Meet the Chess Stream Ballerina bringing chaos to Twitch | So Good News


JulesGambit is a rising star in the chess streaming community currently based in California. A teenage chess champion, he returned to chess as an adult, sharing his passion for the game on Twitch earlier this year. Since then, he has gained over 2,500 followers on the platform and regularly streams his games to hundreds of viewers.

In our interview below, meet Jules to learn what chess and ballet have in common, what the most confusing move in chess is, and why it’s never too late to follow your passions.

How long have you been playing chess and what made you decide to start?

I’m actually a bit new to streaming! I only started 2-3 months ago because I was looking for someone to come back to my hometown for the summer and play chess with. I found this group chat for the Collegiate Chess League; I have no idea what this is, but I just signed up to ask if anyone wants to play chess with me! CCL Commissioner Joe Lee reached out and said: “If you had a little extra time, would you consider broadcasting?” and I said, “No!”

But he told me a bit more about streaming and helped me set everything up, and I’ve been playing chess ever since!

What made you hesitate?

I think this is the experience for many people who are interested in streaming: the #1 thing you hear is that it’s too late to start streaming on Twitch. The fact that the opening is zero, the platform is very difficult to get started, the technology is very difficult…. There are so many depressing things on the internet! My thoughts immediately went to this.

You are the first streamer to become an official partner of the community! How was your experience with Community Streamer?

In fact, one of my best experiences was being a part of the Community Streamer program. It was my second or third stream and I was playing someone who was rated higher than me. After the game, he visited my Twitch channel (where he saw me streaming) and he came to my stream and said, ”You’re doing great, you’ll be ranked high in no time!” He was just super helpful and sweet, and it was so It was a motivating experience.At that time I had not flowed to many people and I was still a bit nervous about my chess because it is very difficult to put myself out there and play a game in front of people!

When he came and encouraged me, I really felt like a part of the community. I think it’s a great resource because the #1 challenge with Twitch is building your community and finding people who are into what you do, especially when you’re just starting out.

I think it’s helped me find my community on and really see me, and it’s been fun talking to some of the people I’ve been playing with.

Who are your personal favorite chess players and why?

Before streaming, I was only slightly familiar with the Twitch community, with one exception: in 2020, I had an opportunity. Interview with the Botez Sisters for NBCLX! It was so random and so cool; I turned to NBC and said, “Hey, these are the people I want to talk to, these chess girls… I’m a woman, I play chess, can I talk to them?”

I contacted them through their agency at the time and we had a Zoom interview where I asked them a bunch of questions about Twitch. It was a great experience because I had been following them and their adventures and what they were doing for a while. This is probably one of the reasons why I’m open to starting my own on Twitch!

Did they give you any particular inspiration for your stream?

Yes of course! I love the way they interact with the audience. Chess can be stereotyped as a very serious, non-entertaining sport, and they like to change it up a lot all the time. I think there was an escape room recently, and at one point Andrea was DJing…so you never quite know what’s going to happen there. I like to mix it up and add fun to the seriousness because they are serious chess players, but they also know how to engage an audience.

Jules is playing a chess game.
Jules is playing a board game. Image courtesy of JulesGambit.

Are there other chess players who inspire you?

There’s another account, UCLA Chess, which is run by the president of chess, Richard, and I think he’s one of the most dedicated people I’ve ever met. I think he once had something like most hours poured into a college chess account; he really loves.

Everyone who enters his stream greets them by name and is genuinely excited to see them. He just has one of the most helpful senses. People say you should stream it just because you love it, and it truly reflects that. He certainly inspires me!

What was your most memorable or fun moment on stream in the past two months?

It’s been so much… It’s crazy, I didn’t think it was possible before I started streaming, but I’ve played grandmasters and international masters. Sure, they might destroy me in my sleep, but it’s a great experience as a chess player to be able to play against the best people in the world.

I actually met the grandmaster at a tournament I played and we played brains and it was just hilarious. As you can imagine he was incredibly upset because he would say “pawn” and I would move my pawn to a5 and he would say, “What are you doing, this is not theory!” such a fun experience.

I didn’t think it was possible until I started streaming, but I’ve played grandmasters and international masters. Sure, they might destroy me in my sleep, but it’s a great experience.

Imagine being able to do chess-based collaboration on your stream with anyone in the world. Who would it be and why?

It’s easy, of course, Chessbrahs! I have never seen people play chess like that; they make you feel like a chess party and I think it will be a lot of fun to collaborate with them. I really like how they engage their audience and play super high level chess in a very accessible, fun and entertaining way.

What is Jules Gambit?

So there’s been a lot of debate about this… most of my community focuses on a certain event in my stream where I lost my queen, and then somehow when I lost my queen, I also ended up in a fork. time, and then that fork came into another fork with some of mine, so I lost my queen and two rooks in 25 seconds. I’d like to think this is the messiest move on the board.

You’ve been playing competitive chess since you were five years old (until you took a break). What were your early chess days like?

I started playing chess because of my sister. I said: “Does my sister play?” I want to play! I want to be better than that!” So, from the age of five, I played competitively. I went to the state championships, I went to the national championships, and I insisted on wearing a floppy hat, like one of those old ladies’ hats you see at the horse races. I wore them to every game. In fact, my coach told my mom that if I wore them to another game, he would stop coaching me. I still did, and that was my good luck hat! I wore fur dresses and had a pink streak in my hair. I was a very shy child.

Young JulesGambit (and his hat) with his sister.
Young JulesGambit (and his hat) with his sister, also a chess player! Image courtesy of JulesGambit.

What caused the game to stop?

I was the NorCal Girls champion at the time, so I competed at a good level for my age. When I was 10 or 11 years old, when I heard that it was common for other people, I started to feel a little frustrated that I couldn’t make friends at these tournaments. When you’re young, boys don’t want to talk to girls, they don’t want to be friends with girls; I would go to all these tournaments and no one would talk to me!

I remember there was a dance competition going on at the same time at the state tournament, and I remember sneaking in there and stretching myself so I could be a dancer and talk to the crowd! It was frustrating for me and I lost my passion for the sport at that time. It’s sad, but you can’t force a child to have passion – whether they have it or not.

WGM Jennifer Shahad talks about this in her book, Chess Queens, I’m in love with this. According to her, many girls do not participate in regular competitions at a young age because it is a very difficult environment for a girl.

It’s been a lot warmer than adults, and I think because you don’t have the ‘girls have brownies’ thing, I can make friends with other players and I’ve become a bit more. I believe in myself, so I don’t take to heart some of the things I did when I was younger.

What are your ambitions for streaming? Where do you see your channel in a year or two?

One of the main goals of my stream is to continue playing chess at a competitive level. It’s very ambitious, but one day I’d like to go for the title and document it. I’m definitely getting more involved in competitive chess again, and I keep meeting women who have the same story as me: being a competitive kid and playing a lot until you stop, and then not being comfortable starting again because there’s so much pressure. It’s as good as when you were a kid, or they don’t know where to start, or it’s not good enough for the community.

I just want to show you that you can play competitively again in my stream; you can make it fun and it can be less stressful, so it’s a direction I can definitely see my flow going in. I just want to continue to grow my community and I’m very happy with everything that has happened so far!

Different disciplines complement and complement each other—do you feel that what you learned in ballet can be applied to playing chess (or vice versa)?

My ballet and chess journeys are certainly strange. I started late for a ballerina at 12, you might close your eyes because 12 is not “late” in other contexts! Starting late, you tend to compare yourself to other people around you a lot, especially because I was trying to catch up by putting myself in classes with young kids.

Ballet is a very visual sport, so I find myself comparing myself to people who are younger and much stronger than me, so I definitely had to let that get in the way and focus on my passions and let go of the pressure. Be the absolute best. Since then, I’ve been practicing ballet non-stop, and I’m still doing it in college, and I’ve had the same experience with chess: you have to stop the pressure and wait, and instead really put your mind to the sport. I think whatever you do, you have to have that discipline and passion. You can’t be a good chess player if you’re not passionate about sports, and it’s the same with ballet.

Image by JulesGambits cat, RBG.
RBG the cat is a frequent contributor to JulesGambit. Image courtesy of JulesGambit.

Your cat is called RBG and sometimes features in your stream. Please tell us more about RBG.

RBG is my little political science cat named after Ruth Bader Ginsburg. He’s a little bad. He is a rescuer and also a big fan of chess streams. I turned once to get coffee from the fridge, and when I looked back, he was writing in the chess stream I had opened. He left four comments with strings of different syllables… luckily someone knew it was him. Once he learned to type, it was over for me; Someone said that if he ever started playing chess, he would be more popular than me, and I believe it 100%.

You can catch JulesGambit live on his Twitch channel or follow his content TwitterInstagram, Discord and YouTube.

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