Plot Twists, Tiebreaks, And Cartwheels: CDawgVA And Ghastly Prevail

Plot Twists, Tiebreaks, And Cartwheels: CDawgVA And Ghastly Prevail

| 13 | Chess Event Coverage

What a day it was for PogChamps 5. After two thrilling matches filled with plot twists and drama, I should probably consult with a heart doctor just to be safe. 

Today, it was the CDawg from Virginia who won his match against Jarvis in the tiebreaks to claim first place in his group. Ghastly followed suit to take the group lead, also winning his match against Sapnap in the tiebreaks. 

PogChamps 5 continues Friday, July 28, starting at 4 p.m. ET/22:00 CEST.

How to watch PogChamps 5

PogChamps 5 games, schedule, and all the details can be found here as part of our live events platform. 

Live commentary provided by IM Levy Rozman and GM Aman Hambleton.


CDawgVA 2-1 Jarvis

As the day's first match was about to start, it was impossible to predict what was about to happen. On one side, one of the highest-rated players in the field, CDawgVA, was coming in hot after winning his match the previous day. You could clearly see he was energized and hyped up for his match:

Against him was Jarvis, the man with no rating. A man with no history, a man with no past. Legend has it that he played in High School—almost two decades ago. But no one really knows his true strength, not even Jarvis himself. 

The first game started with both players busting out excellent moves. As Chess24 pointed out, they were even following a 2022 game between top players GMs Vidit Gujrati and Nihal Sarin:

Until they didn't anymore.

And CDawg had no trouble converting after getting such a massive material advantage.

But then, there was the second game. Oh, the second game. For generations to come, men will sing about what Jarvis Johnson has done in that game. 

Jarvis took advantage of CDawg's adventurous opening choice of bringing his queen out too early. A few moves later and Jarvis was holding his opponent's king hostage, on top of having a considerable material advantage.

However, we're not talking about an ordinary chess event. Jarvis later blundered his material advantage away and got into a worse position. Worse yet, he had less than a minute on his clock. But this is Jarvis Johnson we're talking about. Just as his clock was about to hit 0, Jarvis found a beautiful tactic to regain the material advantage and enter a winning endgame.  

And the rest was history. The man could barely contain his excitement.

Taking us into the first tiebreaker of PogChamps 5.

Jarvis once more played like a chess god, winning a knight in the early middle game and getting a winning position. Sadly, it's not easy to play blitz when you're used to playing rapid—and even harder when you're not used to playing chess at all. Jarvis eventually flagged, letting CDawgVA escape with the match victory.

Ghastly 2.5-1.5 Sapnap

"That was crazy! That was so scary!" When you hear a 33-year-old man screaming this after playing a chess match, you have to wonder what happened. These were Ghastly's celebratory words after he beat Sapnap to climb to the top of his group's standings.

Watching the first game, you'd have thought that the mighty Ghastly would just steamroll his opponent. Sapnap played a few unfortunate opening mistakes and lost considerable material, and Ghastly showed no mercy. Sapnap later resigned in a terrible position.

The second game was a much more balanced affair, with both players having multiple chances throughout. But it seemed like Ghastly had the upper hand after Sapnap blundered a bishop, leaving his coach Levy Rozman heartbroken.

However, Sapnap wasn't going down without a fight. After throwing all his pieces in the direction of Ghastly's king, Sapnap created serious counterplay of his own. With both kings just moves away from getting mated, it was Sapnap who delivered the final blow, winning the game and tying the match.

Insanity ensued as the players headed to the tiebreaks. Both players tried to pull tactical tricks on their opponents in a mostly equal game, but caution still prevailed. In the end, Sapnap opted for peace as he went for a threefold repetition, even though he had a practical advantage in the endgame. 

For the first time in PogChamps 5, the players had to contest a second tiebreaker blitz game. Sapnap blundered a piece early once more but again managed to create complications for his opponent. Tricks and mischief abounded, with both players having very little time on the clock. Sapnap eventually faltered, getting checkmated by Ghastly after a stunning queen maneuver. 

Ghastly once more showed that he's well beyond his 693 rating and impressed hosts Levy and Aman. "I've been practicing, if not every day, at least five times a week," Ghastly shared in his post-match interview. "It's been an awesome journey. I'm so freaking grateful to be a part of PogChamps."

PogChamps 5 Group Standings Day 2

All Games: Day 2

PogChamps 5 is's most popular chess event for creators. Featuring 16 players and a $100,000 prize fund, the event starts on July 26, 2023, and ends August 18, 2023, with live in-person finals happening in Los Angeles, United States. Creators are divided into groups of four and play a single round-robin before moving on to either a Championship or Consolation bracket.

Previous coverage:

Pedro Pinhata

Pedro Pinhata is a Sr. Digital Content Writer for who writes articles, feature announcements, event guides, and more. He has been playing chess since 2019 and lives in Brazil.

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