Night now has a chess master on its roster.
Levy Rozman, an International Master and the man behind YouTube‘s most-subscribed-to chess channel, GothamChess, has signed with the Austin- and Los Angeles-based management company for representation in all areas.
Rozman, who’s 27 and based in New York City, has been playing chess since he was five years old.
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“My parents had to sign me up for some after-school classes,” he tells Tubefilter. “It was a big argument because I liked to draw, like most kids, so my dad was like, ‘We should put him into art class because it’ll keep him occupied.’ My mom was like, ‘Well, he should play chess,’ because both sides of our family were originally from the former Soviet Union. Chess is part of a kid’s upbringing there. It has benefits for the brain, or whatever.”
Rozman’s mother won, he entered chess classes, and it “stuck,” he says. “I played my first tournament when I was seven years old and that was it. It was like the one thing that I did my whole life.”
He became an International Master in 2018 and was tutoring chess when the COVID pandemic hit. With in-person instruction shut down, he turned to the internet, and started a YouTube channel, GothamChess, where he taught various chess strategies. That channel got a major traffic boost from Netflix‘s 2020 hit The Queen’s Gambit, which follows a fictional female chess prodigy.
“That was a crazy period,” Rozman says. “The Queen’s Gambit came out, and people would watch the trailer. Then in the sidebar, it would say, ‘How to play the Queen’s Gambit.’ My video. Just because of the algorithm.”
Rozman’s channel went from around 100,000 lifetime views to a million in 48 hours, he says.
Now, it has over a billion views–and nearly 4 million subscribers.
Rozman already has a book coming out in October, and with Night, he hopes to keep expanding into other multimedia projects.
“I would love to put on either a chess Grandmaster or just regular Twitch, YouTube, TikTok streamers, a big elimination-style thing, like spend a lot of money on a production studio,” he says. “I think in general working with Night has opened, not just so many doors, but there’s just so many options to do different cool projects. You’re working with a group of people who you can completely trust.”
Rozman adds that “in 2023 and 2024, I really want to pivot from being just funny-man-behind-camera-who-talks-about-chess to getting out there, meeting other creators, getting a bit more into the face-to-face ecosystem.”
“Just building longevity,” he says. “Because at some point, this will probably drive me nuts, if I just have to sit in a room and make different types of chess content.”
“GothamChess combines creativity, wit, and the ability to communicate the game of chess in a way that makes it approachable for all,” Reed Duchscher, Night’s founder and CEO, tells Tubefilter. “Levy has amassed more than 1.4 billion views on his main channel alone, earning him a reputation as the internet’s chess teacher. Together with the Night team, we will continue to elevate his brand to new heights in one of the internet’s hottest categories.”