Beating the Ex- Chess Sex Symbol

Beating the Ex- Chess Sex Symbol‎

WGM Natalia_Pogonina
105 | Chess Players

Men tend to look down on women’s 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.”

WGM Natalia Pogonina (2501) - WGM Marina Manakova (2344)

I have also been aware that GM Evgeny Sveshnikov (yes-yes, the one after whom the Sveshnikov variation has been named!) was assisting Maria in her preparation. Therefore, it was rather easy to predict which variation she was going to play:


Including this match, I have played 37 consecutive games without a loss at such strong events as the Russian Superfinal (2008 and 2009), Moscow Open, Women's European Championship, Russian Club Cup. All good things come to an end eventually… Smile


P.S. Thanks to everyone who is playing in the Pogonina vs. game! So far it’s home preparation for me, but I still enjoy analyzing some of the possible alternative continuations. Hope you are also having a great time and learning more about the Najdorf! Btw, it’s not late to join the match in case you haven’t done so already! Wink

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