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Women's World Blitz Chess Championship

  • WGM Natalia_Pogonina
  • | Jun 12, 2012

My previous report was dedicated to the World Women’s Rapid Chess Championship, and now it is the time for blitz. The participants were the same, but not the results. The time control was rather unusual: 4m+2s/move. The typical one nowadays is 3m+2s/move, while in the past everyone used to play 5m/game. The schedule was comfortable enough: 15 rounds in two days.

In blitz the ability to play without thinking much, “with your hands”, is critical. One can’t calculate much, so instincts come into play. To become a good blitz player, one has to constantly practice, solve a lot of tactics and have special opening schemes to surprise the opponents and make life easier for oneself.

Before the tournament one of the main favorites was Valentina Gunina from Russia. She is the reigning European classical and blitz chess champion, who has proven herself as a successful blitz player in women’s and mixed events. She lived up to her status and scored a spectacular 8/8 on day one! As Valya herself has commented, she got lucky (in most of the games she was actually lost), but, nonetheless, there is no such thing as a random victory. Generally speaking, in blitz most of the games are far from perfect, so one can see the advantage swing back and forth. Often the last one to blunder terribly loses.  

Of course, other strong blitz players were taking part, but no one could match Valya’s speed. The Muzychuk sisters had 6/8, as well as Zhukova Natalia and Nana Dzagnidze. The winner of the rapid event – Antoaneta Stefanova – had 5/8. I started off badly with 3/8.

On day two another 7 rounds were to be played, offering a chance to catch up. Alexandra Kosteniuk won the first three games (on day one she had 4.5/8). Antoaneta Stefanova scored 3.5/4. Natalia Zhukova got only 2.5/5, but went on to win the final games. Maria Muzychuk defeated Zhukova in round 9, but lost five games in a row after that! I started with 3.5/4, then lost a game, didn’t convert a commanding advantage in the next one, and ended up at 8/15. Day two was clearly an improvement for me as compared to day one: 5/7.

Valentina Gunina drew four games in a row – that is a rare case in blitz. Then she won three games and finished at 13/15. A great achievement for the new Women’s World Blitz Chess Champion! Natalia Zhukova and Anna Muzychuk earned medals with 10.5/15.

The atmosphere at the tournament was very friendly and, no matter how serious were the titles at stake, one could see most players smiling and chatting with each other. During prize-giving we were all eating a tasty cake. :) Batumi is a very beautiful city and a great place for holding chess tournaments.

I love taking pictures, so here is another photo report:




And here is some chess content. While reviewing the games to find some interesting samples to show to you, I was actually shocked by the number of one and two-move mates, blundered queens, etc.


  • 18 months ago

    WGM Natalia_Pogonina

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  • 2 years ago


    Very interesting article, thank you!

  • 3 years ago


    gud one

  • 3 years ago


  • 3 years ago


    anybody intimidated by the idea of blitz - don't be, it is the fear of failure dominating the joy of participating. Play, lose, win, draw, practice, gain experience, adjust your style, learn those openings and ENJOY!

  • 3 years ago


    i love your picture with the palm trees in the background

  • 3 years ago


    ...prior to taking this topic "off tracking," I want to say, "Natalia Pogonina, you are among the most brilliant and beautiful people in the entire world."   I enjoy reading everything you write and if you and your husband ever visit my country, I would be honored to afford you every courtesy.  

  • 3 years ago

    FM djano

    Nice article with very well prepared analysis of selected games

  • 3 years ago


    Love the pics Natalia, the games were also very interesting; it's nice to know even GMs make mistakes like those, it makes me feel a little better.

  • 3 years ago


    nice pictures and very intresting games:)

  • 3 years ago


    I especially liked Nana Dzagnidze's technique. Thanks for the encapsulation.

  • 3 years ago


    Thanks for the article. You know, I love rapid chess but I never dare to challenge for a blitz. Sometimes it reminds me of sync translation when you are under the same time pressure and have to mobilize every single convolution. I am currently reading a book by the SPb blitz champion Genrikh Chepukaitis. What a chess cheetah he was!

  • 3 years ago


    Natalia thanks for the article. The complexity of few of the positions mentioned here is worth more when its a blitz match.

    As you said instincts do play a role here than your normal intellect. Hope to see some novelties during these type of games in future!

    Photos arte awesome and looks like Batumi is worth visiting. You look pretty cute in the last pic.

    Cheers Kaspy!

  • 3 years ago


    As usual, the article is very interesting...the comments below, much less so.

  • 3 years ago


    I give lots of respect to people who play these fast blitz types games. I can think about a move for what seems like 10 minutes and still blunder it!

    I'm amazed that many of these matches get into the 30's, 40s and even 50 moves. I understand there are mistakes made, but to my amateur mind, playing these games must be stressful and still require fast calculating abilities. Amazing stuff.

    Thanks for your analysis.

  • 3 years ago


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  • 3 years ago


    ok thank natalia i just want to say that the position between zhao and gunina in the move 20 white should play 20 Kf2.

  • 3 years ago


    we respect you natalia please let us talk about chess (we love chess this why we talk about any thing in your article  if you want that i said nice article i said but let us talk my raiting is not 1400 if you think that i'm not good because my raiting is 1400 i play blitz and my real raition in chesscube is between 2000 and 2266 please let me comment . i want to comment about the game between Zhao and gunina thank natalia for appreciate.

  • 3 years ago


    Nice writing, Natalia. I love the pictures. Batumi is indeed a beautiful city. Any recommendation on what to do in Batumi? Any interesting place to see? Is winter a good time to visit Batumi?

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