A Chess Lover Helps People Learn the Game Online

Macauley Peterson ’01 helped launch chess24.com, which has live-streaming of professional matches, video lessons, and interactive online chess play.
Macauley Peterson ’01 helped launch chess24.com, which has live-streaming of professional matches, video lessons, and interactive online chess play.
Janis Nisii

Résumé: Philosophy major. President of the Princeton Chess Club. Writer for Chess Life. Content director of chess24.com.

Macauley Peterson ’01 began playing chess in kindergarten at New York City’s Hunter College Elementary School, where weekly classes were mandatory for even the youngest students. “Chess was always my primary sport. We had no football team, and I would not have made it anyway if we did,” he recalls. Though he never turned professional, Peterson stuck with the game: He led the Princeton chess club, played in intercollegiate matches, and returned to Hunter to coach chess.

Next, Peterson became a chess journalist, traveling to matches all over the world and writing about them for Chess Life and other publications. After earning a master’s degree in film from the University of Amsterdam in 2007, Peterson helped launch chess24.com, a website where amateurs and professionals can play, learn, watch, and read about chess.

The Hamburg, Germany-based site has content in English, Spanish, and German and includes live-streaming of professional matches, video lessons for users, news, and interactive online chess play. Chess is an ideal game to watch online, Peterson says, “because you can introduce features to get inside the heads of players” such as professional commentary and live chats. The site is free; a premium membership costs about $120. Since its founding in 2014, the site has attracted 100,000 registered users.

Peterson loves chess because it “pushes all the same buttons as other sports — the adrenaline, the endorphin release when you win,” he says. It also is egalitarian. “You’re just matching wits with one other person. Size and strength don’t matter. You can have a 6-year-old playing someone who’s 80.”