Shari interviews Eric Rosen, Digital Content Creator and International Chess Master. They discuss how Eric turned his passion for chess into a thriving business, how he began playing, chess in pop culture, a few pointers – and how he maximizes his return on life.
Eric Rosen is a 29-year-old International Chess Master based in St. Louis who has a worldwide following on YouTube and Twitch. He was born and raised in Skokie, Illinois, where his older brother Alex taught him to play chess at the age of 7. After his first chess tournament at age 8, he declared to his parents on the car ride home that he loved the way chess made him think and wanted to play it the rest of his life. Apparently, he meant it. At age 9, he won the Illinois 3rd Grade State Championship, his first of many successes.
He graduated from Niles North High School in 2012, where he led his chess team to two state championships, and in his junior year won the 2011 U.S. High School national chess championship, earning him the right to compete in the world youth championships later that year in Brazil. He earned his FIDE Master Title in 2011, and his International Master Title in 2015. (FIDE is the world chess organization that confers international titles).
He attended the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana for two years, where with his longtime friend and fellow chess player Michael Auger led the team to the Final Four competition of College chess in 2013 and 2014, an almost unprecedented accomplishment for a school that had no formal chess program. He later transferred to Webster University, where from 2015 to 2017 he competed in the school’s SPICE program under the direction of former World Women’s Champion, Susan Polgar. He graduated from Webster in 2017 with a B.A. in Interactive Digital Media. After graduating, in lieu of looking for a regular job, Eric decided to travel the world for a year — competing in chess tournaments and supporting himself by teaching chess online. In 2017, he launched a Twitch channel and began creating more regular content for his YouTube Channel, which he began in 2013.
The channels grew steadily in popularity the first couple of years, to the point where he was able to generate enough revenue through his online content and teaching to comfortably support himself. In 2020, interest in chess exploded as the world was locked down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and viewership of his channels took off. He now has more than 600,000 subscribers on YouTube, and more than 230,000 on Twitch. He is known and liked by his viewers for his laid-back style and his encouragement of a growth mindset — valuing hard work, practice, learning from your mistakes and enjoying the journey.
He has also done professional photography work and was hired by FIDE (the World Chess Federation) as one of the official photographers of the most recent World Chess Championship held in Dubai between Magnus Carlsen and Ian Nepomniachtchi.
Other interests include tennis, ping pong, Scrabble and bowling.
Connect with Eric:
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/
Twitch Channel: https://www.twitch.tv/imrosen
Webster University, SPICE and Chess: https://www.webster.edu/spice/
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