The interest in chess from esports organizations continues to grow, as two chess streamers were signed recently. Old school streamer and the host of ChessCoachNet, Frank Johnson, was signed by Premier, and NM James Canty III will be representing Noble.
Frank Johnson started his Twitch channel, ChessCoachNet, back in 2017. From then, his channel gradually grew, and he became one of the first Chess.com partnered streamers. Today he has close to 9,000 followers and figures among the 100 most-watched chess channels in the world.
Because of his impressive accomplishments, Johnson became a member of the Premier GG esports organization. “This is an awesome time to be a chess player and I am very excited to be a part of it,” Johnson stated.
His official announcement came out on February 24 after Premier posted this video on YouTube.
“Chess being included as an esport is epic, especially during the pandemic,” said Johnson. “I believe that this new inclusion will fast-track competitive play not only for top level players but also for players at the state and local levels. Chess as an esport also has the additional benefit of bringing even more potential players,” he added.
This is an awesome time to be a chess player and I am very excited to be a part of it.
— Frank Johnson
Inspired by ChessCoachNet, James Canty III started his channel in 2018 after talking to Johnson on Discord. He was eventually able to quit his sales job and dedicate himself exclusively to his brand and stream. Canty has become a fan-favorite and now has more than 10,500 followers on Twitch.
His success on the platform caught the attention of Noble, a Delaware-based esports organization. Noble officially announced their new team member on February 27 via Twitter:
Boxed like a fish.
— Noble (@NobleGG) February 27, 2021
About his new deal, Canty said: “This is such a dream come true for me. To be a part of a thriving and winning organization like Noble was on my goals list for the year, along with my chess goals.”
Canty also took the time to acknowledge the hard work of others that helped him in his career. “I have to first say thanks to Hikaru and the Botez sisters for opening the doors for this to happen. It only takes one and then other opportunities open for others!” he said, referencing GM Hikaru Nakamura’s deal with TSM and the Botez sisters’ with Envy. “Thanks to Chess.com for the opportunities that changed everything for me,” he added. “I’m forever grateful!”
I have to first say thanks to Hikaru and the Botez sisters for opening the doors for this to happen. It only takes one and then other opportunities open for others!
— NM James Canty III
Johnson and Canty are now among the chess stream powerhouses to be signed by esports organizations recently, including WGM Nemo Qiyu Zhou, Nakamura, the Botez sisters, GM Krikor Mekhitarian, and WFM Anna Cramling. Together, they are helping to grow chess as an esport and introduce the game to new audiences.