Women's World Team Chess Championship: Part I

  • WGM Natalia_Pogonina
  • | Jan 3, 2012

The World Team Chess Championship is one of the most prestigious team events, although women’s championships have a very short history. This year’s edition in Mardin, Turkey was only the third. The previous two tournaments ended in the same way: 1. China 2. Russia 3. Ukraine. What about the year 2011?

Mardin is an unusual city on the south-east of Turkey close to the border of Syria. Its town center is located on a mountain.

mardin.jpgThe weather there is warm and sunny even in December. The participants were hosted in a wonderful hotel Erdoba Elegance two minutes outside the city. Among other notable things one can mention that each evening, the restaurant was dedicated to a national cuisine of one of the teams. The first day was “Russian”. Smile


Our team (click the link for some nice pics), the reigning Olympic and European champions, was composed of the following players: Nadezhda Kosintseva (2546), Tatiana Kosintseva (2526), Valentina Gunina (2514), Natalia Pogonina (2451), and Alexandra Kosteniuk (2439). Yuri Dokhoian stepped down as the team’s captain and was assisting the Kosintseva sisters in preparation, while Alexei Korotylev took over his duties.

Usually the main competitors for the medals are China, Russia, Ukraine and Georgia, although this year India also looked powerful enough to be in contention. Koneru Humpy (rated over 2600 at that time) had finally agreed to participate, thus greatly increasing the might of the team. Ukraine, on the contrary, was having a relatively hard time since Kateryna Lahno didn’t take part.

The tournament is held as a round robin, thus eliminating the randomness of Swiss events where top dogs sometimes don’t even get to face each other. All in all 10 teams were allowed to participate – some from the Olympiad, others as continental champions. A brief overview of the schedule for our team revealed that we were to play face three of our main competitors in the first five rounds: Vietnam, Ukraine, Greece, Georgia, China.

The first round didn’t bring any surprises for us. We defeated Vietnam with a minimal advantage (2.5-1.5). While our opponents’ ratings were not that high, we knew quite well that they have a solid team.

The central match of the round, India vs Ukraine, ended in a draw. Koneru defeated Ushenina, and Zhukova struck back against Padmini.

Other results of the 1st round: Turkey-China 1.5-2.5; RSA-Georgia 0-4; Armenia-Greece 4:0.  

In the 2nd round we were challenged by Ukraine. The match was rather nerve-wracking, but in the end we won 3-1.

Let me share with you two more game fragments from that round which I found interesting. The first one is about the perils of pawn-grabbing.

Thanks to this victory, Vietnam prevailed over Greece.

And here is an example of energetic play:

This was the only win in the Georgia-Armenia match. China whitewashed RSA 4-0; India beat Turkey 3.5-0.5.

The third round was an upset for the Russian team. First our captain allowed Nadezhda Kosintseva to agree to a draw in a much better position against Dembo, and then I suffered an unexpected crushing defeat.

Valya Gunina won against Fakhiridu to level the score, and thus we only tied for a draw with Greece. Moreover, the surprises continued as Georgia lost to Vietnam 1-3, and Ukraine (average rating 2446) collapsed 1.5-2.5 against Turkey (average rating 2066)!

China pulled off a remarkable win against the solid Armenian team: 4-0. India steamrolled RSA 4-0.

After three rounds China had 6 team points out of 6, India and Russia – 5/6, Georgia and Vietnam – 4/6.

China’s performance has been most impressive so far. It was clear that all of their players were in a good shape and very motivated. But the main clashes were yet to follow, including the widely anticipated match of the giants: Russia vs China.


To be continued…


  • 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


    It takes a very modest and good person to show a game where they lost...I congratulate you on your willingness to do it especially as you say it was a surprise...Surprised

  • 5 years ago


    Superb chess article and pics. Thank you Natalia. Happy New Year with best wishes for you, your chess, your family. Wink

  • 5 years ago


    nice tactics

  • 5 years ago


    nice article, Natalia !

  • 5 years ago


    position in move 24 :







    here i'm in black and i'm not sure that pogonina know this position it's my position it seems that the black player is a grand master raiting 2700 but who is he is me how we know the player and h(s play or his systéme of thinking it's not easy to know it.

  • 5 years ago


    Nice article!

  • 5 years ago


    OVAIDO's lesson of chess stratégie is flippin awesome. Natalia sure is lucky, I wish I had a teacher like this...

  • 5 years ago


     i give you natalia some lesson of chess stratégie:

    the bord:







    here when we play in black we should prepare much that the response of 1d4

    here we can play 1...Nf6 and fater e6 and trying to go in equal postion after 31 move for example 1...Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Qc2 c5 5 d*c5 00

    and here black has a chance to win the game it's hard for white to win this







    here we see that the king side of white has some block the khint has the best choice is 6 Nf3 so eliminate 6 Nh3 bacause the knit in the corner is not the best choice.

    and the bishope is not yest ready to play because the pown in e2

    and black has some attack with the kingt in a6 to  go inc5  after e4 attacing the queen in c3 because the bishop here wi'll tacikn the kint in c3 .

  • 5 years ago


    good natalia! i confirm that chess is so tactical and stratégical here you are in turkey so is sunny when you play next time in turkey and it's sunny be careful it's one thing to memorising your game is the weather.

    but i see that you progress just training in some position and final game in 31 move and here you see your level when player has a 2542 raiting he should trainig match in move 31 and much position like 1000 position  evry day i know it's not easy but it's the best way to progress.



  • 5 years ago

    WGM Natalia_Pogonina

    @elipb Yes, both of them blundered. The variations are provided, so I am somewhat surprised by your question. Wink

    @flashboy2222 Not enough confidence in herself, thus low on time.

    @ Lawdoginator "Q: How do you compose the Russian chess team? A: Find five models, teach them chess for three days, and there you are." Laughing

  • 5 years ago


    i like the way your write! I'm looking forward to hearing (among other things) of more notable things about hotel Erdoba Elegance :)

  • 5 years ago


    nice article with photos and games, waiting for Part II.

  • 5 years ago


    I think Natalia's articles are always entertaining and the pictures really add a special touch to them. I look forward to reading the next part.

  • 5 years ago


    Thanks for the prose and the games.  I love the photo :)

  • 5 years ago



  • 5 years ago


    in the koneru ushenina game, how come both qxh6 and gxh6 are marked as blunders? i can't figure out they both both blundered twice in a row?

  • 5 years ago

    NM flashboy2222

    lol y did ur teammate agree 2 a draw?

  • 5 years ago


    nice view.... thanks a lot idol. GOD bless

  • 5 years ago


    Your team looks more like Russian Super Models rather than chess players. 

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