Natalia Andreevna Pogonina (Russian: Наталья Андреевна Погонина; born 9 March 1985) is a Russian chess player who holds the FIDE title of Woman Grandmaster (WGM). She is the runner-up of the Women’s World Chess Championship 2015.
Pogonina was a member of the gold medal-winning Russian team at the Women’s Chess Olympiads of 2012 and 2014, and at the 2011 Women’s European Team Chess Championship.
Pogonina learned to play chess at the age of five, as her grandfather taught her the basics of the game. She has been studying chess since 1993 after winning the school’s checkers tournament.
She achieved notice for the first time in 1998 when she won the Russian under-14 girls championship. Natalia Pogonina has won two gold medals at the European Youth Chess Championship, in the U16 girls category in 2000 and U18 girls in 2003. In 2004, Natalia Pogonina was awarded the title of Woman Grandmaster. Some of her other victories include winning theBykova Memorial in 2005, Rudenko Memorial in 2007, bronze medal at North Urals Cup tournament and sharing first place at the women’s World University Chess Championship in 2008.
In 2008 she won the gold medal in team blitz and bronze medal in team rapid chess at the first World Mind Sport Games in Beijing and scored 6/7 on board 5 for the Russian team in the Women’s Chess Olympiad. She finished first (with 8 points from 9 games) at the prestigious Moscow Open 2009, and won the bronze medal at the Women’sEuropean Individual Championship 2009 (on tie-breaks). In 2011 Pogonina won gold medals at both the Women’s European Club Cup and theEuropean Team Chess Championship, as well as got silver at the Women’s World Team Chess Championship. In August 2012 she won the Women’s Russian Chess Championship with a score +4 =5 -0.
In 2012 she played eight of the eleven rounds on the reserve board (board 5) for the Russian women’s team, which won the gold medal at the 40th Chess Olympiad in Istanbul. She scored +6=1-1 and won the gold medal for her individual performance on board 5. In 2014 she played for the Russian women’s team and won another gold medal at the41st Chess Olympiad in Tromsø.
She is a columnist at Chess.com since 2009. Has chess blogs at Sports.ru and RedHotPawn.com. Natalia Pogonina served as host and commentator of chess events at a number of chess websites, most notably, ChessGames.com and Chessdom.com. Announced in 2009 that she and Peter Zhdanov will release a book titled “Chess Kama Sutra”. The book has not been published so far, but has received a lot of attention from international media. In 2009 Natalia Pogonina became an ambassador of the Chess Elite software.