Russian Superfinal-2012

  • WGM Natalia_Pogonina
  • | Aug 21, 2012

The main Russian chess event of the year started on August 2nd in Radisson Slavyanskaya Hotel in Moscow. 10 male and 10 female chess players were to compete for the title of the Russian Chess Champion. In each section, the contestants were: three medalists from last year’s Superfinal, two – by highest rating, five – qualifiers from the Top League. For me it was my 7th Superfinal. Until this year my best result was tying for first in 2010 (I got the silver medal after a rapid two-game tie-break). As compared to the 2011 lineup, the Kosintseva sisters were back, but Alexandra Kosteniuk was absent.

Here’s the result of the computer-generated tournament table (normally the participants used to draw the lots themselves, but this year for some unknown reason the procedure was modified): 1. Charochkina, 2353 2. Ovod, 2419 3. Pogonina, 2448 4. Galliamova, 2465 5. Girya, 2433 6. N. Kosintseva, 2524  7.Kovanova, 2408 8. Ubiennykh, 2367 9. T. Kosintseva, 2530 10. Gunina, 2507. Hence, I was to play 5 games as White and 4 as Black. In top-level men’s chess an extra White is considered to be an advantage, so most people prefer to end up in the first half of the tournament table. In women’s chess, however, the importance is milder. For example, I scored 3.5/4 with Black, which made some analysts make witty observations that I had a “Black strategy” for this tournament.

Here is a more detailed preview – men’s tournament; my previous results, prizes, etc.

In the first round I missed a promising chance to win:

Round 2 was pleasant for me because I finally managed to defeat Tanya Kosintseva, my long-time nemesis:


Press conference after the game

Meanwhile, Valentina Gunina and Nadezhda Kosintseva were continuing the opening dispute in one of the lines of the Ragozin Defense, which was also employed in the WWCC match between Hou Yifan and Koneru Humpy. Valentina uncorked a good novelty (20.h4) and quickly won the game.

In the third round I had good winning chances, but the game ended in a draw.


Valentina Gunina is all smiles at the press conference

Valentina Gunina triumphed again.

In the fourth round I had my hotshot Black Smile I earned a full point vs. Evgenia Ovod, who had a very tough tournament this year and finished in last place.

At this point I and the (at that time) reigning Russian & European Women’s Chess Champion Valentina Gunina were leading with 3 out of 4 points.


Let the game begin!

After round 5 a rest day was planned. Each player wants to do well on the day before the rest day in order to be in a good mood during the free time. Maybe for this very reason the 5th round was very fighting: 4 decisive games and one proprietary well-known draw between the Kosintsevas.

At a certain stage my position against Gunina was suspicious, but in the end I managed to win in a rather dramatic fashion. Many kibitzers appreciated the king’s promenade:

My good friend Baira Kovanova went through a really challenging and nerve-racking game too, but in the end she managed to convert her lost position into a full point:


Baira Kovanova. GM Alexander Motylev taking pictures on the background – that’s the answer to the trivia

Before the rest day I became the sole leader with 4 out of 5. Only four rounds to follow, but so many tense encounters ahead!

No matter whether you are well-versed in super tournaments, or have never been to one, here is one of the videos that you might find interesting. It gives a sense of in what environment we are usually playing; how the world’s top grandmasters (World Rapid Chess Champion Sergey Karjakin, World Blitz Chess Champion Alexander Grischuk, World Cup Winner Peter Svidler, etc.) are behaving before and during the round:

Finally, here is part of the plate featuring famous visitors of the hotel where we stayed and played – George Bush Jr. , Bill Clinton, Claudia Schiffer, Boris Becker and so on.

Vladimir Kramnik has pretty good company, right? Smile


To be continued…

Part II will be more informal. Ask questions now if you want something specific to be covered!

Photos 1-4 are courtesy of Eteri Kublashvili,


  • 21 months ago



  • 23 months ago


    This  is realy cool

  • 2 years ago


    Thank you...Maghi Perak Malaysia @ Wellcome to Perak Malaysia.

  • 2 years ago


    WGM, what's the difference between the 3 FB accounts? Innocent

  • 2 years ago

    WGM Natalia_Pogonina

    Let’s stay in touch on social networks! Here are my official accounts:

    Account 1, Account 2, Account 3

  • 3 years ago


    yes now she prepare more 1e4 good game natalia i think that she read my last comment and now she play more better after the china vs russia i think that she play without complication now that i said in may last comment in "china vs russia" ok but some comment in the ruy lopez all player improve their game so the prevision said that she can loose in lopez in black . the preparation of 1e4 need to play without complication so if we try to complicate the game we can loose easy so in this article pogonina play without many complication this is why she play better ok.

    this is not the end ok in my last article i said that she play good 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 and i think she not play 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 c5 so here she do well and she play 1d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 here she play more better the nimzo indien but she need some perfection . ok about gunina is other systeme of playing is not the same if we see picture we can improve the poersonality of gunina  she is more quite and more intelligent ok the caracter is other factor to resist in  many years of playing chess.

  • 3 years ago


    Congratulations Natalia! You have done a wonderful job.

  • 3 years ago



  • 3 years ago


    Congratulations on your fine victory Natalia ! Smile

  • 3 years ago



  • 3 years ago


    Fine article & games! Congratulations!!

  • 3 years ago



    thank you for sharing your games. i'm not ashamed to say that trying to think through them makes my head hurt :)


    i'm very curious about the round 2 game.  on move 35 it seems that you pass up taking the e4 pawn to line up your rooks, but then around move 38 change tactics.  can you comment on your strategy? i would be so happy to hear it.

    thank you and congratulations!

  • 3 years ago


    Thanks for the great article, your game 5 will be perfect game of the day. Well done with 3.5/4 with B. Black strategy? Careful, once you choose black you'll never go back ;)

  • 3 years ago


    It's great when a nice, dedicated, smart and intellectually honest person wins - thank you! 

  • 3 years ago


    30. e6!

    44. b3+!!

  • 3 years ago


    Congrats Natalia. Your 5 th game is super. Thanks for your good article.

  • 3 years ago


    Thank you Natalia for the article... I was anxious to read your commentaries since I read you won the Russian Championship, I will be waiting for the second part... Best wishes Natalia :)

  • 3 years ago



  • 3 years ago


    tactical shot on round 5 truly see like 6 moves ahead with that pawn

  • 3 years ago


    Hampov Is the better in this tournament .

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