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Written by Administrator   
Tuesday, 12 May 2009


The case when in a tight Swiss tournament the winner manages to finish a full point ahead of the competition is rather rare. Natalia Pogonina left her competitors in the Women section of Moscow Open 2009 far behind.

Now she she is sharing her impressions of the tournament with a correspondent of the Russian Chess Federation Eugene Surov:

Natalia, it looks like you played in this tournament on a single breath

Probably, that is partially true, although I was a bit tired during the last rounds. A bad position with Repina, then with MatveevaI could feel that my brain is working not as smoothly as in the beginning. Only in the last game I managed to consolidate and play normally. Anyway, some sort of determination, game core, existed during me for the whole tournament. Probably, thats what helped me to hold those two worse positions.

Eight points out of nine this is a success any chess player would envy. How can you explain your impressive result?

I was in a good physical trim, played calmly and confidently. I guess that played the key role in my final success.

And what about preparation?
There was no special preparation for this tournament. Right before the event I invited to Saratov a grandmaster for a training session. We paid special attention to openings, i.e. positions that were new to me. Naturally, this has provided me with additional confidence in myself.

So you werent training aiming to conquer the capital? (Moscow P.Z.)

No! I just came to Moscow to play chess.

A respectable approach. Anyway, when did you understand that the fate of the first place is in your hands?
I dont know. Probably, only before the 8th round

...When it was the time to calculate the tie-break coefficients?
Why calculate them? There was a table with all the figures written in it. Indeed, the average rating of my opponents was higher than the corresponding tie-break points of my competitors. Thats why before the game with Svetlana Matveeva, where I had the white pieces, posed a dilemma for me: try to make a quick draw (it was ok in terms of my tournament situation) or play for a win. As a result, I have wasted a lot of energy thinking about it, finally settled for serious play, and then ended up in a worse position! Then, when I drew the game, it was much easier. Although If I had slipped in the last round then, excuse me for the tautology, the first place would have slipped away from me.

In the last round you again had White, and a draw perfectly suited your needs. And what was the tournament situation of your opponent, Marina Romanko?

She had 6,5 points, and I think that a draw as Black would have been a normal result for her. If she had offered me a draw, I would have accepted it, of course. In this case I would have been 1st, while she would have shared the 2nd or 3rd place. But, I guess, she decided to follow the winner takes it all strategy.

In womens chess offering a draw without any struggle is a rather rare case
Yes, very uncommon.

So in this respect you are a classic chess player?
Of course. I never think about evading struggle in my games. Lets take Anna Muzychuk. Everyone is sure that we would want a fixed draw since were playing for the same team and are friends in general. In reality, we never had prearranged draws!

And how did the games between you two end?

All drawn! But after long and interesting struggles.

So, the winner of Moscow Open-2008 passed her title to a friend of hers?
This is very interesting. Last year we shared an apartment here when she won the tournament. This times we lived separately, but communicated all the time, and now I won. So, the AVS team has conquered Moscow for the second time in a row!

Tell us about your life in Saratov? What else do you do apart from playing chess?
I am studying for an MA in Law at the Saratov State Academy of Law.

What is the percentage ratio between university and chess studies?

When I was studying for a specialist (first 5 years in the University), I had to spend quite a lot of time for my studies. Of course, playing chess was the main priority, but I tried not to skip lectures etc. Now, when I have a degree and am studying for an MA, I have much more spare time (thanks to the Universitys authorities), so I rarely visit the University and have the opportunity to concentrate on chess. However, I would still have to write my Master thesis.

Source: (translated from Russian by Peter Zhdanov)

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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 12 May 2009 )
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