WagamamaTV Starts Strong, easywithaces Defeats PogChamps Veteran xQc
Day two of PogChamps.

WagamamaTV Starts Strong, easywithaces Defeats PogChamps Veteran xQc

PedroPinhata
PedroPinhata
|
15 | Chess Event Coverage

Another exciting day of PogChamps is in the books as easywithaces defeated xQc in straight games, while WagamamaTV proved to be stronger than hafthorjulius—at least over the board. With more than 37,000 peak viewers across all platforms, the second day of this event saw two quick matches that both ended with a 2-0 score.

Be sure to tune into Chess.com's daily coverage of PogChamps at 12:45 p.m. PDT (21:45 p.m. CEST) on Chess.com/tv. The complete show archives are available on twitch.tv/chess and youtube.com/chess.


easywithaces Wins An Easy Match Against xQc

After streaming for more than 20 hours straight, xQc entered the PogChamps arena to face easywithaces in the first match of the day.

The game started with a Queen's Pawn Opening, in which xQc had to think for a full minute on move two. Black initially started out better, with a development advantage and good attacking chances but was eventually unnerved by easywithaces' play.

xQc's sleep deprivation, however, didn't stop him from appreciating a beautiful piece of art by the Irish poker star.

By move eight, Black was down to only five minutes. His problems mounted early as he went for a discovered attack against easywithaces' queen. White responded correctly by capturing the a7-pawn and launching a dangerous attack against the black king. xQc was undoubtedly impressed by easywithaces' calculation.

Eventually, the tough position and time trouble proved to be too much for xQc to handle. He blundered his bishop, and White had no problem converting the game and taking the lead heading in to game two.

The second game started with what seemed like a Caro-Kann by easywithaces. However, it deviated from the main line soon after as xQc put his bishop in front of his d-pawn on move three.

Easywithaces got out of the opening with a better position but lost the opportunity to use the en passant rule to win a piece. It is unclear whether he missed the move or simply didn't know about the rule.

At one point in the game, xQc got carried away with a phantom attack on his pawn. After a couple minutes of musing, he eventually found the right move but at the cost of falling significantly behind on the clock.

Needing only a draw while playing a better position, easywithaces slowly but surely built up his advantage. Once he had reached the endgame, he had so much time on his clock that he was even able to take us to his Moneymaker Lounge to relax and think about his last moves.

After promoting his passed pawn, Fintan played his Hand to perfection and had no trouble delivering checkmate to win the match.

Despite his loss, xQc felt good about his improvement over the last PogChamps. "I feel pretty good. I didn't feel like he got me," he said after the match was over. "If I had crafted my skill and had spent more time on these small details, it would've mattered, like knowing how to develop, how to push my pawns..." he added.

WagamamaTV Defeats The Strongman

WagamamaTV's hard work over the last week paid off in his match against hafthorjulius, aka The Mountain from the hit HBO Series Game of Thrones. After improving by over 100 rating points over the last week, Wagamama seemed ready to face his massive opponent.

In their first game, the Mountain started with the Italian Opening, which quickly turned into a Hillbilly gambit. GM Hikaru Nakamura and IM Danny Rensch took this opportunity to teach the viewers about the totally accurate origination of this gambit's name.

WagamamaTV pushed his pawns to try to put the orange squeeze on Julius, who resorted to using a calming technique in an effort to keep it together during his first game of the tournament.

Despite being the lower-rated player of the two, the Strongman was able to get a good position against the Swede. The game was equal until the strongman blundered and allowed a fork of his queen and knight, forfeiting the latter.

Still, hafthorjulius didn't give up and found some counterplay against Black, who was low on time. The tension was evident from both players' silence during the game.

WagamamaTV's time management was puzzling, with the Swede regularly talking through his moves in exchange for precious time melting away off his clock. His time eventually dwindled to just 15 seconds, and Julius tried to win the game on time with a flurry of quick moves. Unfortunately for the Game of Thrones actor, his quick play caused him to blunder his remaining pieces, making it easy for Black to win the game and take the match's lead.

The second game of the match started with a London Opening by WagamamaTV. Playing with the white pieces, he showed great positional understanding, keeping the tension in the center of the board and bringing his pieces into the game.

Nakamura was impressed with Wagamama's familiarity with chess concepts. At the same time, Danny shocked the world with a revelation about the player's past.

The critical moment of the game came down to hafthorjulius' mistake that allowed Wagamama to play a combination and win a crucial central pawn, allowing Wagamama's central pawns space to advance up the board without resistance.

In his post-game interview, hafthorjulius demonstrated that he was ready to pick himself up after his defeat. On the other hand, Danny might not recuperate from learning his student's true feelings towards him.

Be sure to tune into Chess.com's daily coverage of PogChamps at 12:45 p.m. PDT (21:45 p.m. CEST) on Chess.com/tv.


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