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Best chess games (September) - Natalia Pogonina's report for ChessPro

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Written by Peter Zhdanov   
Tuesday, 03 November 2009

Each month ChessPro publishes a list of the best chess games of the month, compiled by well-known experts: grandmasters, chess analysts & journalists.

WGM Natalia Pogonina has been invited to become a member of the panel of judges for the September issue of the hit-list. Thanks to that, you can now see the most exciting games yourself, and compare your impression of them with the opinion of Natalia & her colleagues.

Top-10 games (September, 2009) according to grandmaster Natalia Pogonina

1. Grischuk - Shirov A great endgame play, even such an endgame expert as Shirov couldn't put up resistance

2. Riazantsev - Sjugirov A beautiful and suprising sacrifice in exchange for a chance to put pressure on the opponent's position. Black could have defended more solidly, but finding the right moves in that position was tough

3. Howell - Bacrot A nice knight sacrifice, and precise play which led to Black's win without giving White any chances to escape

4. Karjakin - Grischuk  The dance of enraged knights in this game leaves an indelible impression

5. Sokolov - Bologan Unevident and beautiful sacrifice combo

6. Bologan - Sutovsky A great Ra7-c5-Qa8 plan, and nice subsequent play

7. Tiviakov - Moiseenko This can rarely be seen nowadays: bc; then the king marches to the queenside, b4, and then a pawn march on the kingside. Very nice!

8. Dworakowska -  Shen Yang An inspired and beautiful attack

9. Navara - Bologan A surprising positional queen sacrifice

10. Bologan - Eljanov White leaves the kingside pawns unprotected, and marches with his king to the Black's castle, leaving Black absolutely hopeless. Very smart!

You can see the games themselves and rankings by other masters at ChessPro

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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 03 November 2009 )

Natalia Pogonina - Interview for the Cacereno Chess Club

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Written by Natalia Pogonina   
Saturday, 31 October 2009


The Cacereno Chess Club began a series of interviews with top chess players to try to help stimulate women's chess. Natalia Pogonina was their #1 candidate for an interview.

Natalia Pogonina (WGM 2501 FIDE) is one of the most promising players on the international scene. Currently the world No. 14 and No. 3 in Russia.  Gold medal women's Olympic team in her country and won big tournaments such as 2 times European Champion sub18 and under 16, No. 1 in numerous international tournaments (2005 - Bykova Memorial, 2007 - Memorial Rudenko, 2009 - Moscow Open, etc. ). This year has surpassed the 2500 ELO barrier and is a serious candidate for the female world crown. She combines her brilliant career in chess with first steps as a model, and is also writing a book with her husband, Peter Zhdanov (they married on June 5), the revolutionary "Chess Kama Sutra"

1 . - A player like you has had the opportunity to see classmates and friends that started in chess but with the passage of time left chess.  It's something we see often in chess schools in our region, girls are initiated and then abandoned the game as the boys continue to play. Why do you think this happens?

Professional chess occupies a persons mind, and takes a lot of his time. So, many people just view chess as a pastime, or an educational technology which is used during the school years, and then left behind. As to girls many of them get distracted by other interests, lose motivation (since the earnings of women chess players are relatively small), start a family, etc.

2 .- The smaller clubs have few means to work, how we can promote women's chess without falling into the "positive discrimination"?

Let me quote myself, an article I have written for Chessbase:

Steps to take

Final question what should we do to make chess more popular among girls?

Run an educational campaign aimed at parents to help them learn that chess is a great game that develops the persons mind. Crush the stereotypes and provide enough information about the benefits of studying chess, and parents will be encouraging their daughters interest in chess!

Introducing chess in the school curriculum could also be a great step towards providing girls with opportunities of becoming good chess players.

Another key thing is sponsorship women chess is very attractive and exciting, so its worth investing into. If prizes in womens events increase to the same level as in mens, then girls (and their parents) will have a good financial motivation to consider chess seriously.

Finally, the girls themselves should know that they are equal to men in terms of chess talents, play in mens tournaments, study hard and believe in their powers. If most women start acting that way, then one day quantity will lead to quality, and the world chess elite will be enjoying more female players.

Its essential to remember that the sky is the limit and all the obstacles are in our heads

Press "Read more" to see the whole interview

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Last Updated ( Sunday, 01 November 2009 )

Hoogeveen-2009: results and world class chess tactics

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Written by Peter Zhdanov   
Friday, 23 October 2009


Rank Name Score M/F Rating TPR W-We SB 1 2 3 4 5 6
1 GM Tiviakov, Sergei 3.5 M 2670 2722 +0.46 9.75 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ ½
2 GM Ivanchuk, Vassily 3.0 M 2756 2636 -0.96 9.0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½
3 GM Giri, Anish 3.0 M 2552 2704 +1.20 9.0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½
4 GM Polgar, Judit 2.5 F 2687 2602 -0.70 7.75 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ ½

As you can see from the table, the whole tournament was about winning at least one game. However, at least two great opportunities to do so have been missed. You will now have a chance to beat two elite grandmaster - just "Press more" to try to solve the tactics.

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Last Updated ( Saturday, 24 October 2009 )

Cool tactics from the Chigorin Memorial

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Written by Natalia Pogonina   
Sunday, 18 October 2009

International Chess Festival "M.Chigorin Memorial 2009", October 14-25:
Tournament Regulations
Players list, main tournament
Information and results

The Chigorin Memorial-09 (Russia, St. Petersburg) is a very strong Swiss tournament this year - 27 2600-level players are participating; with 67 GMs among the field!

WIM Tatiana Molchanova (FIDE 2316) surprised everyone by beating GM Farrukh Amonatov (FIDE 2643) in the first round, and then defeated IM Sergey Pavlov (FIDE 2507) in the second round! A remarkable start, and even more exciting chess. See for yourself:


WIM Molchanova (2316) - GM Amonatov (2643)
White to move. Press "Read more" to see the solution

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Last Updated ( Sunday, 18 October 2009 )

Nakamura - Grischuk: battle of the blitz giants at ICC!

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Written by Peter Zhdanov   
Friday, 16 October 2009

Hikaru Nakamura (USA) vs. Alexander Grischuk (Russia): White won that game

GM Alexander Grischuk (FIDE 2733, World Blitz Champion in 2006 and winner of Linares-2009) is an undisputed blitz wizard. However, his "everlasting" record at ICC (3737, achieved on March, 6, 2008) has been challenged by the incredible GM Hikaru Nakamura (FIDE 2735, USA Champion-2009), an ICC legend who is claimed to be the best blitz and bullet player in the world.

Hikary actually broke the record by reaching an astounding 3750-level. Alexander decided to fight back, and the chess community has witnessed an epic 20-game 3-min blitz match between the two super grandmasters.

What was the result, you might ask? Click here to see the standings and the games themselves!

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Last Updated ( Friday, 16 October 2009 )

Kramnik - Topalov: exclusive "Toiletgate" video

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Written by Peter Zhdanov   
Thursday, 15 October 2009

Most chess fans remember distinctly what happened in 2006 at the World Chess Championship match between Kramnik and Topalov. But few have seen the actual arguments between the parties, including Kramnik's emotional and eloquent statement.

Thanks to IM Lobach, Natalia Pogonina's coach, who has been present at the press-conference & made a video, we can now all get a feeling of what Toilegate looked like from the inside.

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 15 October 2009 )

Pearl Spring Tournament-2009 in Nanjing - commentary by Natalia Pogonina

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Written by Peter Zhdanov   
Friday, 09 October 2009
*** (Please press the LOAD IMAGES button in your mail reader.) ***
Meet WGM Natalia Pogonina, your commentator for:
The 2009 Pearl Springs Tournament

Carlsen * Topalov * Radjabov *

Wang Yue * Jakovenko * Leko.

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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 22 September 2009 )

Interview with Susan Polgar (by Natalia Pogonina)

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Written by Natalia Pogonina   
Monday, 05 October 2009


Grandmaster Susan Polgar, the first woman in history to break the gender barrier by qualifying for the 1986 Men's World Championship and earning the Grandmaster title in 1991. She became the #1 ranked woman player in the world at the age of 15 and remained in the top 3 for nearly 23 straight years. Polgar went on to win ten Olympic medals (5 Gold, 4 Silver and 1 Bronze) and four Womens World Championships.

  • Winner of 4 Womens World Championships

  • The only World Champion in history (male or female) to win the Triple-Crown     (Rapid, Blitz and Classical World Championships)

  • 5-time Olympic Champion with 10 overall medals Never been defeated in Olympiad     competition (5 Gold, 4 Silver and 1 Bronze)

  • Currently hold a record 56 consecutive Olympiad game scoring streak without a loss
  • 2006 Womens World Chess Cup Champion
  • Currently hold a record 56 consecutive Olympiad game scoring streak without a loss
  • Currently hold 4 world records for simultaneous chess exhibition

You can find more details about Susan at her website. All photos in the interview are courtesy of Susan Polgar.

The Polgar sisters are role models for all the girls who like chess, so I have always wanted to ask them to share some insight on the game, lifestyle, chess politics, etc. Therefore, I was very glad when grandmaster Susan Polgar recently agreed to give an interview for & share the questions with her famous sisters. Here's the first part of the interview (Susan's answers):

1)    The public is always hoping that top players will return (Susan and Sofia are currently listed as inactive, Judit rarely participates in classical events Is a comeback possible in your case?


Everything is possible. I enjoy playing. However, I have basically done everything I set out to do as a chess player. Now, some of my main areas of focus include: promoting chess in education, popularizing chess in general especially among girls, improving playing conditions and bringing in more sponsors for our professional players, and cleaning up chess corruption in the United States, etc.

2)    What is your favorite time control?


It does not really matter to me. I won the Womens World Championship in Classical, Rapid, and Blitz format. I am fine with any time control.

3)    Best game played by you?


Many but if I have to pick one, probably the one against GM Maia Chiburdanidze at the 2004 Calvia Olympiad.

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Last Updated ( Sunday, 04 October 2009 )

Online Chess Tournament with over 130 000 euros in prizes - recommended by Natalia Pogonina!

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Written by Natalia Pogonina   
Monday, 05 October 2009
Mundial Chess is holding a great chess online tournament: the winners will receive a spectacular 130 000 euros in prizes + invitations to the prestigeous Benidorm tournament on excellent conditions. Other amazing bonuses: chance to play (live!) top GMs, including #1 on the FIDE rankings - Veselin Topalov!

Please note that there are 3 sections: without FIDE ELO, with FIDE ELO below 2200, and with FIDE ELO exceeding 2200. The prizes are almost equal in all the categories, so now matter how good (or bad) you are, you still stand a chance!

I have been invited to this tournament as a special grandmaster star who is going to be part of the GM Expert team (we will be commenting games, watching out for cheaters, serve as an appeals committee & probable even give a simul!) and member of the organization team.

See you at 1st Mundialchess Online Tournament, and may luck be with you!

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 22 October 2009 )

Natalia Pogonina - new interviews

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Written by Natalia Pogonina   
Friday, 02 October 2009
Another "Natalia loves the Dragon" photo

Chess is heavily underrepresented in the media, so I believe that appearing on TV, commenting chess events and chatting with chess fans is very important for promoting the game. As well as giving interviews - not for the sake of publicity, but for people willing to learn something interesting about chess. There's no media too small, no media too large - I'm trying to do my best to accept all requests.

Here's my new interview for the WeakSquare blog (English) and for RSport (Russian). Hope you will find them amusing and informational enough!

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Last Updated ( Friday, 02 October 2009 )
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