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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Why chess cannot be played against a friend!

Chess news and chess trivia blog (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2010

WGM Baira Kovanova

Hello Everyone,

Yes, does that surprise you - Chess cannot be played against a friend! Actually, it's very tough when you end up facing your friend as an opponent in a tournament - that too the Women's World Chess Championship!

Ask Baira Kovanova. She might be the talk of the first round after knocking out Russian Superfinal runners-up (who tied for first) Natalia Pogonina but Kovanova is finding it hard to have beaten her friend.

The official website of the tournament carries an interview with Baira Kovanova.

"Natalia is a very good friend of mine and it was
very difficult to play against her"

  • Anastasia Karlovich- You promoted to the second round winning against Natalia Pogonina in the first round. What do you feel about that result?
Baira Kovanova- I was really upset with the pairings. Natalia is a very good friend of mine and it was very difficult to play against her. She was even helping me and my father with tickets to Hatay. Organizers were contacting Natalia about my accommodation. When I played in the final of Russian cup she was helping me with preparation because at that moment I could not take a computer with me.
So I was really shocked when I knew we have to play against each other. It was very unpleasant but we had no choice.
  • A.K- The impression was that you won the match very easily…
B.K- Well the first game was very nervous. Natalia didn’t play well in the opening, then we made some mistakes and everything was decided under the time trouble. Natalia is tired after Russian super final, it’s obvious. The second game I won very quickly.
  • A.K- Is it a result of the serious preparation?
B.K- The preparation finished after several moves. I didn`t prepare with a coach to the first game but before the second one I started to worry about the result and even asked GM Sanan Siugirov to help me with preparation. We were checking variations till 3 a.m. I was expecting Spanish Defense but Natalia Pogonina didn`t start with 1…e5. The second game was very impressive.
  • A.K- When did you feel you would win that game and the match?
B.K- I think Natalia had to accept the piece sacrifice. After Kh8 the game is lost and it was not very difficult to calculate following variations.
  • A.K- Have you played with your next opponent Ju Wenjun before? How do you feel before the match?
B.K- I had met her at the board before – one year ago we made a draw in Grand Prix Psychologically it will be much easier to play tomorrow because I don’t have to play against my friend.

Find a nice review of the Kovanova-Pogonina games at

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  • At December 7, 2010 at 8:02 AM , Anonymous Saira Fernando, Madrid said...

    Sad for both Kovanova and Pogonina - Pogonina must be happy for Baira but Baira would be sad for Pogonina. Hope their friendship only becomes stronger after this. Please that is more precious than any tournament.

  • At December 7, 2010 at 11:26 AM , Anonymous Amrit Puri, Knights Chess Club, New Delhi said...

    yeah i know the feeling. It's like pathetic.

  • At December 7, 2010 at 11:34 AM , Anonymous Sarah Khan, Dubai said...

    Hey that's a cute photo. Poor Baira. Sad for both of them. Bet Pogonina will now be helping Baira do well in the rest of the tournament.


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