Pogonina vs Chess.com Move 31. ...
Natalia Pogonina vs Chess.com
"30.Rd3 I put it here because I like the zig-zag Rd1-d3-f3 but it probably means spreading the White forces to thin and the first player need to focus at the queen side for a while before turning anywhere else." Was what I had at move 30. I did not expect it now. So let's see if it is playable.
Rd1 was the piece working the least. I believed it would work best guarding a5. Apparently Pogonina decided now was time to make use of the cluttered black pieces at the queen side to swing to the other side. We know that Black have communication problems because of the lack of space. Both Rf3 and Bc4 line up to aim at f7. What are Black's choices?
31. ...b5/b6 32.axb6 Bxb6 33.Bg4 (33.Rf3 It's nice to see a double purpose move. The rook guards f2 and attacks f7. With Qa7 Black could launch an attack on f2. 33. ...a5 34.Rb5 Now White can line up on the a2-g8 diagonal. For instance 34. ...h6 35.Bd1 Rc4 36.Qa2 Rxe4 37.Bb3 Re1+ 38.Kh2 Qd8 39.Rxf7 + ) R8c7
31. ...Qc7 32.Rf3 Bf6 33.Qb3 Rb8 34.Bc4 h6 35.g4! +- (32. ...Kf8 33.Qb3 Rb8 34.Bc4 f6 35.Bd5 Rc5 36.Ra4 Rxa5 37.Rxa5 Qxa5 38.Bg8 Qc7 39.Bxh7 +-)
31. ...g6 32.Rf3 d5!? 33.exd5 One of my awkward lines maybe. 33. ...Rd6 34.Qb3 Rb8 35.Ra4 e4 36.Re3 f5 and Black has counter play. (32. ...Kg7 33.Bc4 f6 34. Bd5 R6c7 +)
31. ...Kh8 32.Rf3 f6 +
31. ... h6 32.Rf3 Qc7 33.Qb3 Rb8 34.Rb6 Bf8 35.Bxa6 +-
Conclusion: We are beginning to reach as stage where defence is not enough. So sacs like d6-d5 looks interesting. Remember, Black has more center still. A pawn on d5 blocks access to b7 and f7. The line starting with 31. ...g6 therefore looks best to me. I do not think, however, that an idea like this is to the general liking and when all other continuations lead downhill, we will probably soon see an end to the game.