Women's Russian Superfinal-2011

  • WGM Natalia_Pogonina
  • | Sep 6, 2011

The 61st Women’s Russian Championship took place in Moscow from August 18 to 29. This prestigious tournament didn’t get an adequate coverage in the chess media due to language barriers (most of the materials were available only in Russian), and the distraction caused by the World Cup.

This time there were 10 participants (instead of the traditional 12), and the Kosintseva sisters declined the invitations due to an intense schedule. Nonetheless, the field was quite strong and featured, among others, ex-Women’s World Chess Сhampion Alexandra Kosteniuk (2497) and two times runner-up Alisa Galliamova (2492). By the way, Alisa won the previous two Superfinals. After having competed at a Grand Prix stage in Rostov, both ladies were rather tired. #3 by rating was Valentina Gunina (2487), followed by me at 2442. Other players were Anastasia Bodnaruk (2431), Elena Zaiatz (2419), Tatiana Shadrina (2373), Olga Girya (2371), Kovanova Baira (2354), Daria Charochkina (2310).  


From left to right: Galliamova, Bodnaruk, Kovanova, Pogonina, Kosteniuk, Zaiatz, Charochkina, Girya, Gunina, Shadrina

Photo by WGM Anna Burtasova, russiachess.org

For me it was my 6th Superfinal (I have missed only 2004 and 2006). So far my best result was sharing first last year, when I lost the rapid tie-break against Galliamova and got silver. Less delightful were years 2008, when I started by losing three games, and 2009, when I had to withdraw from the event due to health issues.

My starting number in the table was 6, so I had to play two Blacks in the first two games. Against Kovanova I had a slightly inferior position, and against Gunina I missed a win a couple of times. Both matches were drawn. Then I won with White against Girya and Galliamova and lost with Black against Bodnaruk and Zaiatz. In rounds 7 and 8 I defeated Shadrina and Kosteniuk and ended up in clear second. In the last round I had small chances for gold and could have got silver in case I did not lose. Alas, I played horribly and lost with White to Charochkina, which came as a surprise to most spectators and commentators. 4th place, a cold during the event, opening problems and other problems signified that my preparation for the tournament wasn’t perfect.

At the beginning of the tournament Gunina and Kovanova were leading. In round 6 Baira drew, while Valentina won. A convincing finish allowed Gunina to clinch the title, and Kovanova scored just 0.5 out of 3 and finished on 5th place. A last round victory brought Alisa Galliamova the silver medal, and Charochkina earned bronze in the same fashion.

There were no undefeated players at this tournament. As usually, most games were decisive, with the exceptions of two relatively short draws.


Today I would like to show you my first victory from the ’11 Superfinal. My opponent, Olga Girya, became the runner-up at the Junior Girls World Chess Championship just before the event.

The key moment was when Black played c4. My opponent shouldn’t have determined the pawn structure and given me a chance for a comfortable attack. However, Black could defend more successfully if she had relocated the knight to g6 via d7. I got a considerable advantage and converted it rather quickly due to a blunder by Olga.



  • 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

  • 5 years ago


  • 5 years ago



  • 5 years ago


    i usually play  the advanced vs caro....i'm now inclined to experiment with f3,thx for the shown game and congrats

  • 5 years ago


    AWEsome Smile

  • 5 years ago


    Well done!  Thank you for your instruction and inspiration.

  • 5 years ago


    Natalia, congratz

  • 5 years ago


    Great event, excellent explanation of the evolution of the game

  • 5 years ago


    @Kinn72: Google chrome browser does an okay job with translation but the problem is that grammar and semantics are different for different languages. You will have to put up with broken English..

  • 5 years ago


    Isn't there a way in this modern age of computers to instantly translate information about Russian major Tournaments? ( & from other countries as well?)

       Nice game shown; you quickly mounted an attack.

  • 5 years ago


    First I love reading your articles as mentioned before :-)

    I have never seen the Caro-Kann 3. f3 variation. It looks nice although I cant find the general idea behind the move. Is it opening up the f-file quickly? If you can find the time, enlighten me please.


    Mr Clueless 

  • 5 years ago


    @Natalia_Pogonina: Blogging could help you preparing for your future opponents as well Tongue out

    The WGM tournament in Hangzhou didn't get much coverage either. And it seems there is another WGP series tournament going on in Shenzhen.. I guess things are better now.. 2 years back, I could name about 25-30 male players but the only female chess players I had heard of, were Judit Polgar and Koneru Humpy :)

  • 5 years ago


    beauty and brains.  I hate it when women's chess don't get as much attention.  these are world class games here...!

  • 5 years ago


    wow gunina won.....nice

  • 5 years ago


    Excellent domination of the f-file! Is there a link for more of the games?

  • 5 years ago

    WGM Natalia_Pogonina

    @vizkris  I was surprised too since the Men's Superfinal got lots of updates.  Maybe I was expected to blog along the way? Laughing

    @CaroKannfan I meant that Black shouldn't have played c4 and fixed the pawn structure on the queenside, thus enabling me to launch an attack.

    @Moonflow The last column is titled Place, the one before the last - Score.

  • 5 years ago



    Probably you are looking at the crosstable.

     The Mesto column indicates she finished 4th ("Mecto" [pronounced maste -ah, assuming the Moscow pronunciation] means "place" in Russian) . She actually says she finished 4th if you read her commentary.

  • 5 years ago


    Thanks for sharing, Ponogina! Sorry that you finished 6th when you were #4 in ratings. I hope you do better next year!

  • 5 years ago


    I was surprised that chess.com didn't cover it in spite of one of their contributors (WGM Pogonina) competing in the tournament!

  • 5 years ago


    The media should have done a better job reporting it. You gals put on a show. Thanks Natalia.

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