PogChamps 3: Pokimane Refutes Negreanu's Englund Gambit

PogChamps 3: Pokimane Refutes Negreanu's Englund Gambit

PedroPinhata
PedroPinhata
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56 | Chess Event Coverage

After 2020, many wondered if there was any way for chess to get bigger. If there's anything that the first day of PogChamps 3 showed us, it's that there's no stopping the chess world! Sunday's broadcast shattered Twitch's chess viewership record and had over 115,000 concurrent viewers across all platforms.

On the first day of the tournament, Sardoche defeated Neeko, who was surprisingly resilient despite their rating gap. Daniel Negreanu bested Pokimane, and BenjyFishy defeated Myth in the last match of the day.

Make sure to tune into Chess.com's daily coverage of PogChamps 3 presented by Grip6 at 11:45 a.m. Pacific (20:45 Central Europe) on Chess.com/tv, with expert commentary by GM Hikaru Nakamura, IM Danny Rensch, and more.

Sardoche Defeats Underrated Neeko

The highest-rated player in the field, Sardoche, showed he's no boomer and defeated Neeko in the first match of the day. However, the American content creator from 100 Thieves did not go down without a fight—she even had a better CAPS score in their second game.

During the first game, Neeko had a better position out of the opening. She even had the opportunity to win Sardoche's bishop but missed it due to her opponent's pressure down the h-file. Neeko finally broke and blundered her knight, making it easier for Sardoche to score the first point.

PogChamps 3 - Neeko blunders.
Neeko blundered her knight after playing a good game against Sardoche.

In their second game, Neeko blitzed out an aggressive attack on Sardoche's kingside. The French streamer was clearly uneasy facing his underrated opponent. An unclear position appeared on the board, then Sardoche found a beautiful pseudo-rook sacrifice tactic to win material.

Amazingly enough, that was not the end of it. Neeko managed to equalize the position after Sardoche blundered multiple pieces back. The French streamer went down to only a pawn and a knight against Neeko's knight, and the game ended in a draw.

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Negreanu Pulls Out Victory Versus Pokimane

Daniel Negreanu won a wild match against Pokimane. Just like in the first match of the day, the higher-rated Negreanu had a tough time beating his underdog opponent.

Daniel put all his chips on the table and started the first game with the Englund Gambit—a double-edged opening. However, he was not counting on the good work done by IM Anna Rudolf and some stellar offline prep by GM Robert Hess to prepare their student for the match. Pokimane did not fold and went for Negreanu's throat, winning the exchange in a few moves.

PogChamps 3
Daniel can't keep his poker face after Pokimane's powerful opening play.

Daniel kept his cool and was able to win back some material and put pressure on Poki's kingside. His bishop pair and connected passed pawns were too much for Pokimane to handle. The lack of a clear plan took its toll on Pokimane, and her position fell apart.

Both players decided to slow down in their second battle. Pokimane once more got an edge in the opening, but Negreanu was able to outplay her during the middlegame. Poki's destiny was sealed after she blundered her knight.

The game progressed with Daniel playing it safe to capitalize on his advantage. However, his risk-free approach caused him to miss a winning tactic. Can you see the move he should've played? Try to win the game against the computer!

PogChamps 3 Day 1 Daniel Negreanu tactic
Daniel Negreanu had a winning tactic in this position.

The rest of the game was a smooth ride for the poker player. His material and time advantage was too overwhelming for Pokimane. She let her time run out as she had a hopeless position.

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Benjyfishy Wins Against Myth

Trash talk preceded the last match of the day as Myth took several jabs at his Fortnite rival, Benjyfishy. Benjy, on the other hand, preferred the quiet approach of responding over the board.

The rating gap between both players was once more misleading. Even though Benjy had 775 more rating points than his opponent, he had to work hard to win the match.

The first game was a wild rollercoaster ride, with Myth winning an exchange in the early middlegame. Benjy kept his cool composure and provoked a bad move by his opponent. He then equalized the material and won the exchange back just a few moves later. 

Benjy demonstrated he would have no problem converting the position. The 16-year-old won the game and got ahead in the match.

PogChamps 3 Day 1.
Myth was better during the first game after spotting a fork but lost anyway.

The second game was a quiet maneuvering game. Benjy shone through at the end when he beautifully punished Myth's mistake. Benjyfishy had no trouble converting his sizable advantage and secured the match victory.

In his postgame interview, Benjy mentioned that he has been taking his preparation with GM Jon Ludwig Hammer seriously and wants to be good enough to defeat one of the pre-tournament favorites Sardoche:

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Make sure to tune into Chess.com's daily coverage of PogChamps 3 presented by Grip6 at 12:05 a.m. Pacific (21:05 Central Europe) on Chess.com/tv.


GRIP6 is an American manufacturing company dedicated to making the best belts, wallets, and wool socks. Visit GRIP6.com/PogChamps to enter into the ultimate PogChamps giveaway. GRIP6, Built to wear, not to wear out.

As Guayakí celebrates 25 years of regenerative yerba mate, they want to thank YOU for being a part of their mission achievement to steward and restore over 200,000 acres of rainforest by sharing cases during PogChamps 3. Come To Life at Guayaki.com/chess.


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