Russian Superfinal & London Olympics

  • WGM Natalia_Pogonina
  • | Aug 28, 2012

Part I of this story dealt with the first five rounds of the championship. I was the leader with 4/5, and among my pursuers were Olga Girya and Alisa Galliamova, whom I was to face in the rounds to come.

During the rest day I decided to take a ferry ride on the Moscow river. It was hot, so in the evening I discovered that my skin, especially cheeks and knees, became sunburnt. So, no more skirts for me, but at least the impressions from the trip have more than compensated for this disadvantage. Alas, at some point I noticed that the batteries in my camera were low, so I didn’t get to take pictures. However, here is part of the bridge right next to the hotel:


Round 6 was rather challenging. I made the wrong choice in the opening and ended up in a tricky position. Alisa didn’t make use of some of her chances, and the game ended in a draw.

Last year’s winner Valentina Gunina caught a cold (so she was wearing a scarf now) and lost the second game in a row. Olga Girya defeated Evgenia Ovod and caught up with me.

Round 7 was a critical match-up between the leaders. I had Black against Olga Girya.


Photo my Eteri Kublashvili,

Another example from the same round:

Women’s chess is always fighting, and in round 7 all the games were decisive. Surprisingly, White won just one encounter, while Black prevailed in the other four duels.  On a separate note: computer preparation has supplied us with many ideas how to hold for Black. While previously most people were searching for positions where White has an advantage, now it’s about finding a line which is complicated and/or unexpected by the opponent. Black tends to do rather well. This is probably due to the fact that many people overrate White and press for the win too strenuously. The motto “win with White, draw with Black” doesn’t work that well anymore.  One should be able to win with both colors. The only difference is that with Black one usually has to equalize first before trying to play for a win.

So, I became the sole leader again, but in round 8 I was to face Nadezhda Kosintseva with White. She surprised me with a Najdorf line that she doesn’t normally play. I had certain pressure on her position, although the game ended peacefully.


Photo by Eteri Kublashvili,

Valentina Gunina aided me by having won two games in a row: first vs. Alisa Galliamova, then vs. Tatiana Kosintseva.

Before the final game it became clear that I would win clear first in the championship if I managed to draw the game as Black vs. Baira Kovanova. The match didn’t last long and ended in a move repetition. I won my first adult Russian Champion title with 6.5/9 and a 2620 performance!

Another important chess clash in terms of distributing the prizes was the game between Olga Girya and Valentina Gunina. Olga had a large advantage, but she didn’t win. Valentina got silver (5.5 points). Tatiana Kosintseva lost with White to Daria Charochkina and didn’t get a medal. Nadezhda Kosintseva managed to wrestle a full point from Alisa Galliamova and get bronze with 5.5/9.

Finally, one more tactical shot:


The tournament table

As you can see, most of the games at the championship were decisive. I managed to remain undefeated: in some of the games I missed a win, in some I could have lost. One of the main factors of my success was the Olympic Games in London. I am a hardcore sports fan, so every evening I used to watch the competitions for a few hours. Sometimes I had the TV on and also two laptops so that not to miss anything important Laughing This helped me not to get overemotional about the tournament and the current games/standings.  All my worries were aimed at the Olympics, while at the chess board I was calm and focused. This didn't go unnoticed by chess artist Mike Magnan, who painted a picture called "Pogo Zen" featured in this article.


Photo (C)

P.S. Sorry, for the next two weeks you won't see my columns, because I will be playing at the Chess Olympiad. This is usually an extremely exciting tournament, so make sure you don't miss it. will obviously be covering the event. The official website is here. My website will also be offering prompt updates. Have a nice time! Wink


  • 24 months ago



  • 2 years ago


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

  • 3 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



  • 3 years ago


    Very good.

  • 3 years ago


    поздравляю Наталья!

  • 3 years ago


    nice ;)

  • 3 years ago


    WOW! Great achievement Natalia! Congratulations!

  • 3 years ago


    Congratulations on your victory. 2620 forthe tournament, tremendous!

    Perhaps one of the deciding factors was the fighting play to save a draw in games you might have lost.

    All the best for the Olympiad, I'll be watching you you get on.

    PS, I'm a sports junkie too but family holiday meant I didnt see too much of the OG, But it meant I didn't obsess too much either.

  • 3 years ago

    WGM Natalia_Pogonina

    @solskytz Thanks. However, this is another missed GM norm. The performance was good enough, but there are also requirements on title-holders. At least 1/3 of the opponents must have the GM title. In this case only 2 players had it, while at least 3 were necessary. Typical of women's chess.

  • 3 years ago



    can i have a tutorial.....?

  • 3 years ago



    can i have a tutorial.....?

  • 3 years ago


    Nice games!

  • 3 years ago


    I am very happy that you won!!!

  • 3 years ago


    Fantastic!! Very well done for a well-earned GM norm. Keep them coming!

  • 4 years ago


    For some players, like beginners, its better that the games start with the first play. or at least have the movelist, so we can check out how the game get it that position.

    Good Article. Thanks.

  • 4 years ago


    Again, congrats.


  • 4 years ago


    good game natalia now i can said that you progress and after some critics that i do now i have not much critics , i hope that you progress again after this tourney ok now after playing with gunina and kosintseva , your chess carer is so long so many other like yifan humpy not talk about (pulgar this is a luky gm.) so in our day to be a champion you should win this gm kostenuk gunina humpy yifan so now you  should win kostenuk and humpy and yifan if you do this i can said that you should be more than for example see the game between caruana fabiano and yifan is good for preparation see also some game of humpy in english that she play in white. and game of yifan in nimzo indien can be a good preparation so good luk for you pogonina.

  • 4 years ago


    Congrats for the gold trophy Nina! Then hoping you get gold medals in the next olympics! Good luck... :)

  • 4 years ago


    Good luck Pogonina for the olympiad :)

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