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Meet Grandmaster Natalia Pogonina

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Written by Administrator   
Monday, 25 December 2028

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Natalia Pogonina (born March 9, 1985) is a chess grandmaster and one of the best female chess players in the world. Since 2004 she has been a member of Team Russia and has won three Olympic gold medals playing for her country.

Woman Grandmaster (WGM), three-times European champion (U16, twice U18), bronze prize winner at the World Championship (U18) and European Women's Championship, winner of the gold medal at the 1st International Mind Sports Games, Russian women's champion (2012, 2018) and #1 at multiple prestigious international tournaments (2005 Bykova Memorial, 2007 Rudenko memorial, 2009 Moscow Open, etc.). Ranked as 3rd most successful female chess player in the world in 2009 by the Association of Chess Professionals. In 2011 Natalia became the only chess player in the world to simultaneously win the Eurocup and European Team Chess Championship and in 2013 - the only person to hold the individual and team Russian Champion titles. She was runner-up at Women's World Team Chess Championship-2011 and earned the bronze medal in 2013.

Natalia is the reigning Olympic Women's Chess Champion.
In 2015 Natalia Pogonina became the runner-up of the Women's World Chess Championship.

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Last Updated ( Saturday, 11 May 2019 )

Ugra Dominates the Women's Russian Team Chess Championship

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Monday, 16 May 2022

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The XXIII Russian Women's Team Chess Championship was held in Sochi from May 1 to 10.

A total of 16 team's were registered for the event. Ugra (Natalia Pogonina, Olga Girya, Leya Garifullina, Marina Guseva, Baira Kovanova), seeded as #2 by rating, cruised through the tournament, winning all nine matches and leaving their competitors far behind.

The top three teams were:

1. Ugra - 18 points
2. South Ural 1 (Valentina Gunina, Olga Badelko, Alexandra Maltsevskaya, Ekaterina Goltseva, Elizaveta Solozhenkina)  - 14
3. Moscow Chess Federation (Kateryna Lagno, Polina Shuvalova, Alina Bivol, Darya Voit, Ekaterina Borisova)  - 13

Full standings

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Last Updated ( Monday, 16 May 2022 )

FIDE Grand Swiss 2021

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Sunday, 14 November 2021

Despite the tought epidemic situation, the FIDE Grand Swiss took place in Riga from October 25 to November 8. It was the strongest open tournament of the year, attracting quite a few top players who were eager to fight for places in the Candidates tournament and the FIDE Grand Prix.

In the women's event, Lei Tingjie pulled off a surprise victory, making it look extremely easy and scoring 9 points out 11, beating the silver medalist by 1.5 points.

Natalia Pogonina performed slightly above her rating expectation and finished 9th by scoring 4 wins, losing 1 game and drawing 6.

Full standings

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Last Updated ( Sunday, 14 November 2021 )

Russian Superfinal 2021

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Sunday, 24 October 2021

Image from the official site by Eteri Kublashvili

The Russian Women's Superfinal took place in Ufa from October 9th to 20th. With Alexandra Goryachkina playing in the Russian Superfinal (traditionally called "men's") and Kateryna Lagno and Alexandra Kosteniuk absent, the competition was somewhat less challenging than usual. Nevertheless, the lineup featured both experienced players who have won many prestigious titles over their career and also come upcoming stars.

Natalia performed more or less according to her rating and placed 5th. The winner was Valentina Gunina, for whom it was the fourth national title.

The prize fund of the women's event was 4 mln. rubles.

The final standings:

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Last Updated ( Sunday, 14 November 2021 )

Russian Women's Team Championship 2021

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Sunday, 16 May 2021
Team Ugra (l2r): Anna Ushenina, Natalia Pogonina, Pavel Lobach (captain), Olga Girya, Baira Kovanova, Marina Guseva

Despite the COVID pandemic, this year's edition of the Russian Team Chess Championship was played live in Sochi from May 1 to 10. In the women's section, there were more teams than last year (16 versus 13), and the lineups were also more impressive. Ugra was seeded second and finished third.

Natalia scored 5.5 points out of 8 (4 wins, 1 loss, 3 draws).

Final standings

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Last Updated ( Sunday, 16 May 2021 )

European Online Women's Club Cup 2020

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Thursday, 24 December 2020

Due to the pandemic, the traditional European Club Cup was held in online format with a rapid time control (15m/game and 5s/move). 42 teams participated in the event. The rating favorites were: Cercle d'Echecs de Monte-Carlo (Goryachkina, Dzagnidze, Cramling, Paehtz, Socko, average rating - 2511), Kyiv Chess Federation - Greco (Muzychuk A, Muzychuk M, Ushenina, Osmak, Buksa, average rating - 2483) and UGRA (Pogonina, Girya, Badelka, Dordzhieva, Kovanova, average rating - 2428).

The teams were assigned into five groups, with the two best performing teams in each group qualifying for the Finals. UGRA won their group quite comfortably and became the runner-up in the main event. Monte-Carlo lived up to the expectations and, being the clear rating favorites, won the tournament. The main upset of the Club Cup was probably the Kyiv team (the 2nd seed and pretty much the extremely powereful Ukrainian women's national team) finishing in 5th place.

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 24 December 2020 )

Russian Superfinal 2020

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Thursday, 17 December 2020

Image courtesy of the official site

Despite the raging COVID pandemic, the Russian Chess Federation nevertheless decided to hold the Russian Superfinals in Moscow from December 5 to 16. One of the participants of the men's event, Mikhail Antipov, actually tested positive for COVID and had to withdraw from the tournament at some point.

The main discovery of this year's women's event is definitely Polina Shuvalova. She is 19, rated 2456 already, not to mention the gains from this tournament. After she scored 6/6 in the starting rounds, it seemed like the winner of the round robin was already set in stone. However, the second highest-rated female player in the world, 22-year old Alexandra Goryachkina (2596) decided to interfere. As a result, both of the competitors scored a remarkable 8/11, leading to a traditional playoff that we get to see pretty much every year in the women's event. After drawing both rapid games, Goryachkina won was White the Armageddon encounter.

It is interesting to note that the players who played a tie-break for the gold medal last year, Olga Girya and Natalia Pogonina, performed relatively modestly this time. Is it a temporary setback, or are we already witnessing a change of guard, as the new generation of talented players keeps improving year by year? Time will tell.

Full standings:

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 17 December 2020 )

Russian Women's Team Chess Championship 2020

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Sunday, 29 November 2020

L2r: Marina Guseva, Olga Badelka, Pavel Lobach (captain), Baira Kovanova, Olga Girya, Natalia Pogonina

Image courtesy of the official site

The Russian Women's Team Chess Championship took place in Sochi from November 19th to 28th. It was a much welcome event given the hiatus experienced by the chess world lately. For example, Natalia hasn't played any tournaments since January, which is quite a long time.

The defending champion, Ugra, was a strong rating favorite on paper, featuring Natalia Pogonina (#1 seed of the championship), Olga Girya (seeded #2), Olga Badelko (#4) and other strong and experienced players. Nevertheless, the Moscow Chess Federation team managed to clinch a critical victory against their main rivals in the fourth round (2.5-1.5) and cruised to victory.

The final standings were as follows:
1. Moscow Chess Federation - 16 team points out of 18
2. Ugra - 15
3. Cimmeria - 12
(13 teams in total)

Natalia performed more or less according to her rating, scoring 5.5 points out of 8 (4 wins, 1 loss, 3 draws).

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Last Updated ( Sunday, 29 November 2020 )

Gibraltar Masters 2020

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Wednesday, 05 February 2020

From January 21st to 30th Natalia played in Gibraltar Masters, arguably the strongest regular chess open tournament in the world. This year's edition featured such top players as Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Wang Hao, Veselin Topalov, David Navara, Le Quang Liem, Kirill Alekseenko and many other notable players. In the end the tournament was won by one of the relatively underdogs, 21-year old David Paravyan, who tied with six other players for first with 7.5/10 and ended up winning the playoffs.

Gibraltar Masters is also widely known for having exclusive generous prizes for the female players. Unsurprisingly, the tournament regularly attracts some of the biggest names on the women's chess circuit. This year the female top seeds were Anna Muzychuk, Alexandra Kosteniuk, Lei Tingjie, Tan Zhongyi, Natalia Pogonina, Olga Girya, Zhansaya Adbumalik, Pia Cramling and Antoaneta Stefanova.

Natalia scored 5.5 points out of 10. On the bright side, she lost only one game and held such heavyweights as Vassily Ivanchuk and Krishnan Sasikiran to a draw playing Black. On the dark side, she lost 4 rating points and received a rather modest prize for her efforts. Tan Zhongyi won the first women's prize, scoring 7 points. Lei Tingjie came in clear second with 6.5 points.

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 09 July 2020 )

Russian Superfinal 2019

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Friday, 23 August 2019

The winner and the medalists of the Women's Russian Superfinal-2019
Photo by Dmitry Kryakvin

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In 2019 the first two rounds were held in Votkinsk, while the remaining nine rounds were held in Izhevsk. The women's event was a round robin featuring many notable players, such as ex-Women's World Chess Champion Alexandra Kosteniuk, the current Challenger Alexandra Goryachkina, the reigning Women's European Champion Alina Kashlinskaya, three-time Women's European Champion Valentina Gunina, et al.

Just like last year, Alexandra Goryachkina won the bronze medal. Also, repeating the scenario of 2018, Natalia Pogonina and Olga Girya tied for 1st place - this time with an amazing 8/11 points. However, this time Olga prevailed in the play-offs (1-1 in rapid, win as White in Armageddon) and secured her first Women's Russian Champion title.

Natalia shared the 1st place for the third year in a row, ending up with one gold and two silver medals. With an impressive 2608 performance, she earned 21.6 rating points - the biggest rating gain at the Superfinal in her career so far.

Full standings:

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Last Updated ( Sunday, 27 October 2019 )
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