PogChamps 2: itshafu, TSM_Zexrow Qualify For Semifinals
itshafu overcomes fear and Forsen!

PogChamps 2: itshafu, TSM_Zexrow Qualify For Semifinals

42 | Chess Event Coverage

In the final two quarterfinal matches in PogChamps 2, itshafu and TSM_Zexrow grabbed the remaining slots in the semifinals that begin tomorrow, September 5. itshafu overcame Forsen, a fearsome foe, in a tense match with plenty of high drama while TSM_Zexrow defeated AustinShow in a match with a surprise finish.

PogChamps 2, Semifinal Bracket

    Make sure to tune into's daily coverage of the 2020 PogChamps at 11:45 p.m. Pacific (20:45 Central Europe) on The complete show archives are available on and

    itshafu Overcomes Fear And Forsen

    Before and after today's match, itshafu shared her emotions with the #pogchamps audience, tweeting out her apprehension before the show and saying afterward, "Honestly, I feel sick every time I play ... in the stressful matches, I feel physically ill."

    As an experienced competitor and champion, even Hafu couldn't explain her nerves when playing chess: "I never feel this way competing in anything else. I don't know why I feel so much pressure in this."

    Despite her nerves, itshafu played excellent chess move after move against Forsen, impressing the commentators and Forsen who said she had made just one blunder all match.

    The first game was suddenly decided by a Botez Gambit as Forsen dropped his queen to g5, only for hafu to snap it up.

    The second game was, however, a wild and thrilling affair in which Forsen attacked relentlessly and was rewarded with a Ne5-f7 fork that won material. Still, the path to winning was not simple, and hafu made excellent use of her remaining pieces and strong d-pawn to turn the tide and claim a second victory. With victory achieved, hafu's nerves melted away, to be replaced by the joy of success.

    With the match victory, hafu advances to play TFBlade in the semifinal. Should she and her fiance dogdog both win their matches, they will play in the finals.

    TSM_Zexrow Plays Throbbing Mate Against AustinShow

    TSM_Zexrow was widely considered a heavy favorite against AustinShow, but Austin held his own in game one with excellent opening play. At one point, after a curious Nf6+? move, Austin could have gained a piece and a strong position. Having missed the strongest idea, he then overplayed his hand and sacrificed a bishop, possibly missing that he had just closed his f-file and couldn't play a discovered check. Still, the game was a solid effort that Austin deemed,"the first game of chess that I actually felt that I was ... in the game."

    In the second game, TSM_Zexrow showed that he had been watching the original PogChamps and knew his chess classics—xQc vs. MoistCr1tikal, 2020. Zexrow played for the "throbbing" mate and succeeded by forcing Austin's knight away from f3 with g5-g4, achieving checkmate on f2.

    Austin was an excellent sport after the match, saying, "I didn't even know you could lose a game that quickly!" He was surprised by the mate and commented: "Every time a game ends, I'm like shocked."

    TSM_Zexrow is advancing to face easywithaces in the semifinal. That match seems very balanced and is sure to be extremely exciting and competitive.

    Make sure to tune into's daily coverage of the 2020 PogChamps at 11:45 a.m. Pacific (20:45 Central Europe) on

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