Pogonina vs Chess.com Move 21. ... (Part 2)
In just a few minutes Pogonina will respond to 20. ... Rc7. Shortly after I will comment and suggest Black's options.
These were my words yesterday: "Well, to my knowledge, which is far below Pogonina's, only 21.c3 looks attractive. 21. a5, which according to some is a trap, is not her choice I think. There is no clear White advantage if Black chooses Qxc2."
Which are the candidate moves? Not in any but geographical order.
21. ... h6 22.a5 Bg5 23.Bxg5 hxg5 (e4 is a bit loose now, so h3 or a queen move.) 24.h3 Nc5 25.Qc2 Well, there are some nice squares for the knight (Ne6-f4), the white bishop isn't so well placed, b7/d6 is under controll, f7 is guarded, there might be some future play on the king's wing, even if it is far off, e4 is under pressure,maybe a regrouping: Rc6,Rd8;Qe7, b4 from White only creates a weakness at c3 ...
21. ... g6 Getting some space for the king, obstructing Bg4 (h5)
21. ... Nc5 22.Qc2 (22.Qc4 ;22.Qd5)(Trying the idea d5 here) ... Rd7 23.Rd5 Ne6 24.Rad1 Nc7 (Bg5!?) 25.R5d3 Rfd8 26.a5 This is a very bushy line. There is potential here but it is hard to clearly see all variants. One of the best lines for Black.
21. ... Nf6 22.a5 Nxe4? 23.Rd5!! (Tactics)
21. ... Rd8 22.a5
21. ... Rfc8 22.a5
21. ... Rb8 22.a5 it's about the same as Ra8.
21. ... Ra8 One point of this move is to prepare for b6. So 22.a5 (22.Rd2 b6) 22. ... I don't know, Ra8 seems to do really nothing and f7 is vulnerable now.
21. ... b6 22.Be2 Qxe4 23.Bxa6 Rb8 White has lost the centre to a degree but the pawn majority on the queen side will get rolling. I belive they are a decisive factor. So b6 directly is not a good option.
21. ... b5 22.axb5 axb5 23.Ra5 Rb8 24.Rd5 Rcb7 25.Be2 b4 White has more space, the bishop pair, e4 is weak. Black has the b4/d6 weaknesses but are in control. Not that funny though. A very defensive setup.
21. ... a5 White will push the a-pawn to a5 in a lot of the lines above and fixate the square b6 so what if Black goes a5? There will be a new hole on b5, so I'm not to keen on this.
It looks as if on any move by Rf8, a5 is a good responce. But it is not a good choice for Black to play a5. The two main candidates, as I see it, are 21. ... Nc5 and h6. I think they are fairly equal so any one of them.