The Office star Rainn Wilson and French League of Legends streamer Sardoche have battled their way into the championship bracket final of PogChamps 3, and will face off for the title on Sunday afternoon.
Sardouche survived a tiebreaker to beat PogChamps mainstay Ludwig in the first semifinal, while Wilson held off BenjyFishy in the second.
Sardoche Turns Back Ludwig in Tiebreaker
The semifinal between Ludwig and Sardoche produced some of the best chess in the history of the PogChamps tournament series. Sardoche won an exchange early to gain an advantage in Game 1, but Ludwig fought back to reach a slightly better endgame. But Ludwig lost the thread, allowing Sardoche’s king too much access to his position and giving the Frenchman a 1-0 lead in the match.
The two players once again reached a balanced position in Game 2. This time, Ludwig got the better of a simplified endgame, then used his active knight to scoop up Sardoche’s pawns and knot the match at 1-1.
— Chess.com (@chesscom) February 26, 2021
Unfortunately, the blitz tiebreaker proved somewhat anticlimactic. Sardoche won a piece early, then piled on the pressure to finish off Ludwig in 48 moves, booking his place in the PogChamps 3 final.
Wilson Survives Scare to Advance to PogChamps 3 Final
Wilson has established himself as one of the strongest players in the tournament, and showed just how prepared he was in Game 1 against BenjyFishy. When BenjyFishy played the French Defense, Wilson showed strong understanding of the Advance Variation, quickly winning material to earn a decisive advantage.
BenjyFishy came out strong in Game 2. Wilson lost three pawns early, leaving a complex position but one in which BenjyFishy had a clear advantage. He was unable to quickly capitalize, though, and both players ended up in time trouble with less than one minute remaining on their clocks. In the scramble, Wilson got the best of the position, ultimately reaching a king and queen vs. king endgame. The man best known for playing Dwight Schrute blundered and stalemated BenjyFishy, but the draw was still enough to win the match by a 1.5-0.5 score.
Final Match Score:
Rainn Wilson: 1.5
BenjyFishy: 0.5 pic.twitter.com/JII9n39MeL
— Chess.com (@chesscom) February 27, 2021
That sets up an epic PogChamps 3 final between the consensus two best players in the field. Wilson has shown the best stretches of tactical prowess, but has also proven inconsistent at times. That could be troublesome against Sardoche, who has remained solid throughout each of his matches in the tournament, rarely blundering and showing relatively advanced chess understanding.
Neeko, Michelle Khare Face Off in Consolation Final
Before the championship match, Neeko will take on Michelle Khare in the consolation final. Khare won back-to-back matches on Friday to advance to the final, beating both MrBeast and Pokimane by 2-0 scores. She’ll face a tougher challenge against Neeko, who advanced by winning clutch tiebreakers against both Rubius and Tubbo.
The winner of the PogChamps 3 championship final will earn $20,000, while the consolation bracket winner takes home a $7,000 prize.