Natalia Pogonina (born 9 March 1985) is a Russian chess player who has been representing her country since 2004. She holds the titles of Woman Grandmaster and Grandmaster of Russia. Her highest FIDE rating was 2501.
Natalia is the reigning Olympic Women’s Chess Champion (team and individual gold), European Women’s Team Chess Champion (team and individual gold), Russian Women’s Team Chess Champion (team and individual gold) and Russian Women’s Chess Champion.
What is your earliest memory of playing chess?
I was 5 and my Grandpa taught me how to play.
What is your most memorable game?
Two chess games against the World. The first one took place at Chess.com in 2009. I had White and won. The second was played at ChessGames.com and I drew with the Black pieces. A few thousand players from over 100 countries participated in those two matches, making the games by far my most memorable and demanding.
What was your worst defeat?
I can’t single out one game. Generally speaking, bleak, weak-willed losses.
Which living player do you most admire?
Magnus Carlsen and Vassily Ivanchuk.
What/who is your favorite band/music/composer?
I listen to a large spectrum of music. A-ha as a band and Roberto Cacciapaglia as a composer.
What do you consider to be your greatest weakness as a chess player?
Why should I help my opponents prepare a dossier? ☺
What is your greatest strength?
Being a rather consistent player. In other words, I hardly ever perform way below my rating. It is a strength when it comes to team events and sometimes a weakness in terms of winning fewer tournaments/scoring fewer GM norms, etc.
Which book would you take to a desert island?
Terre des Hommes by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
How would you characterize your chess-playing style?
Against which player do you have the worst results?
Tatiana Kosintseva. I am not sure if the database I am using now has the correct statistics, but it says I have a -6 +2 =3 score against her.
If you could edit your past, what would you change?
What has been your biggest disappointment?
There have been upsets of some one sort or other, but I wouldn’t say I have ever had any major disappointments.
What makes you happy?
What do you most dislike about your appearance?
I’m OK with it ☺.
Who is the chess writer you most enjoy reading, and why?
Mark Dvoretzky. His books are challenging, instructive and very professionally written.
Which single thing would most improve the global chess scene?
In which tournament do you most like to compete?
The Chess Olympiad.
If you could go back in time, where would you go?
I would love to visit a medieval tournament and watch knights battle.
Who is the most courteous person you have played?
We haven’t played each other, but the first person who comes to the mind is David Navara.
Are there any other sports/activities at which you excel?
I wouldn’t say I excel in anything. I have a degree in Law and practice a lot of physical sports – football, volleyball, basketball, jogging.
How do you relax?
Take a walk in the park or spend my time closer to nature in one way or another.
What is your most treasured possession?
It may sound trivial but I guess it’s my laptop.
What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
Live an inspired life!