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Which is the most popular chess video on the internet?

by Sagar Shah - 27/04/2019

Which is the most popular chess video on the internet? Must be a Magnus Carlsen, or a Fabiano Caruana or Vishy Anand video, right? Well, not really! Five months ago, the first super tournament was held on Indian soil in Kolkata - Tata Steel Chess India Rapid and Blitz 2018. The ChessBase India team was covering the event and shot many of the blitz games in high definition videos. One of them was Praggnanandhaa winning against Surya Sekhar Ganguly. It is a 19 minute 45 seconds video which has gone on to become the most popular chess video of all time on the internet. At the time of writing this article the video has 20.5 million views! That's a whopping 2 crore views and a total watch time of 81.1 million watch minutes!

These days we see a lot of video content created around chess. Almost all of the popular chess websites have a video library, while umpteen number of content creators have a YouTube or Twitch channel promoting chess. The natural question to ask is - Which is the most viewed chess video on the internet. We are proud to say that the most viewed video on the internet is ChessBase India's Praggnanandhaa against Ganguly.

20 million views!!

And this video is just 5 months old! To have 20 million (2 crore) views in five months means that the video on an average get over 100,000 views on a daily basis! So the natural question to ask is - why is the video so popular?

1. Battle of generations

Praggnanandhaa is just 13 years old, while Surya Sekhar Ganguly is 36. It's always interesting for the people to watch a battle of two generations. Will the experience trump or will it be youth?

2. Sicilian!

The opening was the Sicilian chosen by Ganguly, which always leads to interesting and fighting positions which the viewers enjoy

3. Both players were down to 10 seconds!

The video lasts for 19 minutes 45 seconds, but right from 13 minutes onwards, both players were under 10 seconds. The game began high paced and this is definitely what viewers enjoy.

4. Theoretical endgame

A theoretical endgame arose in the video when Pragg had to convert his position using two pawns and a rook against Ganguly's lone rook. For the chess playing community

5. Ganguly's sportsmanship

It's not an uncommon phenomenon in the chess world that the losing side gets up from the chair with anger, frustration and dejection. While we can surely understand that, what makes this video truly special is Ganguly's gesture of first allowing Praggnanandhaa to checkmate him and secondly to put his hand forward in a firm handshake with a nice smile. We feel that this touch at the end makes the video a great learning experience for every chess player viewing it.

6. Praggnanandhaa's win!

We have other blitz games as well on the ChessBase India channel that have crossed 1 million views, but none could match the popularity of Praggnanandhaa versus Ganguly. Why? Well, because Praggnanandhaa, who was the underdog in this game, won! And mind you, prior to this game Pragg had lost six games in a row. To win this game showing such great mental strength is not at all easy.

Here's the entire game for you to play over:

The ChessBase India YouTube Channel:

In September 2017 Amruta and I travelled to the World Cup 2017. It was a star studded event where we had the best players of the world participating including Magnus Carlsen, Caruana, Anand, Karjakin and just about every top player in the world. At that point we had roughly around 1000 subscribers. We began with the interviews of top players at the event and very soon the entire world began following the World Cup through our videos.

This video was the most popular one which reached beyond 100k views during the event - Magnus Carlsen losing to Bu Xiangzhi

What started just as an experiment became a platform for us to popularize chess in India. The World Cup gave us 5000 subscribers and a belief that we could reach out to the public on a big scale with our videos on YouTube. What followed next was 2400 videos in the next year and a half. That comes to an average of four videos each day! Yes, that was the consistency that helped us to reach from 5,000 to 1,50,000 subscribers. As on today the ChessBase India YouTube channel is one of the most popular chess channels in the world with coverage of not just local events but tournaments and players all across the world.

YouTube recognizes the efforts of ChessBase India with the silver play button!

Most popular videos on ChessBase India YouTube Channel

Praggnanandhaa versus Anand - 7.9 million
Vishy Anand vs Praggnanandhaa rematch - 4.6 million views
Nakamura couldn't believe that he wasn't able to win this - 2.6 million
Karjakin vs Praggnanandhaa - 1.7 million views

It's wonderful to see that five of our videos have over 1 million views and 15 of them have over 100k views!

Contributors to the ChessBase India channel:

Shahid Ahmed, senior coordinator and editor of ChessBase India has been one of the prolific contributors to the ChessBase India channel

Niklesh Jain now runs the ChessBase India Hindi channel, yet his contributions to the ChessBase India channel has been huge!

Our ChessBase India Juniors editor in chief Avathanshu Bhat has visited many events and contributed to the ChessBase India channel in a big way. His behind the scene editing skills have also been highly useful.

Rupali Mullick (left) has been the ChessBase India correspondent to many events and her interviews are something that our viewers are always looking forward to

That's me and Amruta in our typical pose! We thank YouTube for providing us this wonderful platform to popularize chess all across the world!

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