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Analyzing the five titled players from this question:

  • Anna Cramling's rating appears not to have budged in the last year, presumably because of COVID.
  • Andrew Tang's rating appears not to have changed much since he signed with Cloud9 in 2019.
  • Qiyu Zhou's rating appears not to have changed much either.
  • Alexandra Botez's rating appears to have decreased slightly.
  • Hikaru Nakamura's classical rating declined, but his blitz rating increased.

If we neglect Anna Cramling (lack of data) and Hikaru Nakamura (since he was already a professional player), why is it that none of the other three players seem to have gotten an elo boost from playing chess full-time? Playing chess full-time ought to imply a lot of practice, and practice should lead to improvement.

Only thing I can think of is that online streaming focuses primarily on blitz, and therefore might not have an impact on classical chess. So one might expect classical rating to remain the same and blitz rating to increase. However, Nakamura's rating is the only one that follows this trend.

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  • 7
    Playing Blitz while not even focusing on the game is not great chess training
    – David
    Aug 3 at 10:47
  • why no mention of andrea botez? you want to focus on only the titled players?
    – BCLC
    Dec 6 at 0:33
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    @BCLC doesn't have to be only titled players. although now that I look at it, Andrea Botez's rating hasn't improved either.
    – Allure
    Dec 6 at 2:30
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The answer is very simple. Full-time chess streaming does nothing to improve your chess.

For players under 2200 the single best thing to do is work on tactics. Full-time chess streaming does nothing to improve your tactics. Following the Woodpecker Method as described by Axel Smith and Hans Tikkanen is what you need to do.

For players over 2200 the best thing to do is what this answer to a similar question says:

The principle teaching of the Soviet School of chess as described by Dvoretsky and others is that the key to improvement lies in annotating your own games.

Only by critically examining the (bad) moves you make can you identify the kind of mistakes you typically make and only then can you take positive steps to correct them.

This is a very active thing to do. It involves putting your brain into gear. Just putting your game into an engine and seeing where the evaluation changes by a big margin and noting the engine suggestion doesn't count. That is just passive.

If you are "full-time chess streaming" you are not spending much time doing deep analysis of your own games and mistakes. You are not doing what is necessary for improvement. Instead you are presenting shallow chess for entertainment and money.

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I don't believe signing to an e-sport will magically improve chess rating. Highly doubt those e-spot clubs have the resources to train a GM player. They don't have access to deep opening preparations, Kasparov's level training, deep Stockfish analysis, do they?

The clubs are excellent at marketing but not chess improvements. They are not coaching the players, but trying to make money from them.

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  • Today, everyone can get super-deep analysis by a small price, and opening preparation is not really that expensive. Why do you think that e-sports companies don't have that small budget when they are million dollars big? I can agree that they are not coaching but they have the capacity to do that.
    – Minot
    Dec 6 at 6:35

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