Games from the Maritimes

Manley-Bowes, Charlottetown Open 2018

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With the Charlottetown Open returning for the first time since 2019 next weekend, here's a look back at a highly combative game from the 2018 edition of the event:

[Event "Charlottetown Open"]
[Site "Fredericton"]
[Date "2018.05.26"]
[Round "2.2"]
[White "Manley, Jason"]
[Black "Bowes, Richard"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C55"]
[WhiteElo "2157"]
[BlackElo "2027"]
[Annotator "Manley,Jason"]
[PlyCount "172"]
[EventDate "2018.??.??"]

{(Notes: 2021) Following a swift morning victory, my second round
game at the 2018 Charlottetown Open was against strong experienced Saint John
player Richard Bowes. Richard and I had played once before, a victory for me
in the 2016 New Brunswick Closed.} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nc3 {
I was not prepared for a Petroff, so I dipped out of that right away.} Nc6 4.
Bc4 Nxe4 5. Bxf7+ {?! A fairly normal idea in the Vienna Opening, so I thought
it would be sensible here as well. However, while it looks exceptionally
dangerous, it's actually just building a strong centre for Black, and with
sound defense the misplaced king is perfectly safe. The knights on c6 and f3
in this line lead to it favouring Black more than the Vienna line.} Kxf7 6.
Nxe4 d5 7. Nfg5+ {?! Chasing the attack as aggressively as possible. In the
post-mortem, neither Richard nor I was evaluating this position properly,
thinking Black was on the ropes when it was actually the reverse.} Kg6 {
?! Ke8 was critical. How does White hold the knights?} 8. Qf3 Qe7 9. h4 {
The vulnerable Black king gives White enough time to solve some problems.} h5
10. Nc3 Nd4 11. Qg3 {?? Simply offering a rook in exchange for some attacking
play. However, there's not nearly enough play for this to be worth it.} Nf5 {
? Richard trusts me too much. We've somehow backed into a dynamically equal
middlegame.} 12. Qd3 c6 13. f3 Kh6 14. g4 {
Hoping that blasting open the kingside will provide some measure of play.} Nxh4
15. Rxh4 Kxg5 16. Rh2 h4 {
Richard shuts down the h-file. The edge is starting to shift to Black again.}
17. Qe3+ Kg6 18. d3 h3 {Now Richard is on the hunt.} 19. Bd2 Qh4+ 20. Ke2 Bd6 {
?! d4 was more incisive. Now White can just about hold everything together.}
21. Rah1 Qg3 22. Be1 {Forcing a queen trade and recovery of the h-pawn. Suddenly
we're in a close to level ending.} Qf4 23. Qxf4 exf4 24. Rxh3 Rxh3 25. Rxh3 Bd7
{So Black has the two bishops, but the position is fairly closed, limiting
their effect. It's a faint edge for Black at best.} 26. Bf2 b6 27. d4 Kf6 28.
Kd3 {White has loosened his king a little. Re8 followed by Bc8-a6 is a natural
and strong plan for creating pressure and trying to reach the second rank.} Be8
29. Rh1 Bg6+ 30. Kd2 Bf7 31. Ne2 Re8 32. Nc1 {
Cycling the knight over to d3, a great square for influencing the play.} g5 33.
Nd3 Kg6 34. a4 a5 35. c3 Ra8 {Black's advantage has evaporated. White has
managed to shut down lines and put his pieces on stronger squares, and the
ending has reached virtual equality.} 36. Re1 Re8 {Effectively a draw offer.
But, eternal optimist that I am, I started looking for some other way to
generate play.} 37. Ra1 Rb8 38. b4 {Trying to create on the queenside. It's a
little loosening, but not too much yet.} Be8 39. Re1 Kf7 40. Rb1 Bd7 41. Rh1
Kg6 42. Rb1 Kf6 43. Ne5 Ke6 {Richard hasn't bitten on anything yet, and White
has made some slight progress. Now mass exchanges would give White a slight
advantage in the ending, but nothing spectacular in a likely drawn position.}
44. Rh1 Be8 45. Rh6+ Ke7 46. Rh7+ Kd8 47. Nd3 {?! But this is a step too far.
Now Black will be able to break through on the queenside.} axb4 48. cxb4 Ra8
49. Rg7 Be7 50. Nb2 {? a5 was better, preventing Black from having a passed
pawn. Now Black has everything he needs to push for a winning edge.} Bxb4+ 51.
Kc2 Be7 52. Be1 Bf6 53. Rb7 Bxd4 {Collecting a second pawn. With connected
central passers and a good bishop, Black has White on the ropes by this point.}
54. Bc3 Bxc3 55. Kxc3 Bd7 56. Rxb6 Kc7 57. Rb3 c5 58. Ra3 Re8 59. Kd2 Bc8 60.
Rc3 c4 {The pawns are bearing down on White. It's only a matter of time now.}
61. Nd3 Kb6 62. Nb4 Ka5 63. Nxd5 {Desperation, but it's hopeless either way.}
Rd8 64. Rxc4 Rxd5+ 65. Ke2 Re5+ 66. Kf2 Bd7 67. Rc7 Bxa4 {
Another pawn down. White could resign in good conscience here.} 68. Rg7 Kb5 69.
Rg8 Kc4 70. Rg7 Kd5 71. Rg8 Ke6 72. Rg7 Bb5 73. Rg8 Kf7 74. Rb8 Bc6 75. Rb3 Kf6
76. Rb6 Rc5 77. Rb3 Ke5 78. Ra3 Rc2+ 79. Kg1 Kd4 80. Ra5 Bd5 81. Kf1 Rd2 82.
Ke1 Ke3 83. Rc5 Rd3 84. Rc2 Bxf3 85. Re2+ Kd4 {
Richard dodges the stalemate trap.} 86. Re8 Re3+ {
And with the exchange forced, I resigned.} 0-1
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