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 is the reigning Olympic Chess Champion and Russian Women's Chess Champion.
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,co-winner of the 2008 Student World Championship and Russian Superfinal-2010, 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.
As of 2010 Natalia's FIDE ratingwas over 2500 – a mark that is associated with the title of a male Grandmaster.
Natalia is the reigning Olympic Chess Champion (gold medals for both team and individual performances) and Russian Women's Chess Champion.
Every year Chess Pro publishes a list of the top games according to the opinion of world's leading grandmasters and journalists. Natalia Pogonina was a member of the panel of judges. Below you can find her votes and the official results:
Games against juniors I find a harrowing experience. Not only do they tend to be massively underrated, but they tend to have the kind of self-belief and fearlessness, tactical sharpness that I had 20 years ago, before I became old, developed a squint and lost all my hair and teeth.
In fact my chances of winning the last two British Chess championships (which admittedly were slim in any case) were ruined by losses to 2100 rated juniors, something that still rankles with me I must admit. This year it's war!
Of late though I have been doing better against juniors. I tend to remind myself during the game, "they are just human, remember that, they are not machines... they can be beaten..."
In the recently completed English Chess League I had a crucial game in the relegation against the up and coming Yang-Fan Zhou. I was playing for Blackthorne Transport, sponsored by a company who deliver freight to Russia (no questions asked) and we needed to beat Guildford 2 to have a chance of staying up.
Yang-Fan Zhou is perhaps best known for once scoring 9/9 in the Brighton masters, the only time I'm aware of, outside Bobby Fischer, (the 1963-64 US Champs, where he scored an extraordinary 11/11) someone scoring 100 percent in an international tournament over nine rounds or more. Perhaps the readers know of other examples?
Natalia Pogonina pulled a Fischer at World Mind Sports Games in 2008 by winning all 11 games and scoring a 2941 performance - Pogonina.com