Natalia Pogonina likes to live on the edge!
(Photo by Kublashvili)
Today Russian superstar Natalia Pogonina, the only remaining Russian left at this stage of the World Women’s Championship, had her back against the wall after her loss in the first game of the mini-match against Pia Cramling yesterday. ONLY a win could keep Natalia’s chances alive…and she pulled it off!!
(Photo by Barsky)
The game began with a Sicilian Defence, Pia’s favourite system of playing against 1.e4. Despite a slightly unusual move order, Natalia came out of the opening with a promising position and then proceeded to build up some kingside pressure–creating the kind of chances that Natalia needed at this stage of the match. A couple of slight inaccuracies by the Swedish superstar…and then the Russian pounced on her with the ferocity of a GRIZZLY!
Pogonina, N–Cramling, P
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 a6 3.Be2 e6 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 Nf6 6.Nc3 Bb4 7.e5 Nd5 8.O-O Nxc3 9.bxc3 Be7 10.Bf4 O-O 11.Qd3 b6 12.Bf3 Ra7 13.Be4 g6 14.Rfd1 Bb7 15.Bxb7 Rxb7 16.Rab1 Qc8 17.a4 Qc5 18.Nb3 Qc7 19.Nd2 Nc6 20.Qg3 Rc8 21.Ne4 Qd8 22.Bg5 Bxg5 23.Nxg5 Na5 24.Ne4 Nc4 25.Rd4 Kg7 26.Re1 h6 27.h4 Qc7 28.f4 b5 29.h5 Qd8 30.axb5 axb5 31.Qg4 Qe7 32.Rd3 Rg8 33.Nf6 Rh8 34.Rg3 d5 35.hxg6 fxg6 36.Qxg6+ Kf8 37.Ra1 Ra7
HANDLING THE PRESSURE WITH STYLE AND GRACE!
Congrats to Natalia!
What Natalia is doing is quite remarkable. The ‘Come-back’ Kid! Before this match, she had also lost the first game of her mini-matches against Xue Zhao of China and Marie Sebag of France, and NEEDED ABSOLUTELY to win the next game to stay in the race. Each time she succeeded, and then went on to win the tie-breaks! With today’s victory, Natalia forces a tie-break with Pia Cramling. The winner goes on to the finals! Can Natalia pull it off again? Stay tuned!