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The Challenge
The World vs Natalia Pogonina
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[Natalia Pogonina]

[flip board] GAME OVER: 1/2-1/2 [flip board]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.g3 Bb4+ 5.Bd2 Be7 6.Bg2 c6 7.O-O O-O 8.Qc2 b6 9.Rd1 Nbd7 10.Bf4 Ba6 11.Nbd2 Rc8 12.Rac1 Nh5 13.Be3 Nhf6 14.Bg5 h6 15.Bxf6 Bxf6 16.b4 Bb7 17.Qb3 Ba8 18.c5 a5 19.a3 Rb8 20.Qc2 Bb7 21.e4 Qc7 22.Nf1 dxe4 23.Qxe4 Rfd8 24.Ne3 Ba6 25.Ng4 Bb5 26.Qc2 axb4 27.axb4 Be7 28.Ra1 h5 29.Ne3 Bf6 30.Ra3 bxc5 31.bxc5 Ra8 32.Rxa8 Rxa8 33.Bf1 Bxf1 34.Kxf1 e5 35.dxe5 Nxe5 36.Qe4 Nd7 37.Qf5 Ra7 38.Qxh5 g6 39.Qg4 Nxc5 40.h4 Ra4 41.Nc4 Qb7 42.Kg2 Qb3 43.Qc8+ Kg7 44.Nd6 Qxd1 45.Ne8+ Kf8 46.Nxf6+ Kg7 47.Ne8+ Kf8 48.Nf6+ Kg7 49.Ne8+ Kf8 50.Nc7+ Kg7 51.h5 Ra1 52.h6+ Kf6 53.Qh8+ Ke7 54.Qe8+ Kd6 55.Qd8+ Nd7 56.Ne8+ Kc5 57.Qe7+ Kb6 58.g4 Ra4 59.Qd8+ Ka6 60.Nf6 Rf4 61.Ne5 Rxf2 62.Kxf2 1/2-1/2
GAME OVER thank you for playingit is now 17:39:19

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 1068 OF 1068 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Premium Chessgames Member
  cro777: <karpkasp: 1) Why did Kramnik play the 3... b5 variant and Fritz the 5. Nc3 variant? Did Houdini or I miss something about the 5. axb5 variant? 2) Is there some games on the subject? The Chesslab database mentions only one game where 7. d5 e5?! was played in 2010>

The move 5.axb5 is considered to be an interesting idea. It was played by GM Alex Yermolinsky who continued:

5...cxb5 6.Nc3 Bd7 7.Nf3 Bd7 7.Nf3 e6 8.Be2 Nf6 9.0-0

7.d5 has been played both OTB and in correspondence chess but not at a higher level.

Generally, the choice of the move should primarily suit the player's style (and the player must be familiar with the type of position, of course).

In the game Bern - Vukcevic 17.Kh1 is a usual prophylactic move preparing f4. That was the best plan for White.

Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: <blue wave> Ref POGO endgame, the end is in sight! Its been exhausting yet very useful to see this through. Appreciate your help. morfishine chessforum
Premium Chessgames Member The registration for the third Chessgames Team Game has just begun:

Chessgames Challenge: Team White vs Team Black, 2011

The game is for premium members, however anybody may observe the game while it's in progress. Kibitzing will be in two distinct private forums which will, upon the conclusion of the game, be merged and made public.

May the best team win!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Thanks
Mar-08-11  karpkasp: <cro777> Thanks for mentioning the 7. Nf3 option. I found 3 games following the moves you indicated. In all these games, 9... Be7 was played while Houdini prefers 9... Bb4 with a small edge to white.

I played OTB the inferior 7. Bf4?! but white has nothing after 7... e6!

Finally, I think it's interesting to mention what I played the first time I was confronted to 3... b5.

I was really surprised to see Rybka playing this and I opted for an exchange sac

4. a4 c6 5. axb5 cxb5 6. b3!? (Now, I think 6. Nc3 is stronger) 6... e5 7. bxc4!? (7. Nf3 is quieter and maybe better) 7... Bb4+ 8. Bd2 Qxd4 9. Bxb4 Qxa1 10. cxb5 and white has some compensation because of the exposed situation of the black King and Queen.

I was really surprised to found a game where 7. bxc4 was played (by Kasparov!) but his opponent replied with 7... b4.

Do you know a game where the exchange sac was played? Houdini gives a small edge to black after 10... Be6, a correct evaluation I think.

Premium Chessgames Member
  cro777: <karpkasp: Do you know a game where the exchange sac was played?> An interesting short game with double exchange sac:

[Event "?"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2004.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Ottershagen Hans"]
[Black "Wrede Christian"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "D20"]
[PlyCount "33"]
[EventDate "2004.02.02"]
[Source "Opening Master"]
[SourceDate "2011.02.03"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. e4 b5 4. a4 c6 5. axb5 cxb5 6. b3 e5 7. bxc4 Bb4+ 8. Bd2 Qxd4 9. Bxb4 Qxa1 10. cxb5 Nf6 11. Bc4 Qd4 12. Qxd4 exd4 13. e5 Bb7 14. exf6 Bxg2 15. Nf3 Bxh1 16. Ne5 gxf6 17. Bxf7+

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: Today is Natalie Pogonina'a birthday. Happy Birthday Natalie!
Mar-13-11  karpkasp: <cro777> Thanks for this game! White can improve with 11. Nf3! with the edge according to Houdini.

The real test of the 3... b5 line is the 7. d5 variation.

Mar-13-11  karpkasp: During the game the line 22. exd5 exd5 23.cxb6 Qxb6 24. Bh3 was analysed and it was mentioned that 24... Rbd8 is better than 24... Rfd8.

click for larger view

I didn't understand exactly why at that time. Now, I think that 24... Rbd8 prevents pins on the b column.


24.... Rbd8 25. Nb3 axb4 26. axb4 Qxb4 27. Bxd7 Rxd7 28. Nc5 Re7 29. Rb1 Qa3 30. Rb3 Qa7 is equal according to Houdini 1.5

The same moves are losing after 24... Rfd8 because of the pin on the b column:

24... Rfd8 25. Nb3 axb4 26. axb4 Qxb4? 27. Bxd7 Rxd7 28. Nc5 Re7? 29. Rb1! 2.24 and then Houdini indicates 29... Qa5 30. Rb3 Qc7 31. Qb2 Qc8 32. Re1 Rxe1+ 33. Nxe1 Qg4 34. Rxb7

Of course, 24... Rfd8 is playable: black can "improve" with 28... Rdd8 1.20 but 26... Nf8! is the right move 0.10 according to Houdini.

Mar-23-11  bigchris: on 30 Jan 2011
<<Natalia Pogonina>: Thanks to everyone for playing...

Right now I am quite busy competing at the Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival; planning to play in the A group at Aeroflot Open next. Therefore, I am afraid I won’t be able to share my analysis & annotations with you promptly. Besides that, your own tree is probably more extensive and deeper since a lot of people have been contributing and, I guess, there has been a lot of discussing going on. On my side, I was playing rather straightforwardly and relying more on intuition than on sophisticated calculation.>

based on her comment, i was expecting her to give us a debriefing and share her thoughts--but just not promptly. it's now been almost 2 months. i'm about to give up on her. is anyone else still holding out?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: I'm still waiting for the in depth article by her husband :)
Premium Chessgames Member
  SamAtoms1980: <Tabanus: Extended list of analysts (please forgive me): ....... scormus, castle dweller, Thanh Phan, morfishine, SamAtoms1980, bayowulf, Garech, DaringSpeculator, Kinghunt, ....... WinKing, Once, zzzzzz. I love you all!>

Hey, I made your list :-)

Apr-10-11  kevins55555: Very few people voted h7. How annoying. It is the best according to Rybka.
Apr-22-11  LIFE Master AJ: <<Mar-23-11 Check It Out: I'm still waiting for the in depth article by her husband :)>>

Its due out in May ... of 2199. ;)

May-13-11  LIFE Master AJ: Did anyone ever find a forced win ... at ANY point ... for the "World Team" here? (Just curious.)
Premium Chessgames Member
  Golden Executive: 3 days ago, <PZ> wrote at Pogonina´s web site:

"I tried quitting chess a couple of times, but it is harder than it sounds. After all, I love the game. Especially attractive to me is the analytical aspect - evaluating the position and finding the optimal move. A park player's joy of setting up a clever trap or swindling is not what appeals to me.

Meanwhile, it is sad to realize that modern technologies leave us less and less space for creativity. I remember the times when PCs were no match for top humans. Now we are not even in contention.

Correspondence chess is still alive though, as a <smart operator> using a chess engine is stronger than the engine itself. However, taking into account the trend, quite soon there would be no need in humans at all, and a win in correspondence chess will be achieved by the player who has the better PC."

I wonder what did he mean about <smart operator>?


Premium Chessgames Member
  cro777: <GE: I wonder what did he mean about <smart operator>?>

Pogonina's husbend and manager Peter Zhdanov paraphrased Gary Kasparov talking about advanced chess (human player + computer):

"Weak human + machine + better process is superior to a strong computer alone and, more remarkably, superior to a strong human + machine + inferior process". (By process he understands human strategic guidance combined with the tactical acuity of a computer).

Commenting on the first free-style tournament Kasparov wrote: "The winner was revealed to be not a grandmaster with a state-of-the-art PC but a pair of amateur American chess players using three computers at the same time. Their skill at manipulating and “coaching” their computers to look very deeply into positions effectively counteracted the superior chess understanding of their grandmaster opponents and the greater computational power of other participants".

Spacebar Master is, by definition, <smart operator>.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Golden Executive: <cro777> Thanks for your reply. Reading your post quoting Kasparov, my brain immediately flashed: Did he lose the game vs IBM Deep Blue alone or vs the very first spacebar master (s) ? (rules did not allow humans “helping” engines). It is an old issue but still a mistery….What do you think ?
Premium Chessgames Member
  cro777: <Golden Executive> Solely the very first spacebar master knows the truth.
Premium Chessgames Member
  cormier: A Giri vs Kramnik, 2011
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <<LIFE Master AJ>: Did anyone ever find a forced win ... at ANY point ... for the "World Team" here?>

I certainly never did, not even close. The closest I got was lines involving 58.Ng2 rather than the 58.g4 that we actually played. The attractiveness of 58.Ng2 from my perspective was that starting the analysis several moves earlier most of the engines, including Rybka, evaluated the position as advantageous for Black with the lines involving 58...Qh1+ 59.Kh3 Rg1, even though they really weren't if one went deeper. So my hope was that she would enter this line due her (presumed) limited computer capabilities compared to ours. But by sliding forward or even just following the game it would become obvious to everyone, Natalia included, that these were not advantageous lines for Black. And, of course, she probably didn't even need the computer to see that.

Then again, I was probably justifiably considered a ranking member of the Flat Earth Society.

Oct-22-11  master of defence: its great
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: <CIO: I'm still waiting for the in depth article by her husband>

I am a bit disappointed he didn't want any of my song parodies for an accompanying soundtrack.

Jul-31-12  The Last Straw: the first move was d4??!!!
Premium Chessgames Member
  cro777: "This is one of my most memorable and demanding games" (Natalia Pogonina).

In an interview at , answering the question "What is your most memorable game?", WGM Natalia Pogonina said:

"Two chess games against the World. The first one took place at in 2009. I had White and won. <The second was played at 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."

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