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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 )

Puzzle of the Day Widget

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Written by Administrator   
Saturday, 23 December 2028

By WGM Natalia Pogonina, Russia
FIDE rating: 2501

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I've been receiving a lot messages from people who like to solve chess puzzles, especially interactive ones. Previously we used to post static diagrams from time to time, but they probably were old-fashioned and not user-friendly enough.

Also, there have been many requests to provide more information about my own games.

As a result, I am glad to share with you the new widget. On the board, using your mouse, you can solve the "puzzle of the day" or a random puzzle. Please note that you are not obliged to stop solving the puzzle after the widget displays the "Puzzle solved" sign. If you are interested in the final position or not sure what the evaluations is, you can always play the game out against an inbuilt chess engine. Similarly, if you make a "wrong" move, the widget will tell you that, but you can always insist on your choice if you like and see how the match would unfold. These features make the widget highly interactive and fun: you are encouraged to act in a creative way and improve your chess by practising to take important decisions in exciting tactical positions! Finally, don't forget about using the "hint" button if you get stuck.

As of now all the puzzles are based on positions from my own games. Please let me know in the comments to this post what you think about the widget and whether you would like to see examples from the games of other chess players.

Every day a new problem will be added to the collection. Have a great time solving the puzzles!

P.S. If you have your own site, please feel free to embed the widget, thus making it easier for yourself and your audience to access the puzzles. Don't hesitate to contact us if you experience any technical problems or need special tuning.

Large version (345x450 - you can change the numbers to 215 and 310 accordingly and remove ?w=45 from the code posted below if you prefer the small version):

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Last Updated ( Saturday, 11 May 2019 )

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 )

Natalia Wins Motiva Rapid Cup

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Written by Administrator   
Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Left to right: tournament organizer, Maria Fominykh (best U2200 performance), Daria Charochkina (#2), Anastasia Bodnaruk (#4), Natalia Pogonina (#1), Antoaneta Stefanova (#5), Monika Socko (#3), Evgenija Ovod (best player from St. Petersburg), Sarasadat Khadelmalsharieh (audience prize)
The 3rd edition of the Motiva Rapid Chess Cup took place in St. Petersburg, Russia on June 15-16. The main event was a Swiss rapid tournament featuring 32 female titled players representing 9 different federations, including 4 GMs, 10 WGMs and 6 IMs.
Natalia was seeded 1st by rating and cruised through the event rather comfortably on Day 1 by scoring 4.5/5. On Day 2 she earned 2.5 points out of 4 and finished in clear 1st place with 7/9.
Final standings

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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 17 September 2019 )

Ugra Scores a Hat Trick

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Saturday, 11 May 2019

L2r: Marina Guseva, Baira Kovanova, Natalia Pogonina, Pave Lobach (captain), Anna Ushenina, Olga Girya
Image courtesy of the official site

The Russian Team Chess Championship took place in Sochi from April 30 to May 11. Thirteen teams competed in the women's section. As a result of a tough race between Ugra (2nd seed) and the team from St. Petersburg (3rd seed) Ugra managed to come out on top and to win the event for the 3rd year in a row.

Final standings:

1. Ugra - 16/18, 27.5 match points: Ushenina (2442), Pogonina (2453), Girya (2449), Guseva (2402), Kovanova (2349)
2. SHOR St. Petersburg - 16, 26: Bodnaruk (2431), Ovod (2362), Belenkaya (2315), Styazhkina (2272), Balaian (2250)
3. SHSM Legacy Square Moscow - 13: Kosteniuk (2546), Shuvalova (2439), Kovalevskaya (2413), Bivol (2393), Voit (2340)

The best players on their respective boards were:

Board 1 - Olga Badelka (2383) - 6 points out of 9 games
Board 2 - Natalia Pogonina (2453) - 6.5/8
Board 3 - Olga Girya (2449) - 7/8
Board 4 - Anna Styazhkina (2272) - 6.5/7
Board 5 - Daria Voit (2340) - 5.5/7

Full results
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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 18 June 2019 )

Women's World Chess Championship 2018

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Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Photo from the official website

Women's World Chess Championship 2018 is taking place in Khanty-Mansyisk, Russia. 64 participants have entered the knock-out event in order to fight for the chess crown, 4 spots in the upcoming Candidates tournament and the $450,000 prize fund.

In round 1 Natalia defeated Indian WGM Bhakti Kulkarni (2256) 1.5-0.5.

Round 2 turned out to be more challenging for WGM Pogonina. She traded blows with Chinese chess prodigy WIM Zhu Jiner (2379) in classical chess and won both rapid games.

Round 3 became a true nailbiter. Natalia faced GM Kateryna Lagno (2556) - a formidable opponent given her rating and an exceptional personal score vs Pogonina. All the classical time control, 25m and 10m rapid games were drawn. In blitz Natalia won the first game and lost the second one. The first Armageddon game of the event followed, where Lagno had White and 5m against Natalia's Black and 4m with draw odds for Black. After a tough struggle White managed to come out on top.

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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 18 June 2019 )

Russian Superfinal 2018

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Saturday, 08 September 2018

Dmitry Andrekin and Natalia Pogonina won the Russian Chess Superfinals in 2012 and 2018
Photo by Eteri Kublashvili

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This year the Russian Chess Superfinal took place in Satka 25th August to 6th September. While the men's championship lacked a few key players (Kramnik, Grischuk, Karjakin, Svidler), the women's championship featured pretty much all the leading female players except for Kateryna Lagno.

After a hard-fought event Natalia Pogonina and Olga Girya shared first with 7.5 out of 11. Natalia prevailed in the playoffs by winning the first game and drawing the second one, thus becoming the Russian women's chess champion yet again. For this achievement she was awarded a monetary prize & a brand new Renault Kaptur car.

Full standings:

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Last Updated ( Monday, 10 September 2018 )

Russian Superfinal 2017

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Written by Administrator   
Monday, 18 December 2017

L2r: Natalia Pogonina, Alexandra Goryachkina, Alina Kashlinskaya
Image courtesy of the official site

The Women's Russian Chess Superfinal took place from December 3 to 14 in St. Petersburg. The prize fund of the tournament was roughly $150k. The winner also received a Renault Kaptur car for her efforts.

Natalia Pogonina shared 1st-2nd places with Alexandra Goryachkina after the classical portion and went on to lose the dramatic rapid tie-break and to end up winning the silver medal. Notably, last year she also became the runner-up of the event.

Final standings:

1. Alexandra Goryachkina (2486) - 7/11
2. Natalia Pogonina (2469) - 7
3. Alina Kashlinskaya (2452) - 6.5
4. Olga Girya (2484) - 6.5
5-6. Anastasia Bodnaruk (2428), Valentina Gunina (2510) - 6
7-9. Polina Shuvalova (2385), Marina Nechaeva (2424), Oksana Gritsayeva (2373) - 5
10. Evgenia Ovod (2364) - 4.5
11. Ekaterina Kovalevskaya (2405) - 4
12. Alisa Galliamova (2443) - 3.5

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Last Updated ( Monday, 18 December 2017 )

Ugra Victorious in Rapid & Blitz

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Written by Administrator   
Friday, 06 October 2017


Ugra followed up this year's success in classical chess by winning both the rapid and blitz Russian Women's Team Chess Championships.

Top-3 teams in rapid chess:
1. Ugra (Pogonina, Girya, Nechaeva, Kovanova) - 12/12
2. St Petersburg (Bodnaruk, Ovod, Belenkaya, Styazhkina) - 10
3. Ladya (Ambartsumova, Nebolsina, Shafigullina, Markelova, Belova) - 7

Full standings

Top-3 teams in blitz:
1. Ugra - 16/20
2. DGTU (Ubiennykh, Bivol, Tomilova, Travkina) - 12
3. Kimmeria (Vasilevich, Charochkina, Potapova, Gritsayeva) - 12

Full standings

Natalia Pogonina also earned silver on board 1 in rapid and gold on board 1 in blitz as far as individual results are concerned.

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Last Updated ( Friday, 06 October 2017 )

The Best Chess Games Played in 2016

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Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 24 August 2017

By WGM Natalia Pogonina, Russia
Best FIDE rating: 2508

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Every year ChessPro publishes a hit list of the best chess games. It is compiled in the following way:

1. Every month IM Maxim Notkin chooses a short list of notable games and sends them over to some of the well-known GM/IMs. After their vote a monthly hit list if published.
2. At the end of the year the best of the best games are presented to the experts once again. They are asked to pick their top-10.
3. A final hit list is published by ChessPro after collecting all the scores from all the experts.

The judges of the "Best game of the year-2016" contest were:

Nikita Vitiugov, Evgeny Tomashevsky, Dmitry Jakovenko, Valentina Gunina, Natalia Pogonina, Sergei Rublevsky, Alexander Riazantsev, Alexander Motylev, Evgeny Najer, Igor Lysyj, Artem Timofeev, Adrian Mikhalchishin, Miguel IIlescas, Olga Alexandrova, Mikhail Kobalia, Alexei Kuzmin, Sergey Ivanov, Mikhail Krasenkow, Evgeny Miroshnichenko, Mikhail Prusikin, Alexey Goganov, Alexander Shimanov, Vladimir Barskij, Dmitry Kryakvin, Sergei Zagrebelny, Alexei Korotylev, Sergei Grigoriants, Adam Tukhaev, Konstantin Sakaev, Konstantin Landa, Evgeny Gleizerov.

Here is my version of the top-10 chess games played in 2016:

1. Aronian - Rapport, 0-1. Richard played a fascinating game; the move 27...Rh1! was the icing on the cake. His mighty opponent loves creative chess himself, but this time he was defeated.

2. Carlsen - Karjakin, 0-1. First blood in the World Chess Championship match. A very tense game and a beautiful finish.

3. Caruana - Nakamura, 1-0. This duel could have easily been rated #1 had the queen sacrifice not been prepared at home. Nevertheless, a very nice game.

4. Kramnik - Buhmann, 1/2-1/2. Vladimir Borisovich played very creatively and was very close to winning. However, it is the case when a drawn game is more interesting content-wise than many other remarkable victories. 

5. Grischuk - Volokitin, 0-1. The piece sacrifice was quite unexpected and fascinating. On top of that, this game was important for the team match result.

6. Eljanov - Carlsen, 0-1. A solid Catalan opening has all of a sudden led to a double-edged game involving a piece sacrifice. In the end Magnus emerged on top.

7. Wei Yi - Carlsen, 0-1. ChessPro referred to this game as a "breainteaser" and I tend to agree. From first glance it's hard to tell what was going on and who was better. One has to examine the game over and over again to come to a definite conclusion.

8. Karjakin - Caruana, 1-0. I included this game based on its serious impact on the final standings of the Candidates tournament. When a lot is at stake, chess beauty recedes into the background while struggle and tension rise to the forefront. Also, of course, I enjoyed the elegant 37.Rd5! move.

9. Timofeev - Eliseev, 1-0. It took Artem a while to find the keys to Yuri's fortress. The position after 48.Qe5! is quite fascinating.

10. Gagunashvili - Dubov, 0-1. There were quite a few candidates for making it to the top-10, but this game has somehow caught my attention. After 18...Bh3! a tornado seems to have flown over the board. After gaining some breathing space the Black knights began their remarkable and deadly dance.

The top-10 best games played in 2016 according to the ChessPro panel of experts:

1. Kramnik - Buhmann, Dortmund, 1/2-1/2, 166 points total.
2. Caruana - Nakamura, London Chess Classic, 1-0, 164 points.
3. Timofeev - Eliseev, Moscow Open, 1-0, 148 points.
4. Aronian - Rapport, European Club Cup, 0-1, 111 points.
5. Anand - Karjakin, Candidates tournament, 1-0, 86 points.
6. Eljanov - Carlsen, Wijk an Zee, 0-1, 85 points.
7. Carlsen - Grandelius, Norway Chess, 1-0, 84 points.
8. Carlsen - Karjakin, World Chess Championship, 0-1, 83 points.
9. Grischuk - Volokitin, Chess Olympiad, 0-1, 74 points.
10. Wei Yi - Carlsen, Bilbao Masters Final, 0-1, 73 points.

View all the nominated games

Original article by ChessPro

Related reading:
Best chess games played in 2010
Best chess games played in 2012
Best chess games played in 2013

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 24 August 2017 )
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