Favorites hafthorjulius, WagamamaTV, itshafu Win, Advance To Championship Bracket
Some of the strongest competitors of PogChamps played on Sunday.

Favorites hafthorjulius, WagamamaTV, itshafu Win, Advance To Championship Bracket

PedroPinhata
PedroPinhata
|
15 | Chess Event Coverage

A thrilling day of PogChamps unfolded on Sunday as some of the event's top competitors won their matches and secured their place in the championship bracket.

hafthorjulius brought home the victory against ConnorEatsPants, WagamamaTV prevailed with his solid chess against AustinShow, and Hafu showed great endgame precision to win her match against xQc.

Make sure to tune into Chess.com's daily coverage of the 2020 Chess.com PogChamps at 12:45 p.m. Pacific (21:45 p.m. Central Europe) on Chess.com/tv. The complete show archives are available on twitch.tv/chess and youtube.com/chess.


hafthorjulius vs. ConnorEatsPants

The first match of the day showed us that ConnorEatsPants worked on his game over the last few days, as he displayed clear signs of improvement. Still, hafthorjulius was focused and ready to go for the kill, winning the match comfortably.

Thor started with an Italian Opening, and Connor tried to mimic his every move. Unfortunately for Connor, Thor found a way to profit from his tempo advantage as White and cashed in a clean rook right from the get-go.

Both players quickly exchanged the queens, and after Connor blundered most of his pieces, hafthorjulius built up the pressure against the black king. Thor eventually found a beautiful checkmate using his rook and minor pieces to win the day's first game.

PogChamps 2
The Mountain mates.

The second game started with ConnorEatsPants venturing into an e4-opening, which deviates from his usual playing style. White had a clear advantage out of the opening as Thor accidentally put his bishop where it could be trapped.

Unfortunately for Connor, he missed the chance to win the bishop. Instead, he ended up exchanging a bishop and a knight for a rook and a pawn.

After the dust had settled, Thor was able to open up the position and force White to leave his king stranded in the middle of the board. With an easy target and very active pieces, hafthor had an easy game. Connor blundered his pieces one by one and was eventually checkmated by Thor, who won the game and secured his place in the championship bracket.

In their post-game interview, Thor mentioned that while it was nice to win the match, he still has to improve a lot. "Overall, obviously I'm super happy, a win is a win. But I did some blunders. When I blunder like that, it does annoy me."

When asked about his improvement, Connor said that his pre-game prep with Chess.com's interactive lessons helped him. "I clicked the Lessons page on the chess thing, and then the voice started teaching me how to open the game."

WagamamaTV vs. AustinShow

AustinShow was another player who showed significant improvement as he faced the highest-rated player of the group, WagamamaTV. The rating disparity proved to be too much for Austin, though, and Wagamama had no trouble winning both games and the match.

The first game started with a solid opening by WagamamaTV, who had the white pieces. AustinShow was very satisfied when he was able to castle successfully, an improvement over one of his previous appearances on PogChamps.

Sadly, castling was just too risky for Austin since he had previously overextended his g-pawn. WagamamaTV took the hanging black pawn and started to harass the black king. Austin made Wagamama's job easier as he blundered a piece and helped White open the h-file. After that, it did not take too long for Wagamama to deliver a checkmate and take the lead.

PogChamps 2
WagamamaTV was both surprised and happy with AustinShow's blunder.

During their second game, Austin played a sound opening. He soon entered a complicated line that would have left him a pawn up, but he missed the crucial last move and lost a minor piece.

Still, Austin was playing a solid game and finding good moves until he blundered his queen. After that, WagamamaTV had no trouble converting his advantage and checkmating the white king to win the match. With hafthorjulius, Wagamama moves on to the championship bracket.

In their post-game interview, WagamamaTV thanked his coaches for their dedication. AustinShow stated that he was happy with his improvement, despite losing the match. "The second game I was actually able to move around a little bit without making too many errors," he said. "Good progress, I thought."

Group B Standings

PogChamps 2 Group D Standings.

itshafu vs. xQc

itshafu demonstrated why she is among the favorites to win the second PogChamps after showing her overall superiority over xQc. Even though she was tormented by ghosts that did not exist during her second game, she won a clean match.

The first game started aggressively, with Hafu going for the Knight Attack variation of the Italian Opening. xQc found the right defensive idea but erred soon afterward, allowing Hafu to enter the Fried Liver Attack.

Hafu, however, missed the chance to play the thematic knight sacrifice. She later admitted that she "started studying the Fried Liver but didn't get too deep." Hafu then blundered, but xQc missed the chance to take advantage of it.

PogChamps 2
itshafu missed the chance to play the Fried Liver Attack.

After all that action, itshafu was a piece up and found a way to solidify the position. She had no trouble building her advantage to get into an endgame where she had two queens against the lonely black king. Fortunately for her fans, Hafu denied xQc's draw offer and went on to checkmate him.

In their second game, Hafu played the French Defense. xQc surprised everyone by playing a weird-looking but oddly sound variation that has even been played by Henry Bird, the legendary English player.

PogChamps 2.
Could xQc be studying the games of great players of the past to prepare for his matches?

xQc kept up the pressure, and Hafu seemed intimidated with his off-beat but aggressive play. She felt like she had all her pieces tied down, even though the position was completely balanced.

Hafu caved to the pressure and traded the queens to alleviate her stress. She entered an endgame where she was a pawn up but had a worse pawn structure and development.

Hafu's endgame precision paid off in the long run, though. She managed to fix her pawn structure and make xQc commit to a defensive role. She munched on his pawns on the queenside and created a set of dangerous connected and passed pawns.

xQc showed that he was not willing to go down without a fight. He created counterplay on the kingside, getting passed pawns of his own. As the time pressure mounted for both sides, the game seemed unclear until xQc went for a rook sacrifice that proved ineffective.

Hafu was then able to stop xQc's pawn and make way for her pawns but decided to give her opponent the draw he wanted so badly in their first game. Even with the second game ending in a tie, Hafu still won the match and moved on to the championship bracket.

Group B Standings

PogChamps 2 Group B Standings.

PogChamps Brackets

PogChamps 2 brackets.

Make sure to tune into Chess.com's daily coverage of the 2020 Chess.com PogChamps at 12:45 p.m. Pacific (21:45 p.m. Central Europe) on Chess.com/tv.


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