Alexandra Botez

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Alexandra Botez
Botez in 2010
Full nameAlexandra Valeria Botez
Born24 September 1995 (1995-09-24) (age 28)[1]
Dallas, Texas, U.S.
TitleWoman FIDE Master (2013)
FIDE rating1986 (March 2024)
Peak rating2092 (April 2016)
Twitch information
Years active2016–present
Followers1.3 million[2]
YouTube information
Subscribers1.46 million[3]
Total views589.2 million[4][3]

Last updated: April 5, 2024

Alexandra Valeria Botez (/ˈbtɛz/ BOH-tez; born 24 September 1995)[5] is an American-Canadian chess player and commentator, Twitch streamer, and YouTuber. As a player, she became a five-time Canadian National Girls Champion and won the U.S. Girls Nationals at age 15. She achieved her highest FIDE Elo rating of 2092 in March 2016, and she currently holds the International Chess Federation title of Woman FIDE Master.

Botez began streaming online chess content in 2016 while she was a student at Stanford University, stating that in her first stream, a majority of viewers were not interested in chess but in her appearance.[6] Paired with her younger sister Andrea Botez, she now manages the BotezLive Twitch and YouTube channels, which both have over 1 million followers.[7][8]

Botez has publicly detailed her encounters with sexism and misogyny in tournament chess and has advocated for greater gender diversity. As a prominent female chess figure, she was elected to the Board of Directors of the Susan Polgar Foundation,[9] a 501(c)3 nonprofit aiming to promote chess, with all its educational, social, and competitive benefits throughout the United States, for young people of all ages, especially girls.[10]

Early life and background[edit]

Botez was born to Romanian immigrant parents.[11] Although she was born in Dallas, Texas, she was raised in Vancouver, British Columbia.[12] Botez's father introduced her to chess and started training her when she was six.[12] She eventually became a member of the Romanian Community Centre chess club, Golden Knights, coached by Chess Master Valer Eugen Demian.[13]



In 2004, Botez won her first Canadian children's national championship at age eight.[12] She eventually played for the National Canadian Team in 2010 and won four more Canadian youth national titles.[14] After moving back to the United States, Botez won the U.S. Girls Nationals at age fifteen and twice represented the state of Oregon in the SPF Girls' Invitational[further explanation needed].[12] In 2013, Botez achieved the Woman FIDE Master title norm.[15]

After attending high school in Oregon, Botez earned a full-ride chess scholarship to the University of Texas at Dallas.[16] However, deciding to prioritize academics, she chose to study international relations with a focus on China at Stanford University.[12] During her sophomore year in 2014, Botez became the second female president of the Stanford University Chess Club after Cindy Tsai in 2005.[16] She graduated in 2017.[12]

In addition to her chess career, Botez served a brief stint as a chess commentator. She covered the 2018 and 2019 PRO Chess League Finals, the most popular team chess championship, along with IM Daniel Rensch, IM Anna Rudolf, and GM Robert Hess.[1]

As of April 2021, Botez has a FIDE Elo rating of 2020 in standard chess and 2059 in blitz, placing her in the top 10 of Canadian female players.[1]


In 2016, Botez started streaming chess content on Twitch during her junior year at Stanford University.[17] Her channel quickly gained traction, and in 2020, she was joined by her younger sister, Andrea Botez.[18] Together, they host the BotezLive Twitch and YouTube channels, which have garnered more than 2,700,000 followers combined.[1] The sisters frequently collaborate with other chess streamers on the platform, such as GM Hikaru Nakamura and WGM Qiyu Zhou.[19][20] While they mainly stream chess content on their Twitch channel, they are almost exclusively streaming in the "Just Chatting" category, refusing to use the "Chess" category of the platform. This is also something GM Hikaru Nakamura has talked about as being "damaging to the chess community" in the past.[21]

Botez's streaming popularity has helped her become one of the most recognizable faces on the platform.[1] In response to her prominence as a female chess player, the mainstream media often compares Botez to the fictional Beth Harmon, the protagonist of The Queen's Gambit.[12][22][23]

Other professional work[edit]

In 2017, Botez co-founded CrowdAmp, a social media company. As of May 2019, that company has ceased operations.[24]

In April 2020, Botez was elected to the board of directors of the Susan Polgar Foundation, a non-profit 501(c)3 organization that advocates for breaking gender barriers in chess.[25] Within the past eighteen years, the Susan Polgar Foundation has assisted in offering more than $6 million in chess scholarships and prizes to students.[25]

In December 2020, the Botez sisters signed with the Texas-based esports organization Envy Gaming.[26] By partnering with the Botez sisters, Envy hopes to expand its ambassador network with diverse gaming content creators.[26]

Botez made $456,900 on a poker live stream on May 1, 2022, presented by the Hustler Live Casino, which featured fellow streamers along with poker pros.[27]

Playing style and notable games[edit]

a8 black rook
f8 black rook
g8 black king
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
d7 black bishop
f7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 white bishop
c5 black queen
d5 white knight
f4 white pawn
b3 white pawn
e3 white pawn
h3 white pawn
a2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
d1 white queen
f1 white rook
g1 white king
Position after White's check on move 21. After exchanging her rook for her opponent's knight on c5, Botez launches a series of checks which forces the win of her opponent's queen on move 24.

Botez often plays chess with an aggressive, adaptive style of play.[1] In the 2016 Chess Olympiad held in Norway, she showcased her attacking style against opponent Anzel Solomons.[1] During this match, Botez, playing as White, offers to exchange her rook for Solomons' knight on move 20. Solomons agrees to this exchange. However, this proves to be a tactical error, which turns the game in Botez's favor. Seizing the opportunity, Botez sacrifices her bishop on move 21, ultimately allowing her to check with her queen on move 22 and check with her knight on move 23, thereby winning Solomons' queen on move 24. Having built a solid advantage, Botez advances her kingside pawns until Solomons resigns the game.[1]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.e3 Nbd7 6.Bd3 Bd6 7.O-O O-O 8.b3 e5 9.cxd5 cxd5 10.Nb5 Bb8 11.dxe5 Nxe5 12.h3 Ne4 13.Bb2 Qf6 14.Nxe5 Bxe5 15.Bxe5 Qxe5 16.Rc1 Bd7 17.f4 Qe7 18.Nc7 Nc5 19.Nxd5 Qd6 20.Rxc5 Qxc5 21.Bxh7+ Kxh7 22.Qh5+ Kg8 23.Nf6+ gxf6 24.Qxc5 Bc6 25.Qf5 Kg7 26.Qg4+ Kh7 27.Qf5+ Kg7 28.e4 Rad8 29.Rf3 Rd1+ 30.Kh2 Rfd8 31.Rg3+ Kf8 32.Qc5+ Ke8 33.Rg8+ Kd7 34.Rxd8+ Kxd8 35.h4 Kc7 36.h5 Rd8 37.Qe7+ Rd7 38.Qxf6 Kc8 39.Qf5 1–0

Botez's most-played opening is the King's Indian Defense, in which Black allows White to advance their pawns to the center of the board in the first two moves.[1]

The "Botez Gambit", a tongue-in-cheek term, occurs when a player blunders their queen. It originated with viewers of Botez's streams,[28] but Botez has herself used it self-mockingly.[29]

Views on sexism in chess[edit]

Botez has talked about her encounters with sexism in her chess career.[17][30][31] Regarding her stream, Botez has stated that until she brought in moderators, she was disturbed by the fact that "60% of it was just people trying to flirt with me and chat, or people just commenting on my appearance the entire time... They didn't care about the game play at all."[32] Competitive chess has always been dominated by men, with male grandmasters outnumbering female grandmasters 50-to-one.[17] Botez says, "It has taken very long to get to the point where we're starting to change the stereotype [to show] that women are not genetically inferior to men at playing chess."[17]

Botez watched the Netflix show The Queen's Gambit and claimed the show understates the misogyny of that era through the female protagonist.[30] She said the show glossed over many realities, especially considering the decade it is set in: "If the show had been historically accurate, Beth wouldn't have been able to compete in any world championship events".[30] Botez cited the case of female grandmaster Susan Polgar,[30] who said that in 1986 she was prevented from competing in a zonal tournament, a qualifying event for the World Chess Championship, because of her gender.[33] Nevertheless, Botez was complimentary of protagonist Beth Harmon as a nuanced and inspirational figure for upcoming women in chess.[34]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Ceremony Category Result Ref.
2022 The Streamer Awards Best Chess Streamer Won [35]
2023 Nominated [36]
Forbes 30 Under 30 Games Included [37]
2024 The Streamer Awards Best Chess Streamer Nominated [38]
Best Shared Channel Nominated

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Alexandra Botez | Chess Celebrities". Retrieved 2021-05-17.
  2. ^ "BotezLive". Twitch Stats. Retrieved 30 March 2023.
  3. ^ a b "About BotezLive". YouTube.
  4. ^ "BotezLive". YouTube. Retrieved 30 March 2023.
  5. ^ "Botez, Alexandra". FIDE. Retrieved 4 March 2023.
  6. ^ Leibowitz, Jessica (19 February 2021). "This 25-year-old earns 6 figures playing chess on Twitch—here's how". CNBC. Retrieved 2023-12-08.
  7. ^ "BotezLive - YouTube". Retrieved 2023-01-24.
  8. ^ BotezLive - Twitch, retrieved 2023-01-24
  9. ^ "Board of Directors – Susan Polgar Foundation". Retrieved 2023-01-24.
  10. ^ "Mission – Susan Polgar Foundation". Retrieved 2023-01-24.
  11. ^ Bakar, Faima (2020-12-20). "Chess influencer's online popularity soars after Queen's Gambit success". Metro. Retrieved 2021-05-17.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g "Meet the modern-day Beth Harmon, a chess influencer who started training when she was 6 years old". 18 December 2020. Retrieved 2021-05-17.
  13. ^ "About Us | 64 Fun Solutions". Archived from the original on 2021-04-23. Retrieved 2021-05-17.
  14. ^ "The chess games of Alexandra Botez". Retrieved 2021-05-18.
  15. ^ "Canadian Chess – Player of the Year". Retrieved 2021-05-18.
  16. ^ a b "Alexandra Botez: Stanford's first female Chess Club president". The Stanford Daily. 2014-10-31. Retrieved 2021-05-18.
  17. ^ a b c d Leibowitz, Jessica (2021-02-19). "This 25-year-old earns 6 figures playing chess on Twitch—here's how". CNBC. Retrieved 2021-05-17.
  18. ^ Collins, Sean (2021-01-21). "Texas' Botez sisters are at the forefront of an unlikely, and booming, partnership: Chess and esports". Dallas News. Retrieved 2021-05-17.
  19. ^ "How built a streaming empire". Protocol — The people, power and politics of tech. 2021-02-22. Retrieved 2021-05-17.
  20. ^ Mark, Gollom (24 October 2020). "Meet the Young Canadians Helping Online Chess Become a Pandemic Pastime". CBC. Archived from the original on 2020-10-24. Retrieved 17 May 2021.
  21. ^ "Chess GM Hikaru slams Alexandra Botez for miscategorizing Twitch streams". Dexerto. 28 July 2020. Retrieved 2023-10-16.
  22. ^ "Chess Influencer Alexandra Botez Is The Real Life Beth Harmon From The Queen's Gambit". Marketing Mind. 2020-12-26. Retrieved 2021-05-18.
  23. ^ "The Queen's Gambit: The real life women chess stars". BBC News. Retrieved 2021-05-18.
  24. ^ "Crowdamp". Lightspeed Venture Partners. Retrieved 2022-02-28.
  25. ^ a b Polgar, Susan (2020-04-19). "Alexandra Botez joins Susan Polgar Foundation Board of Directors". Twitter. Archived from the original on 2020-04-30.
  26. ^ a b "Envy Gaming Signs Chess Streamers Alexandra and Andrea Botez, Launch Content Creator Network – The Esports Observer". 2020-12-21. Retrieved 2021-05-17.
  27. ^ Sofen, Jon (2 May 2022). "Alexandra Botez, MrBeast Smash HCL Game; Alan Keating Drops $1.1 Million". Retrieved 2022-06-03.
  28. ^ "Botez Gambit – Chess Terms".
  29. ^ Abbruzzese, Jason; Rosenblatt, Kalhan (17 February 2020). "Speed and trash talk: Inside the 'new chess culture' and its online revival". NBC News. Retrieved 2021-05-18.
  30. ^ a b c d Hadden, Joey. "A female chess influencer says the sport is even more sexist than its portrayal in Netflix's 'The Queen's Gambit'". Insider. Retrieved 2021-05-18.
  31. ^ Bakar, Faima (2020-12-20). "Chess influencer's online popularity soars after Queen's Gambit success". Metro. Retrieved 2021-05-18.
  32. ^ Leibowitz, Jessica (2021-02-19). "This 25-year-old earns 6 figures playing chess on Twitch—here's how".
  33. ^ Polgar, Susan (23 July 2011). "Polgar: My Top 10 Most Memorable Moments in Chess (Part 1)". Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. Archived from the original on 14 June 2021.
  34. ^ Real Chess Master Reviews Netflix's new Limited Series "The Queen's Gambit", retrieved 2021-05-25
  35. ^ Miceli, Max (22 February 2022). "All nominees for QTCinderella's Streamer Awards". Dot Esports. GAMURS Group.
  36. ^ Polhamus, Blaine (20 February 2023). "All 2023 Streamer Awards nominees". Dot Esports. Gamurs.
  37. ^ "Forbes 30 Under 30 2023: Games". Forbes. Retrieved 2024-03-18.
  38. ^ Michael, Cale; Taifalos, Nicholas (18 February 2024). "Streamer Awards 2024: All results and winners for every category". Dot Esports. Gamurs. Retrieved 18 February 2024.

External links[edit]