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Eric Hansen has been one of Canada’s top players for years, but 2022 stands out as a year of unique achievements for the 30-year-old.

Born in the U.S., Hansen grew up in Calgary and became a strong player in his teenage years. He eventually earned the grandmaster title in 2013.

But over the last few years, he has devoted most of his energy to streaming. He created the popular Chessbrah platform, which he now runs with fellow grandmaster Aman Hambleton. It has close to 300,000 followers on both Twitch and YouTube.

His online popularity may have been a factor in getting invited to the Airthings Masters tournament early this year. In an event that featured the world’s elite players, Hansen shocked many people with victories over world champion Magnus Carlsen and championship contender Ian Nepomniachtchi.

That led to more invitations throughout the year, including events in Norway, Austria, India and other places. Hansen is now a household name not just for his streaming but for his play as well.

“I definitely didn’t expect it,” Hansen told Chess24 commentators after defeating Carlsen. “It’s the first time I’ve beaten him in a serious tournament.”

It’s certain he’ll continue to be invited to high-profile events in 2023.

Vidit Gujrathi v. Eric Hansen, online, 2022

Handout

How does Black finish off his highly-rated opponent?

Black played 35… Qxf1+ and White resigned, because after 36.Bxf1 Nf2+.