Who is Natalia Pogonina?
Honestly I must say I don't really know. I have never met her and unless she drops in at the tournament in Wijk aan Zee (aka Hoogovens/Corus/TataSteel) I won't anyday soon. But not really knowing her in person doesn't stop me from pretending to know her at all. Thank god we live in an age in which we can (and will!) judge someone on his or her social media activity. Having said that I must say that everything I see or her from her through social media is positive.
She is born in 1985 that makes her just a couple of years younger then myself, but puts us in the same generation. According to wiki she is studying for her Masters of Arts in law but I can't add anything about that, and this is not going to be a copy and paste from that site. I do know that she seems to be a nice enough person, and even though she is clearly proud of her accomplishments in chess (why shouldn't she be?), she seems down to earth in my opinion. At least she responds to e-mail, (she was kind enough to provide me with some pictures to use) and is quite active in promoting chess and with that, not only herself but the entire community. She has her own site also as mentioned before you can find her on facebook and twitter. She also is an active member on the popular gamesite chess.com. To instantly go to her profile, you can click here I don't believe she is part of the staff, but I could be wrong there. She certainly does contribute.
To all the guys whom (after seeing her picture) have the instinct to immediatly send her candy, flowers, lovepoëms and lavish gifts I'll have to disappoint you,... she is married. Although I can imagine she wouldn't mind receiving gifts at all (just don't spam her with poëms).
Chesswise her current FIDE-rating (juli '12) is 2447 she has lots of titles.
Just to mention something: She currently is the only player to hold titles as both European Team Chess Champion and European Club Chess Champion. (source pogonina.com)
However more important to most kibitzers, myself certainly included, she has a wonderfull attacking style of play and a winner mentality. Drawing sounds to her like something incomplete, it's just halfway where she wants to be. This leads to mostly nice agressive games which are almost always illustrative.
Today I've uploaded two of her games to my Youtube channel.
The first game I is played the 21st of august in 2011 during the Russian Women's Superfinals.(12:51) It's a typical attacking game from Natalia, in fact it are these kind of games that makes her chess so attractive and promted me in following more of her games. Here is the .pgn without annotation and without sidelines
She faces a Caro Kann, none the less, it becomes a come of attacking and tactics rather then strategy.
At the end of the video I uploaded there is a game winning tactic, try to find the entire combination, you really can go wrong after the keymove.
The second game I uploaded is a real beauty. Especially if you like the endgame. It truly is a hard fought battle. (99 moves!)
In this game Natalia plays with black against Inna Gaponenko it was played during the European Individual Women's Championship the 13th of march this year.
The upload is over 30 minutes long. The first 6 minutes you might want to max your audio from 06:11 the sound is better, sorry for that.
The game is illustrative in many ways, personally I really like the endgame, although it has some minor errors. Once more the entire game with no annotations or sidelines (see the video! )
Let me highlight some what you will see in the above video:
0:27 Opening: Ruy Lopez exchange variation
0:46 Opening: Ruy Lopez exchange, starting out explanation (<1400)
1:37 Opening: Unusual sideline
1:55 Opening: Sideline Beginner explanation why not to take on b2, with variation (<1400)
4:46 & 06:10 Strategy: Pawnstructure
5:30 Middlegame: Position analysis, pieceactivity, pawnstructure
9:40 Middlegame: tactic The black knight rises
10:27 endgame, black goes in up a pawn
12:40 endgame, R+N+2P vs R+N+1P
16:28 endgame, keymoment explained (still R+N+2P vs R+N+1P)
19:17 missing the draw!
21:07 endgame, black promotes (Q+P vs R+N+P)
22:45 endgame, Queen vs Rook
25:32 endgame, Q vs R, The rookside will try some tricks to draw
29:25 endgame, Q vs R, stairsteppingtool
Natalia's greatest achievement so far
Now I have kept from you her greatest accomplishment so far in her life. And surprise surprise, it isn't chess related. Though a great and unique accomplishment, many will and can claim to have done simular.
Yes dear readers I am talking about 18th of November 2009 the day on which her son Nicolai was born. With that I'll end this post and wish you all the best for the rest of the day.
Greetings from a really sunny Holland now I'm off for a beer.
@Natalia thx for the great games and your pictures.