngrubber plays rapid/classical (ie, longer than blitz) games against his stream viewers while commenting, and then uploads videos to YouTube. His YouTube videos tend to be very long (around 3 hours) containing multiple games and post-game analysis which is unfortunate because I usually end up watching only the first game of each video. But there’s lots of good content packed into each one.
His most recent video:
Grand Master Simon Williams has a very daring and aggressive style which is fun to watch. He has a Longer Games playlist with longer time-control games he plays while commenting, and also a GM Analysis playlist of videos where he provides analysis of other people’s games.
Here he is analyzing one of Hou Yifan’s brilliances, where she sacrificed a queen for a positional advantage (Borya Ider vs Yifan Hou, Tradewise Gibraltar (2017)):