Congratulations to Natalia and Peter, the new chess couple

6/10/2009 – He had read about her in chess magazines and websites. In August 2008 they met at the Tal Memorial. Peter Zhdanov and Natalia Pogonina played some blitz, and a new friendship was born, which eventually blossomed into love and led to a marriage between the two young Russian chess players. They are currently working on an extraordinary book, one you are not going to want to miss.

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Natalia Pogonina and Peter Zhdanov, the new chess couple

Natalia Pogonina (born on March 9, 1985) is one of the best female chess players in the world, member of the Russian chess team. Woman Grandmaster (WGM), three-times European champion (U16, twice U18), bronze prize winner at the World Championship (U18) and European Women Championship, winner of the gold medal at the 1st International Mind Sports Games, co-winner of the 2008 Student World Championship, and #1 at multiple prestigious international tournaments (2006 Bykova Memorial, 2007 Rudenko memorial, 2009 Moscow Open, etc.).

Her current FIDE rating is over 2500 – a mark that is associated with the title of a male Grandmaster.

Peter Zhdanov (born on January, 8, 1986) is a successful IT project manager, leading world debate expert (Expert of the Year in the CIS-2007 and 2008; author of two books and multiple articles on debates; winner of many tournaments, chief editor of “Debates in the CIS” magazine), top blogger and a proficient chess player (aiming at becoming a FIDE Master). Peter is also Natalia Pogonina’s manager, Pogonina.com website administrator and Natalia’s co-author of the upcoming book “Chess Kamasutra” (see below).

Wedding day album by IM Pavel Lobach

For more photos from Natalia Pogonina and Peter Zhdanov’s wedding check out the picture gallery at Natalia Pogonina’s official website.


Chess Kamasutra, women in chess

Natalia Pogonina would like to see women chess players doing their best to match the best male players. According to her, we might see a female absolute world chess champion. Apart from chess, Natalia is also widely known as a person of great physical and spiritual beauty. In this Latest Chess interview Natalia talks about her goals, chess and education, her Chess Kamasutra book, etc. According to her, it is possible to apply sex principles to chess. Interesting interview with lots of pictures.

LatestChess: How do you balance the competing demands of your multiple professions as a GM, model, practicing Law? Have you ever considered giving up one to concentrate on the other?

Chess is my primary occupation, so I dedicate most of my time to it. Other activities that you have mentioned don’t require that much energy, so I manage to spare some time for them too. One shouldn’t confine himself to his job, people should develop harmoniously.

Did your chess studies affect your schooling when you were growing up? When did you decide to become a professional chess player?

I don’t think that studying chess has greatly affected my results in other subjects. At that time I didn’t spend that much time playing chess, and was just a regular kid. Some subjects were less challenging, some were more. When I was about twelve years old I firmly decided that I am going to be a professional chess player.

Could you tell un about your new project "Chess Kamasutra", a very subject for a chess book.

Both chess and the Kamasutra originate from India. In “Chess Kamasutra” I and my co-author Peter Zhdanov will show that it is possible to apply sex principles to chess, and vice versa. We will be reviewing the most interesting openings and middlegame positions, and relating them to positions from Kamasutra. We surprise our readers by introducing the “love theory”, which is extremely effective for developing your chess skills and becoming happy in personal life. We will share unique training methods in “sexchess”, approbated by ourselves. Chess Kamasutra is going to be a very entertaining and useful book covering many interesting subjects – we aren’t revealing most of the secrets yet, but one day you’ll be able to see it for yourself.


Peter Zhdanov and Natalia Pogonina, authors of Chess Kamasutra

Apart from chess, you have snagged attention with your good looks. Do you think glamour can help in popularizing chess world wide?

Chess is just dying for effective promotion. There are many good-looking women chess players, so the slogan “Beauty and intellect” may be of great help in terms of making chess more popular. It’s a matter of smart marketing – interest towards chess will be growing for sure.

What are your thoughts about the future of women in chess? How do you feel we could attract more girls to the game?

I believe that women's chess can have a great future. It is more competitive, unpredictable and exciting. I believe that is possible. Women chess may be attractive since it’s easier to attain decent results there than in men’s chess. This is connected with the fact that chess is more popular among men than among women. Another idea – why not try to catch up and beat the male players? It’s a great motivator for me, since I believe that top women chess players should play on equal even with super grandmasters. So far only Judith Polgar managed to do it, but in the future we might see a female absolute world chess champion.

Who do you consider the best up coming young female players in the world, aside from yourself? Do you think, any of the current young crop can match with Judith Polgar?

There are more promising chess players. First of all, I should mention Koneru Humpy, the only women chess player (except for Judith Polgar) who broke the 2600 barrier, and Hou Yifan. But there are also other gifted players who are able to reach Judith Polgar’s level. The key thing is to believe in oneself.


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