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Best Game Ever Or Worst Game Ever?: Papaplatte, Sapnap, Franks-is-heres Victorious

Best Game Ever Or Worst Game Ever?: Papaplatte, Sapnap, Franks-is-heres Victorious

NM_Vanessa
| 20 | Chess Event Coverage

With trash talk, surprise checkmates, and ruthless king hunts, the competitors went all out on day three of PogChamps 5.

Franks-is-heres inspired himself into victory vs. the ever-calm Sykkuno, tying with CDawgVA for first in Group A. Sapnap defeated Daily Dose of Internet, achieving one of the shortest victories in PogChamps history and gaining ground on Ghastly in Group B. Despite facing a mocking copycat username and a deadly spider good luck charm, Papaplatte overcame I did a thing to take the early lead in Group D.

PogChamps 5 continues Monday, July 31, 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 WFM Alexandra Botez.

  


Franks-is-heres 2-1 Sykkuno

Franks vs. Sykkuno was a battle of contrasts. While Franks was highly animated no matter what happened in the game, Sykkuno remained a picture of calm at all times. 

Before the match, we got a glimpse of what may be the key to Franks' victory, his impassioned self-prep talk: "Composure, Franks! Don't let the water win! I win, the water loses, and I climb Mount Everest one day!"

In the first game, Franks dove into his opponent's kingside with his queen and knight, soon winning an exchange with a fork.

Sykkuno counterattacked with his king, trapping Franks' wayward knight. Just when Sykkuno was about to emerge ahead, he left one of his bishops hanging. Franks soon hunted down the other black bishop, coming out a clean rook ahead. In the endgame, Franks gave his opponent no chances at tricks, promoting and then checkmating with the classic rook roller. 

In game two, Franks chose a high-risk, high-reward strategy, opting for the Traxler Counterattack―an opening where White dances between two extremes: early checkmate and losing all their pieces.

Not an opening for the faint of heart

Sheer chaos appeared on the board as Franks sacrificed a bishop, rook, and knight by move nine to draw White's king into the center. His attack looked to be reaping rewards when he missed two opportunities to checkmate. Can you find one of them in the puzzle below?

Black to move and checkmate in four.

Relieved to be alive, Sykkuno's king tangoed back home to its starting square as it evaded a parade of checks from the enemy queen. Though down significant material, Franks made the game quite a fight, but ultimately Sykkuno found a decisive double attack to win his opponent's queen and shut down Black's resistance. 

Franks shared his experiences in this fearless opening: "I played it right once. Every single other time, I've forgotten how to play it. I kind of play something like a variation of it, but after the fifth move of it, I just don't know what to do, and I panic."

It all came down to the tiebreaker. Franks unleashed the unorthodox Vienna Gambit, which seemed to unsettle his opponent who blundered a knight on move four. Soon what started as a single snowflake slowly floating downward became an avalanche. Sykkuno dropped one piece after another, and Franks gobbled up each one like a game of Pac-Man. At one point, Franks' accuracy level reached 95 percent, leading Botez to ask the question on everyone's mind: "Is this Franks' best game ever or Sykkuno's worst game ever?"

Is this Franks' best game ever or Sykkuno's worst game ever?

-Alexandra Botez

Franks capped off the game with a checkmate so extraordinary that it was a surprise to him. Notice the serendipitous placement of the knight pair, entrapping the black king. 

Daily Dose of Internet 0-2 Sapnap

Off the chessboard, Daily Dose has been exploring Norway. Despite the country's emphasis on chess, his journey has led him to very different adventures.

In game one, Sapnap went for the throat, choosing a thrilling gambit vs. Daily Dose's Bird Opening. Sapnap's bravado paid off: His opponent weakened the critical e1-h4 diagonal, allowing a straight shot at his king from the enemy bishop. Sapnap hesitated. Would he see it?

After looking at the board for a while focused on other aspects, Sapnap remarked: "Wait, it's checkmate?!," and proceeded to win in six moves―one of the shortest games in PogChamps history. He danced in celebration at his miniature victory.

In a must-win position, Daily Dose decided to go with an all-pawn, peasants-try-to-overthrow-the-monarchy approach, making five pawn moves before developing a knight. Initially, Sapnap took advantage of his opponent's "Swiss cheese" structure―loaded with holes all over the light squares―by planting a knight on an outpost in the center. However, later Daily Dose's bewildering strategy paid off. His army of pawns crawled forward, locking up the position and sealing the coffin of Sapnap's entombed rook.

Position after Daily Dose's 23...c4

Daily Dose looked to be gaining his vengeance and forcing a tiebreak when he blundered a knight and rook back-to-back. In an instant, he rage-quit, disappearing from the screen as he resigned. 

Even with his 2-0 victory on Friday, Sapnap knows that he can improve:

"I think that's my biggest thing is I need to take a step back and just assess the board. I get too excited when I think I see something, and I just do it. And a lot of times, I just blunder away pieces. I think if I take a step back and chill, I can win most of these games."

I did a thing 1-2 Papaplatte

As the game began, commentator Rozman was confused. The game seemed to be Papaplatte vs. Papaplatte:

"The chat can't see this, but on my side, they're both named Papaplatte. I was very confused. The chat has no idea. Behind the scenes, both players are Papaplatte."

Later, Rozman figured out what happened. I did a thing changed his Chess.com username to "Papaplatte Stinks," showing such dedication to his trash-talk game that he used his one-time ability to permanently change his username just to taunt his opponent. 

In fact, his urge to crush other living beings extends far beyond the chessboard. Botez shared in detail one of her favorite stories about I did a thing to the horror of co-commentator Rozman. 

In game one, his chess abilities lived up to his level of trash talk with powerful attacking play. Papaplatte made risky choices with his king's pawn cover as Rozman eloquently described: “Papaplatte has just no respect for the king. The king bought a house and proceeded to shoot a bazooka into the roof.”

The king bought a house and proceeded to shoot a bazooka into the roof.

―Levy Rozman

I did a thing's forces were happy to walk through the wide open door to the enemy king, marching over the welcome mat.

Position after 17.Rdh1

After choosing between three possible checkmates, he celebrated by twirling his hands in the air and then receiving a bear hug from his friend, Alexa. 

Early in the next game, I did a thing's stream featured a special guest: a funnel web spider―the most dangerous type of spider in the world, which he had recently caught and was keeping in a jar on his desk. 

Unfortunately for him, his good luck charm seemed to turn the tides against him. After losing a bishop, I did a thing set up all the ingredients for a Botez Gambit by lining up his king and queen on the same diagonal and leaving them there for the next 14 moves. For several turns, Papaplatte's light-squared bishop had the opportunity to pin his rival's queen, but both players continued to swim in a haze of mutual blindness focused on everything but the looming blunder. 

Though he never did win the black queen, Papaplatte eventually found his way to an ending where his extra bishop and pawns would be useful, evening the score and triggering overtime.

In the playoff game, Papaplatte's comeback continued, winning the exchange and then a piece with a boomerang tactic.

I did a thing tried to stir up counterplay but missed a couple of opportunities to complicate the game. Soon, Papaplatte increased his material advantage to massive proportions, mopping up the remainder of his opponent's forces and making a second queen for himself. 

After the match, I did a thing shared how spearfishing can help him prepare for his chess games.

All Games: Day 3

PogChamps 5 is Chess.com'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:

NM_Vanessa
NM Vanessa West

Vanessa West is a National Master, a chess teacher, and a writer for Chess.com. In 2017, they won the Chess Journalist of the Year award.

You can follow them on X: Vanessa__West

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