itshafu, WagamamaTV Take Group Leads, Hafthorjulius Moves To Group 2nd
Hafthorjulius defeated AustinShow and moved into second place in group D.

itshafu, WagamamaTV Take Group Leads, Hafthorjulius Moves To Group 2nd

ColinStapczynski
ColinStapczynski
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13 | Chess Event Coverage

Round two of the group stage continued in PogChamps on Wednesday, with group B and group D in the spotlight. The audience was treated to some entertaining and mind-bending chess. 

Tuesday's action saw Hafthorjulius defeat AustinShow and move into second place in group D. itshafu showed impressive technique while defeating easywithaces and has clinched a spot in the championship bracket while taking the sole lead in group B. WagamamaTV defeated the birthday boy, ConnorEatsPants, to take the lead in group D while simultaneously punching his own ticket to the championship bracket.

Make sure to tune into Chess.com's daily coverage of the 2020 Chess.com PogChamps on Thursday, August 27 at 1:45 p.m. Pacific (22:45 p.m. Central Europe) on Chess.com/tv. The complete show archives are available on twitch.tv/chess and youtube.com/chess.

Hafthorjulius Convincingly Defeats AustinShow

Hafthorjulius was the clear favorite heading into the match, according to their ratings, and he came out swinging in game one—a scary mental picture for AustinShow (or anyone, for that matter). Austin had some chances early in the game but then fell apart. Thor was very relaxed after taking the advantage, he even snacked on some delicious-looking food as he munched up Austin's pieces:

Thor captured everything except for three pawns before checkmating Austin.

Game two was just as one-sided, although Austin resisted a little longer despite having a tough time figuring out how to castle. The mountain's patient approach paid off again as he simply developed his pieces and waited for his chance. Austin hung a rook and then a queen in subsequent moves, which Thor capitalized on—His pieces swarmed Austin's king and checkmate was delivered.

Thor was humble and had nothing but nice things to say in the post-match interview: 

Hafthorjulius earned his first victory in PogChamps and has moved into second place in Group D. Austin will face the highest-rated player in the event, WagamamaTV, in the final round of group play on Sunday, August 30.

itshafu Plays Impressively While Beating easywithaces 

The highly-anticipated match between itshafu and easywithaces did not disappoint. These two faced off to see who would be the group B leader heading into the final round of group play. In game one, hafu seemed very prepared for easy's Caro-Kann Defense. They both played strong moves in the opening with incredible speed. hafu made the first error, and easy snagged a pawn right after the opening. 

itshafu created a mating threat, but easy defended well in the middlegame and maintained his material advantage. After many exchanges, easy had a better pawn structure and was up a pawn in the heavy-piece endgame. As soon as commentator GM Daniel Naroditsky dubbed this game as one of the most "high-quality" games in all of PogChamps, this happened:

After easy's mistake, hafu stayed focused and brought home the full point while displaying strong technique.

In game two, we saw a queen's pawn opening from easy and hafu responded well with the Baltic Defense—Both players rocked the opening phases in this match like strong veteran club players. hafu hung her d5-pawn, but easy missed it and then hung his g-pawn. She kept the pressure like a pro, winning multiple pawns and then a bishop before delivering checkmate.

easywithaces was positive and upbeat during the post-match interview, praising itshafu's play. itshafu was happy and humble, but said she was afraid of xQc being mean to her in their next match:

With this win, itshafu keeps her undefeated streak alive at 4-0 and takes the sole lead in the group B standings. She clinched a spot in the championship bracket, but if she keeps up her impressive play, she will be one of the frontrunners to win the entire event.

Group B StandingsPogChamps

WagamamaTV 2-0s ConnorEatsPants

WagamamaTV and ConnorEatsPants were both tied for the lead in group D heading into this match, which happened to be played on Connor's 21st birthday. Wagamama is the highest-rated player in the tournament, and he backed it up with his play today.

In game one, Connor tried the unorthodox 2...b5 against Wagamama's London system. Connor lost his rook pretty early and then his knight. It seemed like Wagamama was going to coast to victory, but a tactical sequence occurred with mutual blunders. Once the dust settled, Wagamama was simply up a queen and knight and won easily. Immediately after being checkmated, Connor cracked open a White Claw:

Connor continued his strange opening play in game two. He sacrificed both knights but didn't acquire any real compensation. The birthday boy followed this up by putting both of his rooks en prise, and Wagamama delivered checkmate. It is worth noting that Wagamama sported a 96.6% CAPS score in this second game.

With this win, WagamamaTV took the sole lead in group D and earned a spot in the championship bracket. 

Group D Standings

PogChamps

Make sure to tune into Chess.com's daily coverage of the 2020 Chess.com PogChamps on Thursday, August 27 at 1:45 p.m. Pacific (22:45 p.m. Central Europe) on Chess.com/tv.


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