Mulhouse 2010 - GM event

Mulhouse 2010 - GM event‎

WGM Natalia_Pogonina
26 | Chess Players

Playing in strong events is essential for a person’s improvement in chess. Also, one should have distinct goals and try to attain them. Thus, when I recently received an invitation to visit France and play in a GM-norm round robin, I heartily agreed. First of all, the average rating of my opponents was expected to be 2501 (just like my own). Secondly, why not try to earn a GM norm? Thirdly, I haven’t played against men for quite a long time (since 2007). The fourth reason is that I love playing in round robins. Probably due to a small number of players, they always have a special atmosphere, very cozy and nice.

The tournament took place from June, 30 to July, 7 in Mullhouse, France. The field included 3 GMs, 6 IMs (all men) and me. Of course, the pairings had been announced in advance, so I had a chance to prepare for the games before actually going there. I had in mind certain openings and back-up variations which could be useful in one or another tournament situation. The first four rounds turned out to be the toughest: I had to face players 1, 3, 4, 6 (by rating, I myself was #5).

The beginning of the event was a cold shower: only 0.5 points out of 4! Especially nightmarish was the loss to IM Yannick Gozzoli in round 4 where I failed to convert a technically won position. It is extremely hard to recover after such nuisances, but I tried to pull myself together and concentrate on the remaining games. No more chance to earn the norm (it was 6 points out of 9), so what? A master should have what people call “a champion’s character”, i.e. the will to fight until the end.

To relax a little, I finally visited the downtown of the city (we were living in a hotel in the suburbs). New impressions, shopping, sightseeing – all this (as well as support from my great fans!) helped me forget about my problems and get motivated to play on. In the subsequent 5 rounds I scored 4 out of 5 (3 wins and 2 draws) which allowed me to finish at 4.5/9 and at least keep my rating. Chess is fair, so in the second part I won a lost position against IM Anthony Wirig. As I have already mentioned in one of my previous articles, in round robins everyone is trying to prey on the person who is in bad shape. Therefore, while many players didn’t mind agreeing to a draw in 10 moves between each other, they acted like true gentlemen against me and tried to do their best to present me with a nice fighting game!

In the first round I had to face IM Riff Jean-Noel, one of the contenders for the title. As he was White, it was clear that he’d be playing for a win.


The outcome of the game was affected by my wrong decision at a critical moment. I felt that this point in the game was vital (and it is very important not to miss it!), but still made the wrong decision due to misevaluating the occurring position. Later on I had a chance to come back, but was too disappointed with my mistake and didn’t take advantage of it. Never let your feelings overflow during the game!

More from WGM Natalia_Pogonina
Hot EuroCup in Eilat

Hot EuroCup in Eilat

Game Analysis

Game Analysis