As many of you know I’ve been working very hard towards building a high quality YouTube Chess channel for many months now. Navigating the waters of YouTube to find the right chess videos is not exactly an easy task. I’m going to mention some of my favorite YouTube chess channels, some of which you’ve probably heard of as well as some smaller hidden gems you may not know about as well. I’m going to start with my favorites, then onto some of the smaller channels and at the bottom I’m going to compile an alphabetical list of every chess channel I can find (you’re encouraged to let me know if I missed any). This article will focus specifically on instructional channels, I will make another article in the near future for articles that cover things like chess documentaries, old chess TV shows etc etc.
Table of Contents:
Making high quality chess videos has become a 2nd full-time job for me. In the few months we’ve been around we’ve managed to make nearly 180 videos (with nearly 50 of them in Spanish). We’ve interviewed over 50 grandmasters, including many top 100 players such as Sergey Karjakin, Anish Giri, Wang Hao, Wesley So and Yuriy Kryvoruchko). We’ve also been able to cover many tournaments (such as Amber 2011, The 2011 World Champions Candidates Match, The Russian Team Championships, The FIDE Chess World Cup, and more recentely Bilbao 2011). Unlike most chess channels that usually only have one commentator we also have tons of guest videos from other masters as well such as FM Kazim Gulamali and IM Daniel Naroditsky. We’re also the first channel to start a live bughouse series as well. My Videos aim to be for club to advanced level players (with the exception of my beginner series, which are focused more on players just starting out in chess)
- Difficulty: Casual, Club Level, Expert Level+
- Video Types: Recent Top Level Game Analyses, Grandmaster Interviews, Classic Games, Women’s Chess, Live Blitz Games, Bughouse Games, Spanish Videos, Guest Videos
- Videos by: NM Will Stewart, FM Kazim Gulamali, IM Daniel Naroditsky, Martin Gerschenfeld, Spencer Carran
The Chess Website
Since starting out my website I’ve had quite a few chances to talk to Kevin from TheChessWebsite.com. His story is quite remarkable, gaining a following of nearly 20,000 subscribers in less than 30 months time. He says the secret is that he was the “first person to really break down chess opening-by-opening, gambit-by-gambit and put it all in an easy to navigate website” His website is broken down into logical sections that can be easily used as a great look-up reference for tons of popular openings and gambits. Kevin also has an affinity for classic games, especially one’s involving Fischer, Capablanca, and more recentely Kasparov. Unlike my channel which focuses on specific games, Kevin has a tendency to focus more on the learning aspect of chess, with various games used as a vehicle to this understanding. His videos are always very thorough but also clear enough for any starting player to understand, making it a great choice for beginners.
- Difficulty: Beginner, Casual, Club Level, Expert Level+
- Video Types: Learning Openings, Learning Gambits, Famous Game Analises, Classic Game Analises, Tactics, Puzzles, End Game Reviews
Kingscrusher is the undisputed king of internet chess. He’s posted over 2700 videos and has even been featured on the blogs of many famous GM’s such as Hikaru Nakamura and GM Susan Polgar. He was also the first person to start recording live-blitz games. He has an impressive FIDE of over 2100+ and is a very strong blitz player as well. His recordings, like mine, can sometimes go a bit quick, so a basic understanding of basic openings and positions is recommended. He’s developed a very impressive following and is nearly always the first person to put out coverage from recent tournaments. He is also the owner of the ChessWorld.net community which I highly suggest you check out. If navigating 2700+ videos seems intimidating, just check out the left sidebar of his channel where JessicaFischerQueen was kind enough to sort many of his videos by playlist.
His videos mostly fall into 6 categories
1: Analysis of master games (all your heart could desire, from Morphy to Carlsen)
2: Analysis of his own personal games
3: Evolution of Chess Style (a series where he looks a different games throughout history and shows how the style of play has evolved)
4: Blitz-chess with live commentary (Tryfone is a strong blitzplayer and has crushed many GMs and IMs on the ICC. His lucid and humorous live-annotation is always great fun to watch) Here is a link to what I consider his best and/or most entertaining live-commentary games:
5: Warzone Tournaments with live commentary (the Warzone is a relatively new concept originated by chesscube.com – the idea is to pair players against new opponents immediately after their game is over. The player who has scored the most points after the alloted time is over will win the tournament. Time controls are usually 1 minute and the videos are usually about 30 min to 1 hour in length.
6: Opening-videos (explaining how different openings work)
So what is good about this channel? Well, Tryfone Gavriel aka KingsCrusher has a soothing and pleasant voice which he uses to provide insightful and entertaining commentary and analysis. Also there is a growing community revolving around the channel and his website.
Thank you to Ruxistico for this paragraph
- Difficulty: Casual, Club Level, Expert Level+
- Video Types: Just about everything, but he has an affinity for live blitz videos, personal analysis and covering recent super GM games. See paragraph above.
Jerry is a talented National Master who has been making videos for the chess community since 2007. Jerry has the ability to reach early beginners in a way that I probably never will. He meticulously explains each move in a hypnotically soothing voice that keeps his fans always coming back for more. If you are just getting into chess and need to know where to start Jerry’s channel is the place to go. While his analyses are more “beginner” oriented, I can tell you as a 2200+ player that advanced players will find his game reviews interesting as well (albeit don’t expect him to go as far into the sidelines as Kingscrusher or myself do, which keep his videos easier to watch). Jerry’s videos, like most channels, cover just about everything. If my videos focus more specifically on the games and thechesswebsite’s videos focus more on the openings/tactics, Jerry falls somewhere in between. He does plenty of recent and classic game analises, but also does many puzzle videos, tactics videos and videos specifically done to cover a certain position, endgame, gambit or opening. For example take a recent video he did aptly titled Chess Endgame: Queen + King vs Rook + King (Philidor). Jerry also maintains a very active Facebook page, which frankly we’ve used as a benchmark of how to engage our own users on our Facebook page.
- Difficulty: Early Beginner, Beginner, Casual, Club Level
- Video Types: Openings, Tactics, Endgames, Classic Games, Recent GM Games, Own Games Analyses, Live Blitz Videos, Live Kibitzing on ChessCube
Sean Godley features one of the oldest chess channels on YouTube, even predating ChessNetwork and Kingscrusher. Sean G Godley’s channel features in-depth analysis of great games between grandmasters, opening traps and extended discussion about different strategies, openings, and modern chess theory in general. Sean was actually kind enough to review a recent game I played on his channel as well. He features an impressive collection of over 250 videos. He used to focus on more on openings, traps and that sort of thing, but recentely he’s begun to focus more on recent tournament games and classic grandmaster games as well. From what I’ve seen his analyses range from beginner level to occasionally exploring more advanced concepts and difficult sidelines. He also uses computers quite a bit in his analyses which may or may-not be your style, but guarantees that he’s thoroughly analyzed potential refutations before the video (I enjoy more casually “discovering” them as I go along). I highly suggest you check Sean G Godley out as his channels is superb.
- Difficulty: Beginner, Casual, Club Level
- Video Types: Classic GM Games, Recent GM Games, Tactics, Traps
PieWalkerMatt decided to use YouTube to document his progress in chess after being out of the game for 10 years (somewhat like jrobichess). He has a respectable USCF rating of ~1700 and has recentely caught the attention of ChessCube after noticing his ChessCube Blitz videos have been soaring in popularity. If your a newbie at chess who wants to watch someone else play live videos and “learn along the way” then check out his channel. Here is a recent game of him playing ChessNetwork
- Difficulty: Early Beginner, Beginner, Casual, Club Level
- Video Types: Live Blitz Videos (Chesscube), GM Game Reviews
Yateley Manor Chess
Talented IM and FIDE Senior trainer Andrew Martin usually does premium videos for Foxy and ChessBase but has 65 uploads available 100% free on his channel! He’s done virtually no marketing for the channel so it truly is a hidden gem. The channel focuses mostly on tactics and game reviews that are specific to learning a certain aspect of chess. This channel is highly recommended for both beginners and advanced players alike.
- Difficulty: Early Beginner, Beginner, Casual, Club Level, Expert+
- Video Types: Tactics, Openings, Strategies, Chess Improvement.
Matt Pulin is a FIDE 2000+ Chess Expert who posts many things related to gaming on his channel. Although his channel isn’t exclusively focused on chess, most of his postings are related to the game. Like TheChessWebsite and ChessNetwork Matt Pullin has a way of engaging beginner players in a way that most IMs/GMs cannot do. Although his video section is very disorganized and mixed in with other non-chess related content, I invite you to check out some of his “down to earth” blitz commentary that you may find very instructive.
Peter Lalic is a Chess Expert who’s been posting chess videos on YouTube for quite a while. He is another “hidden gem” in that his videos are very high quality but his lack of a website or marketing make him a relative unknown. He likes analyzing his own games and does so frequently. He also likes analyzing classic games and recent super GM tournament games as well. Peter Lalic is also keen on using computers for his commentary, as a matter of fact many of his videos are him directly recording Chessbase as he moves along. (He actually uses a near feature where you can see a webcam of him while he analyzes the game on the screen.)
GM Henrik Danielsen – Krakkaskak
Icelandic/Danish GM Henrik Danielsen is a very funny guy indeed! His videos are very entertaining and instructive. Among other things he has pioneered the “Polar Bear” opening and explains how to play it in a series of videos” I find his analyses to be very easy going and understanding compared to most GM videos. His videos are frequently featured on GM Susan Polgar’s blog. Check him out.
Other Chess Channels
I hope you enjoyed my article on some of my favorite channels. I’m now going to make a list of ALL youtube channels I know about for people to easily reference here. I’m going to be making another article soon on channels dedicated to chess documentaries, TV chess and things of that sort so stay tuned.
We have done a new list with new YouTube channel you can’t miss! Click here to check out the new list!