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News

Chess TV - New Episode

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Monday, 23 April 2012


Latest chess news brought to you by our friends from Sweden.

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Last Updated ( Monday, 23 April 2012 )
 

Chess Week on Twitter

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Sunday, 22 April 2012
Pogonina.com offers you a selection of some of the most informative and entertaining tweets from last week:

Happy birthday, Francesca!
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Alexandra Kosteniuk: 5 years ago at this very time I became a mother!

Yummy!
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Guess who's back, back again
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Official team tournaments online? Hmm...
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Don't trust girls!
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Long live the Queen!
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Clash of the titans
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Family Business
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Quote of the week
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The pros' and amateurs' opinions on Aronian-Kramnik odds are different, right?
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Have we missed some of the best tweets? You can contribute to our next top-10 stories chart by retweeting the post you like and adding @Pogonina to the message so that we can see it.

Episode 20

Episode 19

Episode 18

Episode 17

Episode 16

Episode 15

Episode 14

Episode 13

Episode 12

Episode 11

Episode 10

Episode 9

Episode 8

Episode  7

Episode 6

Episode 5

Episode 4

Episode 3

Episode 2

Episode 1


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Last Updated ( Sunday, 22 April 2012 )
 

Final Round, Decisive Game

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Tuesday, 17 April 2012



by Natalia Pogonina for her
Chess.com Tuesday column

Just like last year in Tbilisi, in 2012 in Gaziantep I had to score 2/2 in the final two games to qualify for the World Championship. In round 10 of the European Championship I won a nerve-racking game against Voinovich, and in the final round I was to face Inna Gaponenko.
 

The first 10 rounds used to start at 3 p.m., while the final one was scheduled for 11 a.m. Under such circumstances there was less time left for preparation. The most important thing is to have a proper rest, good sleep and the right mindset. Like most chess players, I am a night-owl, so I prefer playing after dinner as opposed to starting in the morning. In the latter case I am usually feeling sleepy, which is not a positive factor. 
 

Inna also had 6.5/10, but with a lower performance. Obviously, we were both aimed at winning the game. By reviewing her chess dossier, I realized that if I play 1e5, she would probably go for the exchange variation of the Ruy Lopez. A more aggressive move like 1c5 is likely to run into quiet positions after 2.c3. I also considered other first moves. On the one hand, I wanted to find a line with queens on the board and a complicated struggle. On the other hand, Inna had more experience in most variations I was looking at.
 

Choosing an opening for the final game is a very important decision. You have to find the proper balance between finding a line with good winning chances and playing too provocatively and self-destructing. Eventually I decided to opt for the exchange Ruy Lopez. The endgame is rather tricky, and Black scores rather decently there. Also, I was hoping that my opponent wouldnt be playing for a draw, because she was also highly motivated to win.

When playing a decisive game, nerves are a critical factor. Being stronger psychologically, not chess-wise, is often the key to success. You have to stay focused and avoid thinking about the consequences of winning or losing the game. Even if the stakes are high, stay cool. After all, the worst case scenario is that you will lose, but some defeats are even more valuable than victories. Hence, your duty is to do the best you can, and let it be.
 

So, the game started. The first critical moment occurred on move 15. I decided to trade a few pieces, although now I believe I should have kept a more complicated position. I didnt like the active knight on c4, so I decided to put pressure on it.
 

On move 18 I had to choose the pawn structure. The decision to trade the bishop was quite committal and probably objectively not the best. However, in the end the weakness of the queenside pawns payed off. Thus, from the practical point of view my choice was justified.
 

On move 18 Inna spent almost 50 minutes pondering her reply! I am not sure what happened. The position didnt require that much time. After that she was gradually moving towards time trouble, thus severely limiting her own chances of a positive outcome.
 

On move 22 I saw that my opponent had very little time left, so I decided to open up the position. The only drawback was that it could lead to simplifications and a draw. However, I reckoned that in an open position and in time trouble my opponent was likely to make a mistake, especially if she tried to find not the objectively strongest moves, but those that leave her a chance to play for a win. Another reason for opening up the position was the weakened White queenside.
 

On move 34 Inna sacrificed a pawn a dubious move in extreme time trouble. There was a chance to save the game, but she missed it. On move 37 she should have captured on c7 with the rook.
 

After the time control (move 40) it was my turn to start making mistakes. I was spending too much time due to feeling the weight of the upcoming victory. That is a bad idea, because you are likely to end up in permanent time trouble. On move 46 I blundered and made a move that could have led to a draw. My opponent didnt take advantage of it, and the game headed into a winning endgame for Black.
 

In mutual time trouble both of us overlooked a drawing continuation on move 57. Finally, I managed to convert a queen vs rook endgame within the 50-move limit, although with certain difficulties. Interestingly enough, earlier I had to win the same endgame in the final round of the Russian Superfinal-2010. You can learn more about this endgame by watching GM Sam Shanklands Chess.com videos.
 



Summarizing, both my opening choice and the decision to open up the game payed off. Nerves were the decisive factor. While it is generally better not to get into time trouble, in final round games maintaining enough time on the clock is a strict must-do.

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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 17 April 2012 )
 

Chess TV - New Episode

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Monday, 16 April 2012


Latest chess news brought to you by our friends from Sweden.

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Last Updated ( Monday, 16 April 2012 )
 

Chess Week on Twitter

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Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 15 April 2012
Pogonina.com offers you a selection of some of the most informative and entertaining tweets from last week:

Boring draw?
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Not the shape Anand wants to be in at the WC
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It's always nice when players are happy about their performances
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Russian Team Chess Championship blog - amazing read...but in Russian only!
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Russiachess.org: GM Dmitry Kryakvin - Round 5 report

Quote of the week
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Good idea that complements the previous tweet
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One more step towards the "golden chess billion"
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Still better than modern opening manuals
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Welcome to Moscow!
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Garry Kasparov is 49

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Have we missed some of the best tweets? You can contribute to our next top-10 stories chart by retweeting the post you like and adding @Pogonina to the message so that we can see it.

Episode 19

Episode 18

Episode 17

Episode 16

Episode 15

Episode 14

Episode 13

Episode 12

Episode 11

Episode 10

Episode 9

Episode 8

Episode  7

Episode 6

Episode 5

Episode 4

Episode 3

Episode 2

Episode 1


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Last Updated ( Sunday, 15 April 2012 )
 

Congratulations to Newly-Elected Grandmasters

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Saturday, 14 April 2012
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During the FIDE Presidential Board meeting in Elista, Russia, the following people became grandmasters:

GM      
Yu, Ruiyuan     CHN
Batchuluun, Tsegmed     MGL
 
WGM      
Mammadova, Gulnar Marfat qizi     AZE
Ziaziulkina, Nastassia     BLR
Goryachkina, Aleksandra     RUS
Ivakhinova, Inna     RUS

CONDITIONAL ON RATING      
GM      
Bajarani, Ulvi     AZE
WGM      
Umudova, Nargiz     AZE
Papp, Petra     HUN
Kharmunova, Nadezhda     RUS

The full list of new title-holders can be viewed here. As of today, there are 1366 GMs and 270 WGMs in the world.

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Last Updated ( Saturday, 14 April 2012 )
 

Hikaru Nakamura: Flawless Victory of Double Standards

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Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Hikaru_Nakamura_Victoria_1

Photo: FIDE.com

FIDE.com has surprised me a little: Hikaru Nakamura won an open tournament, and I have completely overlooked his event! The #1 US chess player scored a flawless 6/6 in the Canadian Grand Pacific Open. Time for congratulations?
 

A look at the final table informed me that the #6 chess grandmaster in the world has dispatched amateurs rated in the 1900+-2300+ range on his way to the top. Moreover, not a single player rated  2400 or above took part in the tournament. It is somewhat strange that the pros decided not to compete against Naka for some reason. Anyway, whatever. Maybe the noble top GM just wanted to arrange an exclusive holiday for amateurs?

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 11 April 2012 )
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Round 1 of the Russian Team Chess Championship

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Tuesday, 10 April 2012


An interesting video by Eugene Potemkin shot before the start of Round 1 of the Russian Team Chess Championship. He is walking around and congratulating all the players with a special holiday - the first day of the event. Hard-core Pogonina fans should watch the entire video, or scroll to 3:10.

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Castling

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Tuesday, 10 April 2012


by Natalia Pogonina for her
Chess.com Tuesday column

Castling is a move performed simultaneously by a king and a rook with the aims of ensuring the kings safety and connecting the rooks. There are three ways you can castle: long, short and 'artificial.' The latter is when your king and rook eventually get placed the short or long castle way, but it is done manually, move by move. Normally thats not what you want to do, although sometimes you cant castle for some reason, but still have to secure the king. In this article I wont be reminding you about the rules of castling, as this concept is rather basic and should be familiar to you already. (But if you don't know, here's a video explaining it).


Many people castle automatically without giving it any real thought. Not a good idea. Also, castling on the wrong side can be a critical mistake. These two issues will be addressed in more detail.
 

Castle long or short?

Usually when preparing a certain opening line you learn the typical plans, including a choice of where to castle. However, in real life we occasionally end up in relatively unfamiliar positions when we have to make up our mind ourselves. For example, if the opponent surprises us in the opening. When deciding, consider the following factors:

  1. Kings safety. Will your king be feeling safe on that flank? If your pawn structure is weakened and/or the enemy pieces are all targeting that side of the board, castling is possible only in case of emergency and after careful and precise calculation.
  2. Your plan. When anticipating an active play on one side of the board, you often might want to evacuate your king to the other side. This is especially true of pawn storms: you may not want to place your king behind the pawns you are planning to advance.
  3. Coordination of pieces. When castling, you have to evaluate where your pieces will be placed optimally.
  4. Potential endgame. The king is an active member of the team in the endgame. Therefore, if the queens are off early in the game, it often makes sense to activate the king and keep it in the center as opposed to castling. However, you should remember that an attack on the king is possible even without queens, so sometimes good old castling is still the best choice.


To castle or not to castle?

In the article Brave kings I have already mentioned a case when the king can be efficient in the centre. There is one more important technique. When the rook stays on h1(h8), supporting the h-pawn and participating in the attack, the king goes to f1(f8).  This is typical of, for instance, one of the lines in the French defense. The king can either remain on f1(f8), or hide on g2(g7) after g3(g6).


Interestingly enough, this latest castling was performed on move 48 in two games: Neshewat Garrison, Detroit 1994 and Somogyi Black, New York 2002.

Summarizing, we should be careful when following the book advice castle early. Choose wisely whether to castle or not, and which side to prefer.
 

IMG_5208.JPG

Needing two wins with Black out of two games, I was grim and focused. Photo from the official website of the EIWCC-2012.


In the game against WGM Jovana Vojinovich from the recent European Championship both of our kings had a chance to castle to any side of the board. They were like two cowboys staring tensely at each other before making a decisive shot. White didnt want to castle kingside in order to avoid being attacked. I also didnt feel like castling kingside, being somewhat mistakenly concerned about my opponents potential attack. Even Whites weakened pawn structure wasnt really an argument against castling queenside, or performing it artificially, due to the nature of the position it was closed. I decided to postpone castling to stay flexible and have both the option of castling queenside and placing the king on f8. Eventually, my king ended up feeling safe on f7, while the White king got slaughtered in the center.





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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 10 April 2012 )
 

Chess Week on Twitter

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Written by Administrator   
Saturday, 07 April 2012
Pogonina.com offers you a selection of some of the most informative and entertaining tweets from last week:

Ding Liren deserves a better international exposure, right?
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Very modest of a person who has lost just 36 tournament games in his life
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FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov turns 50
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Chess News: According to the results of our poll, most responders believe that Kirsan's Ilyumzhinov's activity was rather beneficial for chess than not.

When they see a convincing business plan for the show?
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Russia, the only place where having a WC Challenger's rating and the title of an European Champion still means you are only in contention for the national team
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Russiachess.org: Dmitry Jakovenko - Of course, I would like to become a member of Team Russia once again. (interview)

Quote of the week from a wise World Chess Champion
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Friendly match before the Anand-Gelfand clash

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Procrastinating, or is this a new top GM super-secret training plan?

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Up to 2906 at the moment!
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No surprises here again
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Have we missed some of the best tweets? You can contribute to our next top-10 stories chart by retweeting the post you like and adding @Pogonina to the message so that we can see it.

Episode 18

Episode 17

Episode 16

Episode 15

Episode 14

Episode 13

Episode 12

Episode 11

Episode 10

Episode 9

Episode 8

Episode  7

Episode 6

Episode 5

Episode 4

Episode 3

Episode 2

Episode 1


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Last Updated ( Saturday, 07 April 2012 )
 
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