Games from the Maritimes

Games From The Maritimes: Manley-Dorrance, 2016 Nova Scotia Open

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With the summer in chess in the Maritimes filling with events for the first time since 2019, I've been looking back at games from past summers ahead of a busy few months, tournament-wise. With the 2022 Nova Scotia Open starting in a week, here's a roller-coaster ride of a key game from back in 2016:

[Event "Nova Scotia Open"]
[Site "Halifax"]
[Date "2016.05.15"]
[Round "4.1"]
[White "Manley, Jason"]
[Black "Dorrance, Adam"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "A30"]
[WhiteElo "2157"]
[BlackElo "2279"]
[Annotator "Manley,Jason"]
[PlyCount "103"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]

{(Notes: 2022) After starting with a 3-0 record at the 2016 Nova
Scotia Open, I had ascended to the top of the standings, sitting in solo first
ahead of a hungry chasing pack at 2.5. My penultimate opponent was the best of
that pack, the strongest player in Nova Scotia, NM Adam Dorrance. We had
played twice before at standard time controls, with Adam winning both games.}
1. Nf3 c5 2. c4 Nc6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. e3 {I opt for a quiet English
Opening. This may be passive to a fault, however, as Black has already
equalized easily and is in fact the player with the opening advantage.} e5 6.
Nc3 Nge7 7. O-O d6 8. d3 O-O 9. a3 {
White is looking to expand on the queenside eventually.} Be6 10. Qc2 Rb8 11.
Rb1 a5 {Shutting down any immediate queenside play, leaving White to look for
other avenues of development.} 12. b3 h6 13. Bb2 Qd7 14. Nb5 Rbd8 15. Rbd1 Bg4
16. Rd2 {A bit of an awkward position for the rook, as White is starting to
run out of ideas for further development. d4 would have been a good idea,
however.} f5 {
Adam decides to take aggressive action, thrusting towards the kingside.} 17.
Ne1 {?! An odd idea. h3 was natural and good.} f4 {
! Adam plays precisely, cranking up the pressure on the kingside.} 18. exf4
exf4 19. Bxg7 Kxg7 20. Qc3+ Kh7 21. f3 {A sign of how uncomfortable the
kingside position has become. This is actually a good move, but White has tied
himself in knots and Black is in control here.} Be6 22. d4 {
!? Looking for activity desperately.} cxd4 23. Nxd4 d5 {
? The first misstep by Black. Nxd4 and fxg3 both left Black with a strong edge.
} 24. Nec2 {! Solidifying the centre and bringing another piece into play. The
game is very much up in the air now.} Qc8 {
?! Another mistake, as White can now improve his position with tempo.} 25. Re1
Bg8 26. c5 {And suddenly White is controlling the position, with well placed
pieces, extra space on the queenside and a target on d5. Black is in growing
difficulty.} Qb8 27. g4 {
Shutting down kingside play. White is solidly much better now.} Rd7 28. Rde2
Qd8 29. b4 {Pushing through to stretch the queenside control. White's play is
natural and strong.} axb4 30. axb4 Nxd4 31. Nxd4 Nc6 32. Ne6 {
! This trade leaves Black struggling against White's dominant rooks} Bxe6 33.
Rxe6 d4 34. Qd3 Rg8 35. b5 {! White's play has been excellent since Black's
error with d5. This kicks another Black piece to a poor position and ensures a
dominant White position.} Na7 36. Bf1 {One more piece to bring into play.} Qa5
{Black is desperately searching for some play, but he is completely busted at
this point.} 37. Re7+ {
h4 may have been even stronger, but trading a pair of rooks is also sufficient.
} Rg7 38. Rxg7+ Rxg7 39. Re4 {Black's pawns are doomed. White just needs to
keep his wits about him and he will have a huge win.} Qb4 40. Qxd4 Qa3 41. Rxf4
Qc1 42. Rf8 {White goes for the kill, believing that he has the time to finish
Black off, a belief which is true.} Nxb5 43. Qd8 Qxc5+ 44. Kg2 Rc7 {Strictly an
error, as White now has a forced mate, but when the objective best move is
Qxf8, Black is just playing out the string.} 45. Bd3 {There was a forced mate
starting with Rh8+, based around shifting the rook to g8 with tempo. This is
still winning, however.} Qe5 46. Rg8 {
?! Awkward, as Rc2+ is annoying here, but White is still winning in that line.}
Rc6 47. Qf8 {?? But this is the blunder that throws it away. Re8! followed by
Re7 is a win. This looks like a win, but Black has a resource...} Rc2+ {
! Adam finds the swindle. White has no way to escape the checks with his
sidelined pieces, and it's a draw. A great disappointment for me, although a
draw against Adam is still a great result.} 48. Bxc2 Qe2+ 49. Kg3 Qe1+ 50. Kf4
Qd2+ 51. Kg3 Qe1+ 52. Kf4 {And we confirmed the draw. With that, while I
stayed half a point ahead of Adam, I was joined in the lead by Antoni Wysocki
and Jose Gonzalez-Cueto.} 1/2-1/2

Updated 05-08-2022 at 12:12 PM by Jason Manley

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