Skip to main content

At 22, Nemo Zhou is not just one of the top female chess players in Canada, she’s also one of the most-watched streamers.

Two years ago she became the first chess player to join an e-sports company when she partnered with Counter Logic Gaming of California. She currently has 284,000 followers on Twitch, where she streams chess games but also plays and talks about other sports.

Born in China, she became aware of chess at the age of three and quickly showed extraordinary promise. She lived in France and Finland before her family moved to Canada when she was 11, and her chess career kept growing through her early years.

In an interview, she explained some of her motivations to succeed at chess.

“I was bullied in middle school. Those negative comments really drove me to prove the haters wrong,” she said.

She won the World Under-14 championship in 2014, and three years later achieved the women’s grandmaster title. She now has an international following with hundreds of thousands of fans across many social media platforms.

Having lived in Ottawa and now in Toronto, Zhou says she will continue trying to qualify for Canadian national teams, but is contemplating a move to Los Angeles.

Nemo Zhou v Toms Kantans, Stockholm, 2016

Handout

White to play. She can’t capture the Queen, because Black Mates. What does she play?

36. Qd4! Threatens both mate and winning a piece on d8 … Bf6 37.Rxd8+ Be8 38. Rd6 Bxd4 39. Rxe6 fxe6 40. Bxd4 and White won.