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Z270H Not recognizing first 2 DIMM Slots

Level 7
I went to re-apply thermal paste on my cooler (thumb tightened plate down) and was faced with memory not recognized.
I also reset the bios by pulling the battery:

Initial Config was mem in slot 2 and 4

-Through testing found that stick in slot 2 was dead (wont work in any slot)
-remaining stick only works in slot 4
-Will not go to bios if any stick is in slot 1 or 2 (dead or working).

I read about coolers bending boards that might effect this. I did loosen the cooler plate- still same issue.
could I have shorted out or damaged this portion of the board

If the slots 1-2 are dead- why wont the PC boot with a dead stick installed?