The first day of the quarterfinals of PogChamps 3 brought the highest pressure yet, with win or “go home” stakes.
Sardoche got two hard-fought wins against PogChamps vet xQc, while Benjyfishy took out poker legend Daniel Negreanu in the final seconds of the blitz playoff. Both Sardoche and Benjyfishy advance to the championship bracket semifinals.
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Sardoche Pins xQc
Two of the tournament’s biggest chess grinders faced off in a tense series of games today, and Sardoche was able to hold his cool against xQc’s tactics and continue on to the next round.
Game one showed strong play from each side, but the tension broke when xQc got caught in a pin and lost a rook after a series of exchanges. The PogChamps veteran did not give up hope, though, and began sacrificing his pieces and positioning his king in hopes of a stalemate. But Sardoche saw through the plan and showed no mercy, giving checkmate with his newly promoted queen.
In game two, xQc answered Sardoche’s London with 2.Nc6 based on some quick pre-game prep from super-grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura. Sardoche quickly left the prepared line when he played 5.f4.
xQc was caught in several pins again, but this time managed to wriggle free with a queen trade and ended up ahead in material. But Sardoche remained strong, taking out xQc with a knight fork and then checkmating him with his rooks.
With this loss xQc is out of the tournament, but not out of chess! He is the only player to participate in every PogChamps tournament and continues to play a huge role in increasing the game’s popularity. He plans to return in PogChamps 4 and take the title!
Benjyfishy Wins Sudden Death In The Final Second
In a heart-stopping match, Benjyfishy took the win in the blitz playoff and advanced to the next round.
Despite Negreanu’s careful opening play in the first game, Benjyfishy was able to pin the poker star’s rook to his queen and win material. But Negreanu opened the g-file and used some clever tactics to win back the rook, leaving both kings exposed in an equal endgame.
Under high pressure and with less than a minute on the clock, Benjy traded rooks at the wrong time and gave Negreanu the advantage. He marched his unstoppable pawns up the board for the win.
In game two, the players blitzed out the opening moves like chess professionals. In the middlegame, Benjy found a killer tactic to double attack Daniel’s queen and rook. The card shark didn’t notice the threat (neither did Andrea!) and in the end this cost him the game.
With the match tied, the players went on to a sudden death blitz playoff with 5 minutes on the clock and no increment. The pieces flew as each player was intent on speed. But Benjy was quicker, and kept a material and a time advantage for the whole game.
Benjy missed a mate in one with both players below 20 seconds on the clock, but in a flurry of moves he was able to flag Negreanu with only one second left!
Daniel Negreanu says he was happy with his play today, and would love to return in a future PogChamps tournament where he will bluff his way to victory!
Make sure to tune into Chess.com’s daily coverage of PogChamps 3 presented by GRIP6 on February 24 at 10:15 a.m. Pacific (19:15 Central Europe) on Chess.com/tv.
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