Please turn on javascript in your browser to play chess.
Grandmaster Natalia Pogonina

Grandmaster Natalia Pogonina

Natalia Pogonina : About me

Natalia Pogonina : About me

Natalia Pogonina

Natalia Pogonina

(born on March 9, 1985) is one of the best female chess players in the world, member of the Russian Olympic chess team.

Woman Grandmaster (WGM), three-times European champion (U16, twice U18), bronze prize winner at the World Championship (U18) and European Women Championship, winner of the gold medal at the 1st International Mind Sports Games, co-winner of the 2008 Student World Championship, and #1 at multiple prestigious international tournaments (2005 – Bykova Memorial, 2007 – Rudenko memorial, 2009 – Moscow Open, etc.). Olympic Chess Champion (team & individual gold medals in 2012), reigning Russian Women's Chess Champion.

Ranked as 3rd most successful female chess player in the world in 2009 by the Association of Chess Professionals.

Her current FIDE rating is over 2500 – a mark that is associated with the title of a male Grandmaster.

Other notable facts:

  • Actively promotes chess by writing articles, commentating on top chess events, giving simultaneous exhibitions, judging contests, communicating with chess fans, etc.
  • Author of potential bestseller Chess Kama Sutra
  • Won a vote chess game against the World in 2010 (almost 4000 people from over 100 countries participated)
  • Has been featured in NY Times, Washington Post, Times, Toronto Star and other influential media
  • Natalia’s website– – is one of the most popular chess blogs in the world

  • Grandmaster Natalia Pogonina

    • Posted: Aug 05 2010 08:56
      Subscriber Marinkatomb said
      Hi Natalia

      I have a question about Magnus Calsen. It strikes me that his opening preparation against the top players in the World generally aims for equality out of the opening. Unless his opponent makes an opening error (which at that level is extremely rare) a chess engine will more often than not evaluate his positions as equal. Do you think this is a deliberate ploy on his part to avoid silicon preparations by his opponents? I have the feeling that he has such belief in his middle/end game that he doesn't really attempt to do much in the opening phase except stay out of trouble...
    • Posted: Aug 08 2010 14:50
      Subscriber Grampy Bobby said
      Natalia, would you concur with my long held notion that one measure of any chess player's relative greatness and prowess is the capacity/ability to move an opponent of comparable strength from Point A to Point B, during the fray, against his or her will?
    • Posted: Aug 13 2010 17:31
      Subscriber Natalia Pogonina said
      @ChessPraxis I agree with you, a lot in chess depends on psychology, intuition, senses. Especially in my case, since I'm a very sensual type of person.
    • Posted: Aug 13 2010 17:32
      Subscriber Natalia Pogonina said
      @durienb Will try them someday...probably
    • Posted: Aug 13 2010 17:34
      Subscriber Natalia Pogonina said
      @Marinkatomb Magnus is incredible in this respect. Unlike Kasparov, he is not fighting for an advantage from move 1, rather plays seemingly carelessly. His skills in the middlegame and endgame (especially) are exceptional though. However, he needs to work on his openings too, otherwise he might face problems in a match vs a player of Anand or Kramnik's calibre.
    • Posted: Aug 13 2010 17:36
      Subscriber Natalia Pogonina said
      @Grampy Bobby Sometimes. Or, also popular, evaluate the position more precisely. Often both players calculate correctly to a certain point and both believe they have the upper hand, while in the reality only one of them is right.
    • Posted: Aug 13 2010 17:39
      Subscriber Natalia Pogonina said
      @Habeascorp Embarassing? Well, I used to forget my openings or mix up preparation sometimes. Drew a knight and two connected pawns vs knight endgame once. Got mated without seeing it.

      Less chess related: a chess book had a story about me forgetting the keys to my hotel room and having to play the game in a swimming suit, thus distracting the whole playing hall. A made-up accident though.
    • Posted: Aug 14 2010 08:30
      Subscriber durienb said
      Well, I guess maybe the Benko is the only gambit you play other than QG? Or else you'd rather not give away any secrets in the public domain?? I know you're very busy nowadays, but if you ever decide to play a few friendlies on RHP I'd be honoured to be the first to have the chance to play you with the Cochrane (as white and/or black). Safe to say you'd be assured victory, but also hopefully enjoy a good tactical game with a fairly strong woodpusher! Thanks again for the posts and best of luck.
    • Posted: Aug 15 2010 07:07
      Standard member sweet girl said
      Hi Natalia Pogonina,
      It is very nice 2 c that u give answer 2 everyone.
      My Question: Is playing with computer restrict players thinking capability? What is your opinion? how much u like Natalia vs computer than human players?
      My thought: Computer always play in a fix pattern. Hence v r thinking in same direction. V know hat if I play this move then comp. always move that. If computer think 10 moves then v can thinking 11 moves and easily defeat the comp. As an engineer i also know computer programming hence win with normal chess programs. But i never play very good chess softwares or never work with super computers hence cannot say that playing with computer blocks your thinking. A small mistake with computer never gives u another chance 2 win while there is always possibility 2 win with human players and hence i like 2 play human player than computers .
    • Posted: Aug 15 2010 14:21
      Subscriber Marinkatomb said
      Aha! I see you are posting from China which answers my question which was going to be "Can you access this site from China?"

      I've been following the Russia vs China match on The Chinese look up for a fight! Best of luck in the rest of the contest.
    • Posted: Aug 18 2010 17:15
      Standard member Intermezzo said

      I have a comment and a question for Natalia on Magnus Carlsen.

      Regarding Marinkatomb's post about his opening prep. I'd be tempted to agree with your view point but I don't think that it entirely fits with the Great Dane's behaviour. From what I've seen he has developed something of a penchant for the Dragon variation and I don't think ANYONE invites that opening line if they are aiming only for equality in the opening phase...

      Now another Magnus related question for Natalia. Will you be watching or taking part in the "Magnus against the world" game and if so what opening do you think we all need to vote for if we are to have any chance of getting a result?


    • Posted: Aug 18 2010 17:30
      Standard member wiz56 said
      how do i strentgen my mid game
    • Posted: Aug 24 2010 12:18
      Standard member Habeascorp said
      Thank you for your insightful replies so far. A few more if I may:

      1. Do you ever not play a novelty in a game because the game is not important enough to merit letting out your secret preparation?
      2. What criteria do you use to resign? Does it depend on your perception of your opponent's ability? If there was a mate on teh board would you let your opponent play it out?
      3. Does Magnus make a good model?

      Thank you for your continued patience with us mortals.
    • Posted: Aug 29 2010 04:14
      Subscriber Natalia Pogonina said
      @sweet girl Facing computers makes one play too cautiously and prefer closed structures. Therefore, it's not really interesting. Besides, weak engines play in a weird way, while top ones are simply too good.
    • Posted: Aug 29 2010 04:15
      Subscriber Natalia Pogonina said
      @Marinkatomb Thanks, at least we (women) won both the standard and rapid matches!
    • Posted: Aug 29 2010 04:16
      Subscriber Natalia Pogonina said
      @wiz56 I have written an article on how to improve one's middlegame recently-
    • Posted: Aug 29 2010 04:20
      Subscriber Natalia Pogonina said
      @Habeascorp 1. No, the theory is developing so rapidly that it makes no sense to try to save novelties for a later day. Someone else will play it before you for sure. Also, I can't boast having many tremendous novelties at my disposal. 2.Why play until mate? Normally I resign when I am absolutely sure that my opponent will be able to win. So, of course, it depends on who I am playing against. In fact, tenacious defence has allowed me to save lots of points against grandmasters even being down material or totally lost (something like -2 according to chess engines or even worse). 3. Let the people who hired him analyse that
    • Posted: Aug 29 2010 04:26
      Subscriber Natalia Pogonina said
      @Intermezzo That game should be very interesting, and I was very glad to have had a chance to help arrange it. I might take a look, but won't be "taking part", I guess, since I have won my game vs the World at before ;-) My take is that Magnus is a strong favorite to win. As to the opening...I don't know...something sharp probably, this will increase the chances of him blundering (since he will have only 1 minute per move). In a positional game his chances are higher since the move made will basically be a random choice between Naka's, Lagrave's and Polgar's opinions...

      As to the comment: yes, sometimes he plays ambitious and highly theoretical lines like the Dragon too, but that is relatively rare as compared to other guys of his level.
    • Posted: Sep 23 2010 14:39
      Subscriber gregsflat said
      Sex principles in chess moves, Natalia, you ROCK!
    • Posted: Oct 19 2010 20:30
      Standard member Lifehouse said
      Comment removed
    • Posted: Nov 17 2010 03:19
      Standard member marlusk said
      Any new books in the works???
      Your bio is an inspiration!
    • Posted: Nov 17 2010 20:07
      Subscriber Natalia Pogonina said
      @marlusk Thanks. I am working on two books - Chess Kama Sutra & Grandmaster Natalia Pogonina teaches chess.
    • Posted: Nov 22 2010 15:27
      Subscriber greenpawn34 said
      'Grandmaster Natalia Pogonina Teaches Chess.'

      A beginners book or one for the lower end of the middle
      market. 1400-1800. Often feel this bunch are neglected
      and it's a shame as it is them that buy the majority of the books.

      The books are either too basic for them or go right above their heads.
    • Posted: Nov 26 2010 20:29
      Standard member Checkers42 said
      Whats more challenging, chess or parenthood?
    • Posted: Dec 06 2010 21:15
      Subscriber musirapha said
      Hi Natalia,
      Of course sorry about your result in the Women World Championships.
      Seems that Baira played some marvellous chess, but your play seemed quite passive to me. In both games I guess you lost because of a wrong position of your queen. Do you agree with this ? Did you know well your opponent ?
      How did you feel psychologically ? Thanks for your answers, and the best to you in the future.
    • Posted: Dec 16 2010 04:56
      Subscriber Nicholas Karras said
      Hi Natalia,
      Thanks for all your answers. Sometimes I worry if current chess can withstand all this super computer analysis. Although it seems that it is infinite I get concerned if we can continue playing with lesser and lesser amounts of originality.
      Do you think Chess 960 will take over at some point?
      I have an idea of a new piece. This new piece will move like a Night and a Bishop with limited control on the number of squares when it acts as a Bishop. If we add these 2 pieces we will be playing on a 10 x 10 board -- 100 squares. The game would be so complicated that it may be immune to analysis.
      As a GM do you feel we need such a change. Thank you and best wishes to you.
    • Posted: Dec 30 2010 18:21
      Subscriber Natalia Pogonina said
      @greenpawn34 Definitely not for complete beginners. Aimed at club players and above.

      @Checkers42 Parenthood, since chess can be a minor part of parenthood (if one decided to teach her/his kids how to play).

      @musirapha Baira is my best friend. It was hard for me psychologically to face her. Also, I was burnt-out after sharing 1st at the Superfinal. Other factors too. Thanks!

      @Nicholas Karras I am skeptical about switching to Fischer Random or some other chess variation. Chess is very far from having being explored to the end.
    • Posted: Jan 01 2011 20:29
      Standard member janerules88 said
      Its really cool ur up there with the me hope but somehow i recn its already impregnated at birth...i wish u well..X
    • Posted: Sep 09 2013 07:25
      Standard member ValterSkelter said
      "one of the best female chess players in the world", also the most beautiful one... not that this matters to your rating! ahah
    Last Post 15 May '15
    Posts 5
    Blog since 02 Jul '10