The day is finally here. PogChamps 5, one of the most anticipated events of the year, welcomes 16 stars to the 64 squares. As fans barraged chat with emote walls and beautifully crafted copypastas, players fed the audience with hilarious moments and dubious chess.
The action unfolded in the usual PogChamps style everyone has missed: a fine mixture of isolated episodes of good chess, numerous painful blunders, and the ever-present stalemates.
It was Franks-is-heres who won the first match of Pog5 against Youtuber Jarvis. Ghastly and Tyler1 followed, winning their matches against Daily Dose of Internet and Jinnitty, before CDawgVA closed the day off by beating Sykkuno.
PogChamps 5 continues Thursday, July 27, starting at 5 p.m. ET/23:00 CEST.
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It’s hard to imagine a more fitting game as a PogChamps 5 opener. It’s not every day that you can enjoy the magic of six blunders in less than 10 moves. It all started with Franks trading his knight for a pawn, followed by a storm of misses that ended with Franks being up a piece (yes, the same player who sacrificed the knight).
Suddenly, Jarvis summoned his inner chess god, came back from the dead, and soon had the chance to get a material advantage. However, he soon went wrong and ended up losing his rook. The players eventually entered an endgame where Frank had three extra pawns. Franks promoted a pawn to a queen and had the game in his pocket, but you have to remember that this is no ordinary chess event we’re talking about.
As Levy put it, welcome to PogChamps:
The second game wasn’t as messy, but messy it still was. Jarvis played well and won a rook quickly. Franks was still able to keep his composure and create complications for his opponent. With Jarvis’ king stuck in the center of the board, Franks found the right moves to deliver the “kiss of death” and win the first match of the day.
Franks was excited about his first PogChamps victory: “I’m a happy duck. I’m a happy man. I was a little bit scared because I’m a scared man. Well, not normally… I was happy. The stalemate was bad, but I recovered. I did recover.”
Jarvis, who had glimpses of genius during the match, explained why he was so quiet: “I’m very genuine, I had no game plan,” he said. “This is the second game of chess I played against a human in 17 years.”
“700s 10 years ago would ‘eat’ the pieces.” That was Levy’s reaction to an impressive game that kicked off the match between Daily Dose of Internet and Ghastly. While both players had winning chances, both also missed the opportunity to guarantee the full point, and the game ended in a draw after an accidental threefold repetition.
Surprisingly strong chess for 700s continued into the second game, with great opening and early middlegame play by both sides. In the endgame, Ghastly displayed some powerful technique.
— chess24.com (@chess24com) July 26, 2023
Daily Dose slipped up, and that was all Ghastly needed. Like a mighty ghost Pokemon battling a level five Ratata, Ghastly overwhelmed his opponent to win the game and the match.
With a 199 rating, Tyler1 could still demonstrate that he’s stronger than any super-grandmaster on Earth (physically). With big arms and a bigger brain, Tyler also proved to be the stronger contender in his match against Jinnitty.
In the first game, Tyler played strongly out of the gates and pressed his advantage. Tyler then had the opportunity to deliver checkmate twice but unfortunately missed it both times—really unfortunate, actually, as technical problems prolonged the game for over an hour and a half. Think about this the next time you complain about how long classical games are.
After play resumed, it took a few more moves for Tyler to put an end to Jinnitty’s misery. Though he missed checkmate in one yet again, Tyler’s hunger for his opponent’s queen led to an accidental mate to end the game.
The second game was much quicker than the first (well, duh). Perhaps Jinnitty had her inhibitions down after streaming for 14 hours prior to her match. Perhaps she had cooked up the deepest opening prep in the history of PogChamps. Whatever happened, opening the game with 1…Na6 and 2…f5 did not pay off.
Tyler dominated the game, winning several pieces and even promoting his d-pawn on the a8-square in the early middle game (don’t ask how). After that, Jinnitty’s destiny was sealed. Tyler won the game and the match, the first player to win by a two-point margin in PogChamps 5.
With CDawgVA eclipsing Sykkuno’s rating by more than 1000 points, the last match was supposed to be the most lopsided of the day—and it was.
Though Sykkuno played better than a 104 player should, the experienced ChadDawgVA (as he’s named on Chess.com) was just too strong. CDawg displayed precision not only with his chess moves but also with his dance moves:
A knight fork later, there was little Sykkuno could do. CDawgVA quickly promoted one of his pawns and delivered checkmate to open the score.
In the second game, an unfortunate opening mistake started a tough run for Sykkuno. After hanging his bishop in the first few moves, Sykkuno then hung a knight, a rook, and then a queen in the middle game. CDawgVA had a massive material advantage and open lines to attack the enemy king. It didn’t take long for him to checkmate and end the match.
“I just woke up, and I thought, ‘this is a great day to play some chess,'” CDawgVA said about the match. His long-term strategy? “Continue to not practice, and then when I lose I can blame that I didn’t practice, and that I should’ve practiced more.”
Wise advice from one of the highest-rated players in the field.
All Games: Day 1
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.