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Press Conference in Moscow

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Sunday, 17 August 2014

Kateryna Lagno, Alexandra Kosteniuk, Valentina Gunina, Sergei Rublevsky (coach), Natalia Pogonina, Olga Girya, Andrei Filatov (RCF President)

Upon arriving to Moscow from Tromso, the women's Olympic chess champions were invited to participate in a large press conference attended by most of the leading Russian TV channels. Below you can find some of the reports.

Channel One
Russia 1 (starts at 45:15)
Russia 24
NTV Plus

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Last Updated ( Monday, 18 August 2014 ) Natalia Pogonina is the Prettiest Female Chess Player in the World

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Sunday, 17 August 2014 selected Natalia Pogonina for the "girl of the day" category once again. The tweet says: "The most beautiful female chess player in the world is called Natalia Pogonina. Check out a large gallery of her images at our site".

The Russian women's chess team has also been recently featured in this nomination.

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Last Updated ( Sunday, 17 August 2014 )

Natalia Pogonina: 20 Questions (Kingpin Interview)

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Monday, 16 September 2013
Natalia Pogonina has been interviewed by Kingpin Chess Magazine

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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 Womens Chess Champion (team and individual gold), European Womens Team Chess Champion (team and individual gold), Russian Womens Team Chess Champion (team and individual gold) and Russian Womens Chess Champion.

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Last Updated ( Monday, 16 September 2013 )

Natalia Pogonina: "One does not become a GM by only reading books"

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Saturday, 07 September 2013

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Natalia Pogonina was interviewed by about chess books, DVDs, chess training, coaching, Magnus Carlsen vs. Viswanathan Anand and on other topics.

1. As a reviewer it is of major interest for me to know, which books strong players, who reached the highest degree in chess, found especially useful and which they would recommend for the basic education of everyone who wishes to become better in chess.

Here is a list of some of my favorite chess books.

2. What do you think about the development of chess literature, especially with some promising publishing houses available nowadays, i.e. Quality Chess, Everyman Chess, Gambit books, Chess-Stars, NewInChess just to name a few. Do you have any idea which could improve modern chess literature?

In fact, I am positively surprised that authors are still working on chess books. As far as I know, an average chess book sells less than 2,000 copies, so the profit from releasing it doesnt compensate the efforts of the author, especially if we are talking about the top players. I think most of them just love the game and feel like promoting it, sharing their passion with other people. Writing chess books is a form of educational charity.

Unfortunately, there are also many negative issues here. Certain publishers go for quantity, not quality. It is easier for them to release 10 mediocre titles than one real bestseller. They cut production costs by underpaying the authors (and, consequently, agreeing to work with just about anybody who is willing to accept their conditions), not reviewing the manuscripts well enough (resulting in misprints and chess errors), choosing generic and unattractive covers. Also, some of them are too inefficient and slow: the production cycle lasts so long that when the book actually makes it live, it is already outdated.

I believe that in general the trend is shifting towards e-publishing, and many publishing houses havent yet adapted to this new business framework. We will see how it goes.

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Last Updated ( Saturday, 07 September 2013 )

Natalia Pogonina Became a Member of the Saratov Region Governor's Council

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Friday, 28 June 2013

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Recently Natalia Pogonina became a member of the Saratov region Governor's Council. Her main responsibility there will be to create a program of professional sports development in the region.

Members of the working group:

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Last Updated ( Friday, 28 June 2013 )

GQ (Spain) on Girls in Chess

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Tuesday, 11 June 2013

GQ (Spain) published an interesting article about girls in chess. If you don't know Spanish, you can always use Google Translate or just click on the links to view the images of beautiful chess-playing girls, articles and videos.

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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 11 June 2013 )

Susan Polgar on Natalia Pogonina

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Thursday, 25 April 2013
Today Natalia was honored to receive a generous praise from the legendary VIII Women's World Chess Champion and Chairman of FIDE Women's Chess Commission Susan Polgar:

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 25 April 2013 )

Natalia Pogonina Nominated for "Girl of the Month" by Russia 2 TV Channel

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Friday, 19 April 2013
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A leading Russian channel Russia-2 has a sports program called All included. Unsurprisingly, one of their most popular projects is the Girl of the month contest. Most nominees are well-known female athletes, while some artists are also invited from time to time.

The reigning Olympic womens chess champion & Russian womens chess champion Natalia Pogonina was recently featured in the program. We would like to share with you the official pictures and a few more exclusive images:


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Last Updated ( Friday, 19 April 2013 )

Chess Cash Kings-2012: Comments

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Monday, 11 February 2013

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The Chess Cash Kings-2012 article has received a decent amount of attention from the media, including, but not limited to:

The New York Times

Business Standard (feedback)

To address the most popular questions, concerns and misunderstandings, we wanted to provide a few brief comments.

1. Earnings and prize money are two different things. Many readers referred to the figures as "X makes Y per year" and commented on whether it is a lot ("I didn't know that one can make his living playing chess full-time"), or little ("if #10 in the world earns only..."). However, chess players have a variety of income sources apart from prize money - endorsements, coaching, writing books, giving simuls and so on. Check out the Making Money in Chess article for a larger list. Hence, in some cases there is a large gap between aggregate income and prize money.
2. It's about transparency of prize winnings and promoting chess as opposed to monitoring someone else's income. Taxes and expenses associated with hiring seconds/traveling/purchasing equipment were mentioned a few times. This is true, but the list was supposed to provide an estimate on the prize winnings. We are not trying to stick one's nose into the chess players' pockets and figure out how much cash they have made. It is their personal business.
3. Women's list. We haven't made up our minds yet on whether to create a separate list of female chess players with highest tournament earnings or not. Besides, thanks to the upcoming Women's World Chess Championship match, at least one women is expected to make it to the top-10 "open" list.
4. How accurate is the list? On the one hand, most appearance fees and certain prizes are being kept secret, so we can't be sure about anything. On the other hand, we have conducted a few interviews with top players and organizers that have helped shed light on the missing data. Another indicator of our rating list being reasonably accurate is that so far we haven't received any complaints from the featured (or non-featured) players. Of course, some of them might have overlooked the article or ignored it, but it's not likely.

Thanks for your feedback and advice on how to make the Chess Cash Kings rating list better!

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 14 February 2013 )

Natalia Pogonina Interviewed by Russian Communal Standard Magazine

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Tuesday, 22 January 2013

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Chess is an ancient game that has captured the hearts of many people. Throughout history chess has been popular among thinkers, poets and rulers. Nowadays this is a game played by millions. While at first glance chess might seem to be dull and boring, in reality it is full of action and tension. By playing chess one gets to develop one's logical sense and improve the thinking process. A great benefit of chess is that by learning to plan our own actions and anticipate the activity of other people we gain an important real-life skill. Chess helps to become more successful, expand one's horizons, achieve new goals in one's career and personal life. Becoming more confident, stress resistant and stronger analytically are other advantages of studying chess.

Natalia Pogonina knows about this like few others do. Among her multiple prestigious titles are: Olympic team & individual chess champion (2012), Russian women's chess champion (2012), European Team Champion and runner-up at World Team Chess Championship (2011), winner of European Club Cup (2011). Natalia shares her thoughts in an exclusive interview for Russian Communal Standard Magazine.

- Natalia, can women compete on par with men in chess? For example, in tennis, swimming and many other sports men are just stronger physically...
- They can, but it's a rare phenomenon. Among the world's top-100 players there is just one lady. The main reason for this is probably gender discrimination. Very few parents encourage their daughters to attend chess clubs. Also, many coaches are reluctant to work with girls, because they treat them as the inferior sex chess-wise and believe that they will never become good players anyway. Additionally, after marriage and, especially, giving birth, it is typical of women to quit. Professional chess players have to travel from one tournament to another, and this is not an attractive lifestyle for most married women. Nonetheless, I hope that we will be seeing more strong female chess players in the future.

- How is "women's chess" different from "men's chess"?
- Men are less emotional and more pragmatic. Let's say there is a chance to a tie in a large open tournament. Quite a few male pros are likely to negotiate the outcomes of the final round and avoid taking risks. Women usually fight till the end; women's chess is very exciting and unpredictable.

- Male chess players are often sporting old sneakers, dirty baggy jeans with coffee stains...On the contrary, women are dressed stylishly and wear make-up. Should a chess player care about his appearance and outfit, or should he only care about his chess performance and look whatever way he wants to?
- In my opinion, it is important to be well-groomed and elegantly dressed. Of course, a lot depends on the status of the tournament. If it is an open event for amateurs, then there is no need to impose a strict dress-code. After all, they are paying their own money to compete. Some of the guys are coming to the playing venue right after their real job, being tired and barely catching their breath. Talking about super tournaments and official events, everyone is supposed to be dressed respectably. The spectators & the sponsors won't be happy if the players look like homeless people. Hence, most of the top grandmasters to care for their public image. Of course, there are exceptions, the nutty professor-type GMs, but when there are few of them, then it's not a problem. Just adds some spice to the game.

- Is it true that some Chinese players are using special balms in order to confuse the opponents? What other means can women use to throw their opponents off balance?
- The Chinese team is indeed well-known for applying certain balms that are mind-expanding. Also, they have special teas which increase a person's concentration. Women in general? They can try to catch a man off-guard at the board by wearing a sexy decollete, or surprise a woman by buying a new flashy blouse. Chess history knows a lot of behind-the-scene tricks: kicking under the table, muttering, inviting hypnotists. Some people are not very picky when their career success is at stake. Also, chess players are expected to be ready to take doping tests, which is kind of silly. The list of forbidden medicines is that same as for the other athletes, while it should have been entirely different. After all, the key component of a chess player's performance is how well one's brain is working. Much more important is the problem of cheating prevention, i.e., making sure that no one is getting human or computer assistance during the games.

- You, chess players, can foresee the moves of the opponent. And how can a regular person learn how to think strategically and plan ahead? Any quick tips?
- Chess is an excellent model of life and a good simulator of making decisions. It teaches us to carefully assess the situation, consider all the factors involved and come to the right conclusion. The game is beneficial for both kids and their parents. Therefore, it is not surprising that the number of schools which are including chess into the study plan is increasing, while private lessons are becoming more and more popular among adults. Of course, chess is not the only way of acquiring such skills. For example, studying exact sciences has a similar effect.

- Such long tournaments as the Olympiad that can last for weeks must be devastating. How do you stay in shape?
- I like soccer, volleyball, basketball, skating, jogging, dancing. Besides, going out for a walk is a good idea.

- There is a common belief that all the chess players were nerds at school and had only excellent marks. Also, they are supposed to be Math wizards. Is this the case with you?
- At school I did better in the humanities than in Math and didn't have all A-s. However, I have a college degree in Law with a GPA average of 5.0 (the highest possible in Russian universities -, which is a subject for good-natured jokes coming from my friends and relatives.

Natalia Pogonina is one of the few women in the history of chess who managed to break the 2500 FIDE rating threshold, which is traditionally associated with the playing strength of a GM 

- How many hours per day should one study to reach a professional level in chess?
- This is a tough question. There are different layers of professionalism in chess. If we are talking about someone who is a contender for the World Chess Champion title, then he is expected to work on chess full-time, about as much as people do at their regular job. Women are generally less organized and less willing to study independently. A lot depends on the person. By far not all of us have a strict schedule. Sometimes I study vigorously, and sometimes hardly do anything at all. There are also chess addicts, of course. To sum it all up, professional chess requires consistent concentration of one's physical and mental energies. Caissa doesn't tolerate unfaithfulness.

Interviewer: Veronika Fomicheva

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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 22 January 2013 )
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