By KIM BELLARD

Oh, gosh, two of my favorite things are in the news together: Twitch and chess. 

Just kidding.  I barely know what Twitch is, and the last time I played chess was, well, not in this century (and, even then, not well).  But I’m not kidding about their convergence.  Chess has become a big hit on Twitch, especially in these COVID times. 

I figure, if two such seemingly divergent things are meshing, there must be some lessons there, even for healthcare. 

For those of you over, say, fifty, Twitch is an online service that facilitates livestreaming, particularly of gaming.  That is, people watch other people playing games, such Fortnite or League of Legends. 

E-sports, as this is known, have become a big thing; colleges are even giving out scholarships for e-sports.   Major news outlets, such as The New York Times and The Washington Post, reported on Twitch re-signing video game star Tyler Blevins, a.k.a “Ninja,” much as they might have reported an NFL team signing a star player. 

As I write, 2.7 million people are livingstreaming on Twitch.  Its all-time concurrent viewers peak is just over 6 million.  There were 1.6 billion hours watched in August, with over 11 billion year-to-date.  It draws more viewers than network television hits. There are 93,000 live channels at this moment. 

Some of those livestreams are watching chess.  Analytics website Sullygnome reports people watched 45 million hours of chess on Twitter in 2020.  In June an amateur chess tournament was (briefly) the top-viewed Twitch stream. The convergence of streaming and chess has created a “giant chess bonfire,” Marcus Graham, Twitch’s head of creator development, told The New York Times. 

The biggest Twitch chess star is grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura, who accounted for 10 million of those 45 million hours watched.  Last month esports organization Team SoloMid signed Mr. Nakamura to what

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