The influencer who is a chess star – and the Beth Harmon of our time
At the age of eight he was already winning adults on garden benches. Today he plays online while thousands watch.
Thousands follow their games live
It started with a bet. Alexandra Botez was six years old when her father and his mother, an amateur chess player, bet that he would teach her to play – and that he would be able to defeat her. He taught him the names of the pieces, the rules and after two weeks Botez kept his promise.
When she was eight, her father took her to the gardens to compete with strangers. “They made room for me to play, but they felt uncomfortable,” he reminds the New York Post. They were angrier when the girl won the games.
At the age of 25, Botez has an American ID card – he was born in Dallas, Texas – but lives in Canada, where he moved with his parents, Romanian immigrants. In addition to her chess skills, she is also praised for her beauty and the huge legion of fans who follow her, which has earned her a number of comparisons to the protagonist of “Gambito de Dama,” Beth Harmon.
She was 15 years old when she won the North American Women’s Chess Championship for Children Under 18. She won a total of six national titles as well as one international title, the FIDE Master Women’s of the International Chess Federation.
He attended the renowned Stanford University in California, where he completed international relations. But perhaps more importantly, she became the first female president of the university’s chess club.
Botez is also an entrepreneur. She co-founded an artificial intelligence startup and is still a star on Twitch, the streaming platform where she has more than half a million fans watching her chess games live. He later moved to New York, where he also produced live video and content for Chess.com.
Already won six national titles
A true chess influencer, Botez reveals that followers skyrocketed once Netflix’s original production debuted and spread around the world. “Chess exploded on Twitch and I became one of the biggest streamers. I remember all the excitement, I couldn’t even sleep with that much adrenaline, ”he says.
Although the main character of the series and Botez have very different stories, the 25-year-old gamer realizes that “Gambito de Dama” did it in two ways: the obsession that the game evokes in lovers; and the sexual discrimination that exists among amateurs and especially among professionals.
“Beth is completely involved in the world of chess. It seems like there is nothing but games, training and the community. In that respect it’s a very true portrait, ”he says.
As for sexism, Botez admits that he too was a victim. “Sometimes even the people closest to us think that women are genetically inferior to men at chess. I keep hearing comments like, “You’re playing a girl, it’s an easy win,” he says.
In another aspect, the series fails badly. “[InderGeschichtewarenMänneräußerstunterstützendundverständnisvollalssiegewannWennSieechteGeschichtenvonFrauenlesendiezudieserZeitgespielthabengibtesBerichtevonGegnerndiesienichteinmalbegrüßtoderangesehenhaben”pronounced[NahistóriaoshomenseramextremamenteencorajadoresecompreensivosquandoelaganhavaSeleremhistóriasreaisdemulheresquejogavamnaquelaépocahárelatosdeadversáriosquenemsequerascumprimentavamouolhavamparaelas”frisa[InderGeschichtewarenMänneräußerstunterstützendundverständnisvollalssiegewannWennSieechteGeschichtenvonFrauenlesendiezudieserZeitgespielthabengibtesBerichtevonGegnerndiesienichteinmalbegrüßtoderangesehenhaben“betonter[NahistóriaoshomenseramextremamenteencorajadoresecompreensivosquandoelaganhavaSeleremhistóriasreaisdemulheresquejogavamnaquelaépocahárelatosdeadversáriosquenemsequerascumprimentavamouolhavamparaelas”frisa
Despite the similarities and differences, Alexandra Botez is surprised by the revolution the series has sparked in the chess world, especially in the reality of the newest players like her. “It’s crazy what has evolved in the common person’s chess knowledge. I never thought that something like this could happen because it has always been a niche sport. “