Adorable cat bot credited with a huge spike in players for leading chess website

Chess
(Image credit: Chess.com)

Players of one of the biggest online chess sites have had to deal with server issues due to a massive increase in players, and some suspect that a new kitten chess bot is to blame.

As reported by the Chess.com Twitter account earlier today, the site saw a traffic increase of 60% and double the amount of new players than was seen at the height of the COVID-19 lockdown. There's no clear reason why the site has had such a sharp increase but, as the tweet says: "The game we all love is alive, well, and flourishing."

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There are some theories as to why the online Chess site has surged in popularity recently though. One theory is that it could be down to YouTuber Ludwig's recent chess boxing tournament last month. The event saw content creators from all over the world take part in a match that saw contestants alternating between a game of chess and a few rounds in the boxing ring. Similarly to this, several people in the replies to the tweet have pointed out that chess-specific YouTuber GothamChess (opens in new tab)' videos are what got many people into the game. 

My favorite theory though is that the increase is due to a new chess bot that was recently added to the game. According to several of the replies in the Twitter thread, a new cat bot called Mittens was recently added to the site's AI roster, and as well as being adorable, she's apparently a worthy opponent. To make it even better, when you play against the feline foe, she'll say things like "Meow. I am Mittens, the destroyer of kings. Hehehe" and "I am inevitable. I am forever. Meow. Hehehehe."

Looking for something else to play? Find out what we've got to look forward to with our new games 2023 list.  

Hope Bellingham
News Writer

After studying Film Studies and Creative Writing at university, I was lucky enough to land a job as an intern at Player Two PR where I helped to release a number of indie titles. I then got even luckier when I became a Trainee News Writer at GamesRadar+ before being promoted to a fully-fledged News Writer after a year and a half of training.  My expertise lies in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, cozy indies, and The Last of Us, but especially in the Kingdom Hearts series. I'm also known to write about the odd Korean drama for the Entertainment team every now and then.