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Chess influencer, 25, is branded a real-life Beth Harmon by Queen’s Gambit fans

A chess influencer who has more than 215,000 Instagram followers has been hailed as the real-life Beth Harmon by fans of the Netflix drama The Queen’s Gambit. 

Alexandra Botez, 25, was born in Dallas, Texas, and raised in Canada by her  Romanian immigrant parents. She started playing chess when she was just six years old after her father made a wager with her mother. 

‘My mom only plays a little. So he made a bet that he could teach me to play and that, in only two weeks, I would be able to beat her,’ she told the New York Post

Rising star: Alexandra Botez, 25, has been branded the real-life Beth Harmon by fans of the Netflix drama The Queen’s Gambit 

Resemblance: Beth, played by Anya Taylor-Joy, is a fictional chess prodigy in the series, which is based on a 1983 book of the same name by Walter Tevis

Resemblance: Beth, played by Anya Taylor-Joy, is a fictional chess prodigy in the series, which is based on a 1983 book of the same name by Walter Tevis

Alexandra’s talent was apparent when she defeated her mother in the game, and her dad continued to train her for tournaments. Two years later, he started taking her to local parks to find new people for her to play against. 

‘He’d say, “Is it OK if my daughter tries a game?” They would make room for me to play but be annoyed,’ she said, recalling how confused they would get after she beat them. ‘They would say, “Who is your daughter?”‘

The chess star was just eight years old when she competed in her first national championship and won first place for her division, Insider reported. 

Her passion for chess continued when her family moved back to Texas. She was 15 when she won the US Girls National championship for females 18 and under. 

Chess dominated Alexandra’s world when she was in high school. All of her friends played and most of their conversations revolved around the strategic game.   

Throwback: Alexandra's father taught her how to play chess when she was just six years old and continued to train her after she proved to be a natural talent

Throwback: Alexandra’s father taught her how to play chess when she was just six years old and continued to train her after she proved to be a natural talent  

Success: Alexandra, pictured with her father in 2013, was 15 when she won the US Girls National championship for females 18 and under

Success: Alexandra, pictured with her father in 2013, was 15 when she won the US Girls National championship for females 18 and under

‘When we traveled to events, we’d all be focused on our tournaments, and then after, we’d hang out with the same group of people,’ she told Insider. ‘It was a very unique experience.’ 

The influencer admitted that she has faced sexism as a female chess player since she started competing. 

‘Sometimes it’s the people who are your closest friends that think females are genetically worse at chess,’ she explained, saying she frequently hears condescending comments like, ‘You’re playing the girl, it’s an easy win.’ 

Alexandra has won a total of six national championships and holds the International Chess Federation title of Women’s FIDE Master. However, she’s more than just a talented chess player.  

The rising gaming star graduated from Stanford University in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in international relations. She made her mark at the university by becoming the first female president of Stanford’s chess club. 

Smart: Alexandra, pictured with her mother and sister, Andrea, at her high school graduation, attended college at Stanford University, where she continued to play chesss

Smart: Alexandra, pictured with her mother and sister, Andrea, at her high school graduation, attended college at Stanford University, where she continued to play chesss 

Brilliant: The rising gaming star, pictured with her mom, graduated from Stanford in 2017 with a bachelor's degree in international relations

Brilliant: The rising gaming star, pictured with her mom, graduated from Stanford in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in international relations

Alexandra also co-founded the now-defunct social media company CrowdAmp, which utilized artificial intelligence for more personalized communication, according to the New York Post. 

She was still a college student she started live-streaming chess on the gaming platform Twitch under her BotezLive account, which she runs with her 18-year-old sister, Andrea, who is also a chess player.  

After her startup went under in 2019, she decided to make a career out of streaming chess, a decision that was met with confusion by both her parents and some of her advisers. 

Looking for a fresh start that year, she moved to New York City and focused on streaming and producing content for chess.com.   

By the start of 2020, she had 61,000 fans on Twitch, but those numbers skyrocketed when the coronavirus pandemic hit. 

Family fun: Alexandra live-streams chess on the gaming platform Twitch under her BotezLive account, which she runs with her 18-year-old sister, Andrea, who is also a chess player

Family fun: Alexandra live-streams chess on the gaming platform Twitch under her BotezLive account, which she runs with her 18-year-old sister, Andrea, who is also a chess player

Blowing up: The sisters went from having 61,000 Twitch followers in January to nearly 500,000 by the end of the year.

Blowing up: The sisters went from having 61,000 Twitch followers in January to nearly 500,000 by the end of the year.  

Incredible: Alexandra and Andrea recently moved to Austin, Texas, and they're on the verge of signing with an agency that represents top e-sports athletes

Incredible: Alexandra and Andrea recently moved to Austin, Texas, and they’re on the verge of signing with an agency that represents top e-sports athletes

‘Chess exploded on Twitch, and I was one of the top streamers. I remember being so excited, I couldn’t sleep. I was so high on adrenaline,’ she told the New York Post. 

Alexandra recently moved to Austin, Texas, with her sister Andrea, who is taking a gap year after graduating from high school. They’re reportedly on the verge of signing with an agency that represents top e-sports athletes.    

Influencers and streamers earn money from subscription and advertising revenue as well as sponsorships, which can be extremely lucrative for rising stars like Alexandra. 

For example, gamer Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins is worth $25 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. The 28-year-old YouTuber is currently the number one streamer on Twitch with 16.5 million followers.  

Alexandra, who now has more than 469,000 followers on Twitch, got another boost in fans after the Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit premiered in October — prompting a number of comparisons to Beth, the show’s fictional chess star.     

She knows her stuff: Alexandra has won a total of six national championships and holds the International Chess Federation title of Women¿s FIDE Master

She knows her stuff: Alexandra has won a total of six national championships and holds the International Chess Federation title of Women’s FIDE Master

Fate: Between the pandemic and The Queen's Gambit, people's sudden interest in chess has thrust Alexandra into the spotlight more than ever before

Fate: Between the pandemic and The Queen’s Gambit, people’s sudden interest in chess has thrust Alexandra into the spotlight more than ever before

Influencer: The chess star now has more than 215,000 Instagram followers and close to 200,000 subscribers on her YouTube channel BotezLive

Influencer: The chess star now has more than 215,000 Instagram followers and close to 200,000 subscribers on her YouTube channel BotezLive

As a female chess player, she can personally relate to the sexism that Beth faced as well as the character’s hyper-focus. 

‘She’s totally engulfed in the chess world, it seems like nothing else exists except for these games, training, the community, and chess,’ she told Insider of Beth. ‘The way that is portrayed is extremely accurate.’ 

While Alexandra and the fictional character share similarities, including a passing resemblance, her personal life is far less dramatic. 

Based on a 1983 book of the same name by Walter Tevis, the show follows Beth (Anya Taylor-Joy), a chess prodigy and orphan from Kentucky, as she rises to the top of the chess world while battling drug and alcohol addictions during the 1950s and 1960s. 

The Queen’s Gambit has become the unexpected hit of lockdown as the seven-part series offers the escapism of glamorous locations — with tournaments in Las Vegas, Mexico City, and Paris — and the delights of the period fashions that play such a key role in the storytelling. 

Alexandra could relate to the sexism that Beth faced as a female chess player as well as the character’s hyper-focus. 

Fun: Alexandra recently played up her resemblance to Beth by donning a red wig for one of her live-streams to the delight of her fans, prompting her sister to joke: 'Wow which one is which

Fun: Alexandra recently played up her resemblance to Beth by donning a red wig for one of her live-streams to the delight of her fans, prompting her sister to joke: ‘Wow which one is which 

‘She’s totally engulfed in the chess world, it seems like nothing else exists except for these games, training, the community, and chess,’ she told Insider of Beth. ‘The way that is portrayed is extremely accurate.’  

Between the pandemic and the show, people’s sudden interest in chess has thrust Alexandra into the spotlight more than ever before. 

In addition to her nearly 500,000 followers on Twitch, she has more than 215,000 Instagram followers and close to 200,000 subscribers on her YouTube channel BotezLive.   

A few months ago, Alexandra played up her resemblance to Beth by donning a red wig for one of her live-streams. She tweeted side-by-side pictures of herself and the fictional character, writing: ‘I tried — live now as Beth Harmon.’

‘She really posted two pics of Beth like we wouldn’t notice,’ one person commented, while Alexandra’s sister jokingly asked: ‘Wow which one is which?’

‘I swear as soon as I saw the movie’s name I was like … wooohhh did just Netflix make a movie about Alexandra,’ someone else commented.  

The Queen’s Gambit: Surprise Netflix hit giving chess sex appeal

Netflix chess drama The Queen’s Gambit has become the unexpected hit of lockdown.

Anya Taylor-Joy plays Beth Harmon, a chess prodigy and orphan from Kentucky whose genius is never in doubt, but whose drug and alcohol addictions mean disaster is constantly stalking her — both on and off the board. 

As well as serious themes, the seven-part series offers the escapism of glamorous locations — with tournaments in Las Vegas, Mexico City, and Paris — and the delights of the period fashions of the 1950s and 1960s that play such a key role in the storytelling.

Based on a 1983 book The Queen’s Gambit by Walter Tevis, the show chronicles how Beth is brought to live at the Methuen Home for Girls after her mother, a math professor, kills herself. 

At the orphanage, the children are given tranquilizer pills, and Beth, aged eight, becomes hooked on the drug.

She also starts to play chess, taught by the janitor Mr. Shaibel — working out how the pieces and visualizing strategies on the ceiling while others sleep.

At 13, she is adopted by Alma and Allston Wheatley and starts to play in male-dominated tournaments across America, and later the world.

Red hot! Anya Taylor-Joy as chess prodigy Beth Harmon in The Queen's Gambit, which is a popular drama on Netflix

Red hot! Anya Taylor-Joy as chess prodigy Beth Harmon in The Queen’s Gambit, which is a popular drama on Netflix




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