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Chess is not only about winning

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Written by Administrator   
Tuesday, 26 January 2010

by Natalia Pogonina for her Tuesday column

Continuing last week's story about the '09 Russian Superfinal, I would like to share with you my game from round 3 against the experienced 2-time vice-World Champion IM Alisa Galliamova, who also happens to be the  ex-wife of GM Vassilii Ivanchuk.  We have played before twice: I won one game and drew one.

This time we were leading the tournament with 2/2. The public has dubbed our game as the duel of two chess mums: Alisa took a 2-year break from competitive chess to look after her baby, while I have been away for 8 months due to pregnancy.

Natalia Pogonina & Nikolai Zhdanov

On a separate note: just like in an RPG, each chess player has 5 main character attributes:
1)    Chess skills also referred to as chess class. There is even a saying in Russia you cant ruin your class through drinking. Smile For example, a master is supposed to remember how to play the Philidors position even if hes heavily drunk, sick and almost asleep.
2)    Chess shape that is your current chess conditioning. For example, you might be a great player, but if you havent had practice lately, you may easily forget how to play some technical positions, have problems recalling moves in the opening, calculate slowly, or just blunder.
3)    Physical shape an essential component of success. Chess games usually last for a few hours, so its very important to be fit. Tiredness or illness may easily cost you the full point.
4)    Mental shape that is how well your brain is operating at the moment. Sometimes it seems that everything is great: you are feeling well, your chess preparation and skills are excellent, you have been performing well in chess and then you just find out that today your head feels like having a holiday. It doesnt feel like doing any calculation at all, so you have to rely on your intuition only.
5)    Psychological shape if youre feeling down, unconfident, have no energy, are not motivated enough, tired of playing chess, etc., then chances are that you will perform much worse than you could have done otherwise.

The difference between the elite players (Anand, Topalov, Kramnik, Carlsen, etc.) and the rest is that the former can afford to play selectively (since their earnings are high enough), and at times when their 5 main attributes are at the top levels. "Regular" GMs are deprived of the luxury and have to travel from one event to another to make a living. Amateurs are at the worst possible situation: they either have to play on weekends, in the evening, or during a vacation. Naturally, that leaves hardly any choice and opportunity for maneuvering.

Getting back to the Superfinal, I was pretty rusty and in bad physical shape, etc. The media had even published reports saying that she obviously wont play since she has a newborn baby. However, I decided to enjoy the game & see what I could do. Unsurprisingly, not everything went as smoothly as usual.

IM Alisa Galliamova (2460) - WGM Natalia Pogonina (2501)

After this game I understood that my physical & chess shapes have been far from optimal, but I'm a stubborn fighter, so I decided to play on...

Alisa Galliamova (2460) - Natalia Pogonina (2501)

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Comments (2)
1. Written by This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it on 12:25 26 2010 .
Natacha! Ti samaya Chorochaya Mama! I to chto ti delaech dlya populyarnosti chaxmat zaslugivaet uvagenie i pochet!Ya gorgus i voschichaus vsem tvoim delam! S uvageniem Yuri Volkov.
2. Written by on 20:00 26 2010 .
! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! .

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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 26 January 2010 )
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