Suns Out, Pawns Out: What We Got Up To At TwitchCon EU


TwitchCon, TwitchCon, TwitchCon. I just celebrated my first time at the convention as part of the Chess.com team. Sure, I expected things to be a little bit wild. But what I walked into was a vibrant ball of purple-drenched chaos, inflatable pawns, and world record-smashing times. If you couldn’t join us for the action in person, here’s everything you missed:

The Calm Before The Pawn Storm

Before Twitch opened its doors to the public, I took advantage of the “downtime” to enjoy our community picnic hosted in Hondeneiland Zuiderpark. We invited members of our Discord channel, as well as creators, to start the weekend with some healthy competition. FM Anna-Maja Kazarian and WCM Alexandra Prado joined us, and it was the perfect way to mingle before the convention buzz began.

The Booth

And then the doors opened. Armed with chess socks, a schedule of meet-and-greets, and a booth completely lined with boards, we were ready for anything. Throughout the weekend, many creators were challenged by players and watched by many. TwitchCon is where you can spark a conversation with anyone, and I met some incredible people, from complete chess newbies to a former Irish Women’s National team player. Some familiar faces, including EsfandTV, dropped by our booth and shared their love for chess.

Photo: Maria Emelianova

The World Record

We’ve all seen that clip of the guy who solves the Rubik’s cube in under four seconds, right?

This year, we challenged TwitchCon to set up an entire chessboard at record speed. I decided to make everyone’s life a little bit trickier that day; not only would challengers be restricted to using one hand when setting up the board, but you could also only move one piece at a time.

Photo: Ricardo Gaspar

Queues formed as over-the-board gladiators waited for their turn. As soon as a challenger lifted their hands from the speed timer, the clock started, and their fate was counted in milliseconds. The first-day record was set by an impressively calm Polish grandmaster, Kacper Piorun, also known as GMSolver. I guess that grandmaster title helped him achieve the record of 28.76 seconds. But was he beaten?

Twitch Rivals 

Photo: Maria Emelianova

At TwitchRivals, we cheered on chess legend WFM Anna Cramling as she took on the gaming world with Wirtual. But Anna’s secret weapon was her on-site support in the form of two inflatable chess pieces. I tried out the inflatable pawn costume for myself, and though it was scandalously hot, I concluded that it was one of the happiest and most carefree moments of my life. 

The Twist At The End

As the weekend wound down and TwitchCon’s security started swarming the venue like a final boss, one competitive challenger returned to give the chessboard challenge one last try. In a movie-like turn of events, the final attempt to be made before closing the booth resulted in a crushing 27.91-second victory, beating the World Record by just shy of two seconds. Necktyz, our challenge winner, went home with a brand new wooden chessboard as their prize.

Photo: Isabel García de la Cruz

The Overall Vibe Rating: 10/10

My experience at TwitchCon was a vibrant and wonderfully chaotic adventure. The most heartwarming part was seeing the diverse and growing chess community at our booth, with both familiar and new faces. The fact that when I asked people about their favorite chess streamers, many of them mentioned “Tyler1” was a clear indication of the widespread growth of chess.

We look forward to seeing you all at TwitchCon San Diego in September!

Photo: Maria Emelianova

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