PogChamps 5 Recap – Illegal Moves, Blunders, And Upsets
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PogChamps 5 Recap – Illegal Moves, Blunders, And Upsets

The fifth iteration of PogChamps is in the rearview mirror, and it just might’ve been the most exciting PogChamps to date with a very unexpected ending. It had it all, from big blunders and illegal moves to huge upsets and everything in between, but ultimately, it came down to Franks-is-heres and CDawgVA, who battled it out for the lion’s share of the $100,000 prize pool.

PogChamps 5 kicked off on July 26, 2023, with the group stage, where 16 players competed in four groups of four for a spot in the Championship Bracket.

Group AGroup BGroup CGroup D
CDawgVADaily Dose of InternetJinnittyI did a thing
Franks-is-heresSapnapSqueexFuslie
JarvisGhastlyTyler1QTCinderella
SykkunoWirtualxQcPapaplatte

By the end of the group stage, the top eight more players, including the returning xQc, Tyler1, Ghastly, Sapnap, I did a thing, Papaplatte, Franks-is-heres, and CDawgVA, the Championship bracket, while the rest got seeded into the Consolation bracket for a shot at winning their slice of the total prize pool.

PogChamps 5 – Consolation Bracket

The Consolation Bracket featured the third- and fourth-placed players from the group stage, including Daily Fose of Internet, Jarvis, QTCinderella, Jinnytty, Wirtual, Sykkuno, Fusile, and Squeex. And while the lower bracket produced some exciting games, every single Consolation bracket match ended in a clean sweep, including the grand finals between QTCinderella and Wirtual. Still, the two finalists made sure to entertain the crowd.

Pogchamps 5 Consolation Bracket
Pogchamps 5 Consolation Bracket, thanks to chess.com

Wirtual, who was one of the highest-rated players at PogChamps 5, failed to find much success in the group stage but made it for it by reaching the finals of the Consolation bracket, where he met with QTCinderella – both stating that they put in the time to prepare for their opponents.

The match had its moments, including QT’s struggles to figure out how to castle, but the most memorable was Wirtual’s touch-move incident. Since PogChamps 5 doesn’t follow professional rules, Wirtual’s was allowed to fix his mistake, and he ended up winning the match with a checkmate, using a pawn and two bishops.

The second match seemed like it could be closer, but again, the difference in the players’ rating showed as Wirtual found responses to every move QT made, punishing her mistakes and securing his second win of the series.

https://twitter.com/chesscom/status/1692642629270245626

The third game was far more balanced and at one point, QT even found herself in an advantageous position. But even that wasn’t enough for her to overcome Wirtual, who ended up completing the clean sweep and joined the growing list of PogChamps Consolation bracket champions.

WinnerOdds

PogChamps 5 – Championship Bracket

Unlike the Consolation bracket, the Championship bracket saw more close games and just a handful of clean sweeps. However, since the first round, it was clear that CDawgVA and Franks-is-heres were a class above their opponents, ultimately leading to the two meeting in the big final.

Pogchamps 5 Championship Bracket
Pogchamps 5 Championship Bracket, thanks to chess.com

The centuries-long Welsh-English rivalry delivered with Franks-is-heres getting himself in an excellent spot against a higher-rated opponent and confused CDawgVA enough for him to miss the mate. But Franks-is-heres seems to have confused himself as well, as he hung an actual checkmate after he tough he was mated – but it didn’t stop there.

CDawgVA missed the mate again, but after that he wasn’t given another chance, as Franks-is-heres took his opportunity to defeat CDawgVA and take the series lead.

The victory left Franks-is-heres a bit too confident, and while he managed to put pressure on CDawgVA, the latter found a checkmate to tie the series.

Franks-is-heres again found a way to start strong in game three and got himself in a winning position, but made a huge blunder – which might’ve not been too obvious – and let CDawgVA take a 2-1 lead.

Things didn’t improve for Franks-is-heres in game three. He failed to get off to another good start, letting CDawgVA take an early lead and build a sizeable advantage from which Franks-is-heres wasn’t able to come back.

https://twitter.com/chesscom/status/1692703194831319398

CDawgVA closed out the game 3-1, took home $20,000 in tournament winnings, and the coveted PogChamps 5 trophy. Franks-is-heres, on the other side, pocketed a $12,000 consolation prize for his second-place finish.

PogChamps 5 marked the fifth iteration of PogChamps chess tournament, and the first that hosted its finals as a live event. Chess.com, the tournament organisers, have yet to reveal whether there will be another PogChamps in 2023, but there will likely be another event in 2024.

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