WFM (2001), WIM (2002), WGM (2004).
WGM Natalija Andreevna Pogonina was born in Vladivostok, Primorsky Krai and learned to play chess at the age of 5 from her grandfather.
Pogonina’s early successes include winning the Russian U14 Girls championship in 1998. She was =1st at the Russian U18 Girls in 2001 and is two-times European girls champion (U16 in 2000, U18 in 2003), bronze winner at the World Championship (U18) (Girls) in 2003, =1st at the Russian Junior Championship (Girls) in 2003 and 2004, and outright winner of that event in 2005, She also won bronze at the 10th European Individual Women's Championship (2009). She contested the 2004 Women's World Championship and the Women's World Chess Championship (2010) but was eliminated in the first round on both occasions. In March 2012, she scored 7.5/11 in the European Individual Women's Championship (2012) (EIWC) to place =5th (10th on tiebreak and with a TPR of 2501), and then followed up in June 2012 by scoring an undefeated 8/11 (TPR 2514) to take outright second place in the Russian Chess Championships Higher League (Women) (2012), signaling a return to her playing strength of a couple of years ago. Her latter result also qualified her to participate in the Russian Women's Superfinals (2012), in which she went one better to win outright with 6.5/9 (+4 =5), and a TPR of 2611. In August 2013, she scored a solid 7.5/11 at the European Individual Women's Championship (2013).
Pogonina qualified for the FIDE Knock-out Women's World Championship (2012) and defeated compatriots, IM Svetlana Matveeva and former Women's World Champion, GM Alexandra Kosteniuk, in the first two rounds before losing to the eventual winner, Ukrainian IM Anna Ushenina, in the third round, thereby bowing out of the title contest. Her result in the 2012 EIWC qualified her to play in the FIDE Women's World Chess Championship (2015). There she won through to the final, defeating Qi Guo, Ju Wenjun, Marie Sebag, Zhao Xue and Pia Cramling in the preliminary rounds (also winning the IM title and a GM norm for her efforts), to play for the women's crown against Mariya Muzychuk. Unfortunately for her, she lost the final match by 2.5-1.5 (+0 =3 -1).
Pogonina won the L’viv Hopes-5 Women in 2002 with 11/13 and the bronze medal at the North Urals Cup (2007). Co-winner of the 2008 Student World Championship, and first at multiple prestigious international tournaments: 2006 Bykova Memorial with 8.5/9, the Rudenko Memorial 2007 with 8/9 and the C section (women's) of the Moscow Open 2009 with 8/9, Pogonina also came equal first (2nd on rapid game tie break behind Alisa Galliamova) in the 60th Russian Women's Superfinal (2010). In 2011, she scored 6/10 in the Tradewise Gibraltar (2011) and in 2014 she scored a respectable 5.5/10 at the Tradewise Gibraltar (2014). In May-June 2014, she competed in the Rashid Nezhmetdinov Cup, and played strongly to score 6/9.
<Olympiads> Pogonina represented Russia in the Women's Olympiad (2008) scoring 6/7 (+5 =2 -0) on first reserve, and was top board for Russia 2 in Chess Olympiad (Women) (2010), scoring 5.5/11.
She achieved her best result so far when she won team and individual gold (playing on board 5) in the Chess Olympiad (Women) (2012) held in Istanbul, scoring 6.5/8 (+6 =1 -1). She again played board 5 for Russia at the Chess Olympiad (Women) (2014), remaining undefeated to score 5.5/7 and help her team to another gold medal for the event.
<National and Club events> She won team gold as a member of her Russian team for the women’s blitz final and the bronze medal in the women's team rapid final at the 1st International Mind Sports Games in 2008. 2011 was an excellent year for Pogonina in team play. Playing for her club, AVS Krasnoturinsk, she won team gold and individual silver at the European Club Cup (Women) (2011), and playing for Russia, she won team gold and individual gold at the European Team Championship (Women) (2011) and team silver and individual silver medals at the FIDE Women's World Team Championship (2011).
The combination of winning in both the European Club and European Team championships in the same year is unique in both the women’s and men’s competitions. Playing board 3 for Russian, she won bronze and helped her team to a bronze medal at the Women's World Team Championship (2013). She helped her team Ugra to win gold at the Russian Team Championships (Women) (2013), also taking individual gold for her 4.5/5 points, which represented a 2757 rating performance. Pogonina wound up 2013 playing board 3 for Russia in the European Team Championship (Women) (2013), helping her team to silver and winning individual bronze for her board.
In 2014, she played board 2 for Yugra (Khanty) in the Russian Women's League and helped her team to win the gold medal. She also played board 2 for the Yugra Khanty-Mansiysk region club in the 2014 European Women's Club Cup, scoring individual bronze and helping her team to 4th place in the event.
Pogonina has an MA in law from the Saratov State Academy of Law. Her hobbies include flamenco, music, photography, traveling, sports, literature and poetry. She is married to Peter Zhdanov (User: Peter Zhdanov), and they have a son, Nikolai (born 18 November 2009). She is also a member of chessgames.com as User: Natalia Pogonina, and an occasional commentator and analyst here for live broadcasts of games.
Pogonina was awarded the national title of <Russian Grandmaster> in 2006 or 2007 in recognition of her achievements and contribution to the game in Russia. (1)
Pogonina's highest rating to date was 2508 in July 2014 when she was ranked #15 woman player in the world, while her highest ranking ever was #14 on the women's list in April 2009 and May 2010 when she was rated 2501.
(1) Natalia Pogonina, Wikipedia article: Гроссмейстер (шахматы); http://www.rg.ru/2007/12/08/sport-d... and Natalia Pogonina (kibitz #657).
Live rating: http://pogonina.com/index.php?optio...; Website: http://pogonina.com/; Wikipedia article: Pogonina