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Moscow Open-2010 tactic

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Written by Peter Zhdanov   
Saturday, 13 February 2010
Peter Zhdanov (2012) - Maxim Vaseptsov
Moscow Open-2010 (B), round 3

Can you spot the winning move in 5 seconds?

Have some nice tactics to share with everyone? Contact us, and we will be happy to publish your masterpiece!

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Last Updated ( Saturday, 13 February 2010 )

Linares starting tomorrow, February, 13

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Written by Administrator   
Friday, 12 February 2010
Natalia Pogonina and Veselin Topalov

Linares, arguably the most prestigeous chess tournament, is taking place from February 13 to 24 in Spain. The format is a double round robin, games start at 4 p.m. CET.

The field is very formidable:
Veselin Topalov (2805) - former FIDE World Champion
Lev Aronian (2781) - FIDE Grand Prix Winner
Boris Gelfand (2761) - FIDE World Cup Winner
Vugar Gashimov (2759) - top player, leader of the Azerbaijan chess team
Alexander Grischuk (2736) - ex-World Blitz Champion and defending champion at Linares
Francisco Vallejo Pons (2705) - super GM, strongest Spanish grandmaster (except for Alexei Shirov)

You can now vote for your favorite in the tournament - see the left panel of for the poll! May the strongest one win!

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Last Updated ( Friday, 12 February 2010 )

Guess the players-2

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Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 11 February 2010

Do you recognize this top female chess player?

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 11 February 2010 )

Cute backgrounds by Mister M

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Written by Natalia Pogonina   
Tuesday, 09 February 2010






I love these pics - thanks to Mister M for the presents! He has a vivid imagination, great taste and exceptional skills! You can find large versions of the backgrounds
in a special photo album.

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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 09 February 2010 )

Breaking chess principles

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Written by Administrator   
Tuesday, 09 February 2010

by Natalia Pogonina for her Tuesday column

The more experienced we are in chess, the more subtle our understanding of the game is, and the easier it is for us to tell which move is good without even calculating the variations. Its a mixture of feelings, experience, knowledge of the key principles, and correct evaluation of the position. However, there are situations where we suddenly may (or even have to) make moves that look dead wrong from the conventional point of view.


WGM Anastasia Bodnaruk (2372) - WGM Natalia Pogonina (2501)

In round 5 of the '09 Russian Superfinal, I faced WGM Anastasia Bodnaruk who likes to play the Four Knights game. The encounter between her and GM Tatiana Kosintseva was a shocker for me since Tatiana chose the very same rare line (4Bd6) that I have been recently studying! Therefore, I now knew that I wouldnt be able to surprise my opponent with it. However, after briefly examining the game, I came to a conclusion that White had no real advantage in the opening, even though she won (Black blundered in a winning position due to lack of time). This is one of the caveats of playing the lines with the highest winning percentages: you never know if the result had anything to do with the opening at all!

So, I decided to play the same variation against Anastasia anyway:

Anastasia Bodnaruk (2372) - Natalia Pogonina (2501)

A typical illustration of the "masters know when to break the principles" saying. Smile

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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 09 February 2010 )

The art of converting winning positions

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Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 03 February 2010

by Natalia Pogonina for her Tuesday column

The most difficult thing in chess it is to win a winning position
--Emmanuel Lasker, 2nd World Chess Champion

All of us have faced a situation when we had a totally winning position and didn't win it for one reason or the other. This can be quite painful and leave you with a taste of dissatisfaction with your own play. Therefore, it is crucial to work on your technique and make sure you lose as few points as possible.

I knew a master who boasted he could win a position with an extra pawn in just one minute against anybody. Not completely true, of course, but genuine to some extent.


Natalia Pogonina, Tatiana Kosintseva, Nadezhda Kosintseva

Playing for the Russian Chess Team, all 2500+ FIDE

Generally speaking, there are two main ways to convert a won position: an aggressive one (employed when you have a critical advantage) and the calm one (outmaneuver the opponent, make him lose the thread of the game and blunder in time trouble). If your advantage is not large enough to win by sacrificing pieces and launching a direct attack, trading into a won endgame, etc., then you have to opt for the second way. This is what I love doing. Smile

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 03 February 2010 )

Chess is not only about winning

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Written by Administrator   
Tuesday, 26 January 2010

by Natalia Pogonina for her Tuesday column

Continuing last week's story about the '09 Russian Superfinal, I would like to share with you my game from round 3 against the experienced 2-time vice-World Champion IM Alisa Galliamova, who also happens to be the  ex-wife of GM Vassilii Ivanchuk.  We have played before twice: I won one game and drew one.

This time we were leading the tournament with 2/2. The public has dubbed our game as the duel of two chess mums: Alisa took a 2-year break from competitive chess to look after her baby, while I have been away for 8 months due to pregnancy.

Natalia Pogonina & Nikolai Zhdanov

On a separate note: just like in an RPG, each chess player has 5 main character attributes:
1)    Chess skills also referred to as chess class. There is even a saying in Russia you cant ruin your class through drinking. Smile For example, a master is supposed to remember how to play the Philidors position even if hes heavily drunk, sick and almost asleep.
2)    Chess shape that is your current chess conditioning. For example, you might be a great player, but if you havent had practice lately, you may easily forget how to play some technical positions, have problems recalling moves in the opening, calculate slowly, or just blunder.
3)    Physical shape an essential component of success. Chess games usually last for a few hours, so its very important to be fit. Tiredness or illness may easily cost you the full point.
4)    Mental shape that is how well your brain is operating at the moment. Sometimes it seems that everything is great: you are feeling well, your chess preparation and skills are excellent, you have been performing well in chess and then you just find out that today your head feels like having a holiday. It doesnt feel like doing any calculation at all, so you have to rely on your intuition only.
5)    Psychological shape if youre feeling down, unconfident, have no energy, are not motivated enough, tired of playing chess, etc., then chances are that you will perform much worse than you could have done otherwise.

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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 26 January 2010 )

NY Times - Natalia Pogonina Believes Chess Can Improve your Sex Life

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Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 24 January 2010
Published: January 23, 2010

Can chess be erotic? Yes, according to the movie Joueuse, which was released last month in France and Germany.


In Joueuse, the French actress Sandrine Bonnaire plays Hélène, a maid whose marriage and life are passionless. One day, while cleaning a room, she sees a couple (Jennifer Beals and Dominic Gould) playing chess. As they play, they touch each other suggestively and exchange smoldering glances. Aroused, Hélène vows to learn the game and teach it to her husband to see if she can rekindle their romance. He shows no interest, and she decides to learn more about chess. She turns to a character played by Kevin Kline, whose house she cleans, and he becomes her teacher. She eventually surpasses him as a player.

Chess as a metaphor for sex may seem far-fetched, but it has been used before, as in a tension-laden scene between Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway in the 1968 movie The Thomas Crown Affair.

What may seem even more far-fetched is the idea that there is a way to apply ideas about sex to improve chess skills, and vice versa. But Natalia Pogonina, who is No. 17 among women, and her husband are writing a book about just that. The book is titled Chess Kamasutra.

We will be reviewing the most interesting openings and middlegame positions and relating them to positions from Kama Sutra, Pogonina said in an interview last year with

Given her ideas, it is hard to know whether to read anything into Pogoninas style as a player. She likes classical openings, but is not afraid to mix it up, as she did against Joanna Dworakowska of Poland at last years European Individual Womens Championship. Pogonina ending up taking third, on tie-breakers.

Against Dworakowska, Pogonina chose the Ruy Lopez, a traditional system.

Pogoninas 11 ... ed4 was surprising, as Black surrenders the center. But Pogonina had played the move before. Dworakowskas reply, 12 Nd4, was a new idea, and Pogonina had to improvise. She adjusted, obtaining a queenside pawn majority.

Dworakowska blundered with 25 Bh4, but Pogonina failed to take advantage, as she could have after 25 ... Bf3 26 Be7 Bg2 27 Bd6 Qc6.

Pogonina pounced on her next chance, playing 28 ... a5 to create two connected passed pawns. Dworakowska could not play 29 ba5 because 29 ... Bc5 would win Whites queen.

Pogonina missed opportunities: She could have played 33 ... c3, as 34 Rb3 Qc4 wins a piece. And 35 ... Nf4 followed by 36 ... Ree5 would have been better than 35 ... Re5. But the result was never in doubt. Dworakowska resigned because she would have been down a rook, with no hope, after 43 Be7 Rc8.

A version of this article appeared in print on January 24, 2010, on page A18 of the New York edition.

Source: The New York Times

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Last Updated ( Sunday, 24 January 2010 )

Guess the players

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Written by Natalia Pogonina   
Thursday, 21 January 2010

Can you guess who these chess players are?

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 21 January 2010 )

Beating the Ex-Chess Sex Symbol

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Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 20 January 2010

by Natalia Pogonina for her Tuesday column

Men tend to look down on womens chess, joke about their level and style of play, and also discuss the female players looks whenever they have a chance.

Continuing my story about the Russian Superfinal-2009 (Part 1 can be found here), I would like to share with you my Round 2 game against WGM Maria Manakova. Russian-born but currently playing for Serbia, she became relatively well-known in the chess world as the first female grandmaster to pose nude for a tabloid.


WGM Maria Manakova

Maria gained some popularity by spreading spicy pictures of herself and giving provocative interviews, and, along with myself and Almira Skripchenko, has been recognized as one of the most beautiful women chess players in the world. I am actually very ironical about all this fuss, so it was quite entertaining for me to see some newspapers and chess fans comment on our encounter in the fashion of a battle of the chess sex symbols.

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 20 January 2010 )
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