Chess influencer's online popularity soars after Queen's Gambit success12/20/2020
A chess influencer has been hailed the real-life Beth Harmon – star of Netflix mega-hit Queen’s Gambit.
Alexandra Botez, 25, has been playing the game since she was six years old.
The influencer, born in Texas, and raised in Canada by her Romanian immigrant parents, only learned how to play as a bet.
Her dad bet her mum that he could train little Alexandra in two weeks and have her beat her mum.
Alexandra’s talents shone as she claimed victory over her mum. Soon, her dad trained her more and took her to the park to play with other chess enthusiasts – though they were often reluctant to play with a little girl.
At just eight years old, Alexandra competed in her first national championship and won first place for her division.
When she was 15, the family moved back to the States where Alexandra’s love of chess flourished.
In that time she won the US Girls National championship for females 18 and under, later winning six national championships and holding the International Chess Federation title of Women’s FIDE Master.
Throughout her career, Alexandra – like Beth – has also faced sexism in the industry.
As well as a building a chess career, Alexandra enrolled at Stanford University where she graduated and also became the first female president of the uni’s chess club.
She reached influencer status after joining live-stream platform Twitch.
The young star ran her account with her 18-year-old sister, Andrea, who is also a chess player.
At the beginning of the year, the sisters has 61,000 followers. But then the pandemic hit, and with the popularity of The Queen’s Gambit, their follower count soared.
Their chess channel now has almost 500,000 followers.
‘Chess exploded on Twitch, and I was one of the top streamers. I remember being so excited, I couldn’t sleep. I was so high on adrenaline,’ Alexandra told the New York Post.
Speaking on the sexism she faces in a male-dominated gaming industry, she said: ‘There’s always going to be some bad actors. I am tuning that out at this point. Their opinions don’t matter.’
The sisters are now hoping to sign with an agency that represents top e-sports athletes.
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