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GothamChess, whose real name is Levy Rozman, is a prominent chess streamer, YouTuber, and International Master from the United States. Born on December 5, 1995, in Brooklyn, New York, Rozman has become a leading figure in the online chess community. His educational background includes a degree from Fordham University. Rozman's passion for chess began at a young age, and he achieved the title of International Master in 2018. His online alias, GothamChess, is a nod to his New York City roots, with "Gotham" being a famous nickname for NYC. GothamChess is best known for his engaging and educational content, which includes game analysis, instructional videos, and live streams of chess matches. Through his YouTube channel and Twitch stream, he has amassed a large following, making chess accessible and entertaining to a wide audience. His approachable style and deep understanding of the game have contributed significantly to the growing popularity of chess online.

Books Mentioned in this Podcast with GothamChess:

Unraveling the Intricacies of Chess with GothamChess: Insights from Lex Fridman Podcast #327

In an engaging episode of the Lex Fridman Podcast, #327, Levy Rozman, better known by his online moniker GothamChess, delves into the fascinating world of chess, discussing everything from the nuances of the game, the impact of technology, to the controversies that have rocked the chess community. The conversation is a rich tapestry that weaves together humor, expertise, and candid reflections, offering listeners a comprehensive look at modern chess.

A Humorous Start: Anal Beads and Bluetooth

The podcast kicks off with an unexpectedly humorous note, as Levy jests about using anal beads to communicate with the chess engine Stockfish via Bluetooth. This light-hearted moment sets the stage for a conversation that, while deep and technical, remains accessible and engaging throughout. It’s a reminder of the playful side of chess, a game often stereotyped as overly serious.

The Dark Side of Chess: Cheating and Controversy

The discussion quickly takes a turn towards the more serious topic of cheating in chess. Levy reflects on the infamous scandal involving Hans Niemann and Magnus Carlsen, shedding light on the complexities of proving dishonesty in such an intellectually demanding sport. The conversation underscores the profound impact of cheating allegations on the community, illustrating the delicate balance between competitiveness and integrity in chess.

Chess Platforms: vs. Lichess

Levy offers an insightful comparison between two titans of online chess: and Lichess. He details the distinct approaches of each platform to user engagement, educational content, and community building., with its tiered memberships and comprehensive training tools, contrasts with Lichess’s open-source, donation-driven model. This segment highlights the diverse ecosystems within online chess, each catering to different facets of the player’s journey.

The Educational Power of Chess

Drawing on his extensive experience as a chess educator, Levy discusses the key components of chess mastery, from understanding endgames to strategic piece deployment. He emphasizes the importance of a solid grasp on the theoretical and practical aspects of the game, offering advice for players seeking to elevate their skills. The conversation also touches on the psychological elements of chess, exploring how mental resilience and focus are critical to success.

Technology’s Role in Chess Evolution

The podcast delves into the role of technology in transforming chess into a digital spectacle. Levy and Lex discuss the use of chess engines like Stockfish for game analysis and training, contemplating the future of chess as an esport. They explore how online platforms and technological advancements have democratized access to chess education, making it easier than ever for players to improve and compete.

Navigating the Complexities of Online Interaction: A Creator’s Insight

In an era where the line between virtual and real interactions is increasingly blurred, creators like Gotham Chess find themselves navigating a complex landscape. The intersection of social media, direct messaging, and the relentless flow of notifications has transformed how we engage with our audience and with each other. Gotham Chess’s experiences offer a window into this evolving dynamic, illustrating both its challenges and its unforeseen opportunities.

The Double-Edged Sword of Online Presence

For creators, the online world is a stage that never dims. Every live broadcast, every post, and every interaction holds the potential to be magnified, scrutinized, and sometimes, misinterpreted. Gotham Chess candidly shares instances where moments of sarcasm or jest were taken out of context, highlighting the delicate balance creators must strike between authenticity and the potential for unintended harm. This digital tightrope acts as a constant reminder of the impact words can have, especially when stripped of the nuances of face-to-face communication.

The Weight of Words: Lessons Learned

Through his journey, Gotham Chess has encountered the dual nature of online visibility. On one hand, it offers a platform to connect, share, and engage with a global audience. On the other, it exposes creators to the volatility of public perception and the rapid spread of misinformation. These experiences have been educational, fostering a deeper understanding of the power dynamics at play within digital communities and the importance of thoughtful communication.

The Quest for Control in an Unpredictable Narrative

One of the most significant challenges faced by online figures is the struggle to maintain control over their narrative. Gotham Chess discusses the frustration of being misunderstood or misrepresented, a sentiment echoed by many in the public eye. This battle for narrative control is not unique to the digital age, but the speed and scale at which information spreads online magnify its effects. The desire to correct misconceptions is a natural response, yet it often feels like an uphill battle against a tide of viral content.

The Human Cost of Digital Fame

Behind the screen, creators are individuals navigating their personal journeys, facing their own battles. Gotham Chess’s reflections on the consequences of online fame shed light on the often-overlooked human aspect of digital celebrity. The pressure to constantly perform, the fear of missteps becoming viral scandals, and the challenge of managing public perception are just a few of the hurdles that come with the territory. These experiences underscore the need for a supportive and understanding community, both online and off.

Reflections on Mortality and the Digital Legacy

In a poignant turn, Gotham Chess touches on the existential reflections that accompany life in the public eye. The realization of life’s impermanence, coupled with the transient nature of online fame, prompts a deeper contemplation of legacy and the marks we leave on the world. This introspection reveals a universal truth: regardless of our online persona, we are all human, seeking connection, understanding, and a sense of purpose in an ever-changing digital landscape.


Gotham Chess’s journey through the realms of social media and online interaction offers valuable insights into the complexities of digital fame. It serves as a reminder of the power of words, the importance of narrative control, and the human experience underlying every online persona. As we navigate our own digital paths, these reflections encourage us to approach online interactions with empathy, understanding, and a greater awareness of the impact we can have on others, both online and beyond.

Unraveling the Complex World of Chess: Insights from Gotham Chess on Lex Fridman Podcast #327

The Psychology of Power and Cheating in Chess

In a fascinating exchange, Gotham Chess (Levy Rozman) delves into the psychological aspects of power, comparing the allure of control in criminal minds to the subtle yet addictive sense of victory and dominance in chess. This discussion transitions smoothly into the contentious topic of cheating in chess, especially in high-stakes games. Levy explores the intricate balance between the intellectual challenge and the ethical boundaries that chess players navigate, drawing parallels to broader human behaviors.

The Hans Niemann Controversy: A Deep Dive

The conversation takes a serious turn as Levy and Lex dissect the controversy surrounding Hans Niemann’s alleged cheating against Magnus Carlsen at the St. Louis tournament. Levy articulates the complexities of proving guilt in chess, highlighting the nuances of player psychology and performance under pressure. The discussion underscores the difficulty of distinguishing between genuine talent and unfair advantage, reflecting on Magnus Carlsen’s public withdrawal from the tournament and his subsequent statements regarding cheating in chess.

The Evolution of Chess in the Age of AI

Levy discusses the revolutionary impact of AI on chess, sharing his experiences with advanced chess bots and their almost unfathomable capabilities. He contrasts the predictable yet bizarre behavior of lower-level bots with the sophisticated strategy of higher-level AI, illustrating the gap between human intuition and machine precision. This segment sheds light on the future of chess as an evolving landscape where AI continues to redefine the parameters of skill and strategy.

Human vs. Machine: The Blurring Lines in Chess

Addressing a question from Reddit, Levy explores what defines a “human” move in chess versus an “engine” move. He describes how AI, through platforms like AlphaZero and Stockfish, has challenged traditional chess strategies, introducing moves that defy human logic yet prove effective on the board. This conversation raises important questions about the future of chess education and competition, pondering whether a new generation of players trained on AI insights will transcend the current understanding of the game.

The Role of Personality and Public Perception in Chess

Levy touches upon his public persona and the perception of his content within the chess community. He discusses the challenges of balancing educational content with entertainment, navigating the YouTube algorithm, and engaging with his audience. This candid reflection offers a glimpse into the personal side of being a prominent figure in the online chess world, highlighting the delicate balance between authenticity and the demands of digital fame.

The Future of Chess: Entertainment, Education, and Ethics

In concluding the podcast, Levy and Lex contemplate the future of chess as both a sport and a spectacle. They discuss the potential of formats like chess boxing as entertainment that also tests the physical and mental limits of players. Moreover, they ponder the ethical considerations of technology in chess, particularly concerning cheating and the integrity of the game. This thoughtful discourse encapsulates the multifaceted nature of chess in the modern era, emphasizing its continued relevance and evolving challenges.


Gotham Chess’s appearance on Lex Fridman’s podcast #327 offers a rich tapestry of insights into the world of chess, from the psychological aspects of competition to the ethical dilemmas posed by technology. Through engaging dialogue, Levy Rozman shares his deep understanding of the game, its community, and its future, inviting listeners to appreciate the complex beauty of chess in the age of AI and beyond.