Steincamp/Li Death Match of the Century

Steincamp/Li Death Match of the Century

NM blitzcopter
Mar 24, 2016, 9:04 PM |

Edit: Isaac's commentary can be found at

Incidentally I met up with a certain expert while passing through Schenley Plaza this Tuesday, and mentioned the possibility of jumping in the 3rd round of the current Tuesday nights tournament at the Pittsburgh club. Since his class got canceled, he suggested we play an extra rated game against each other for practice, so an hour later we were at the PCC settling into G/120. Alas, the game/post title was also not my idea.

Many inexperienced players are quick to assume a false dichotomy of positional vs. tactical aspects. Most importantly, sound positions are necessary to create sound tactics. On the other hand, a lot of positional analysis depends heavily on long-term considerations, which can be complicated or even overridden by more dynamic considerations if the position in question is "sound enough." Weighting these considerations is one of the biggest challenges in the game.

This was critical in the game, which began as an English that turned into a Reversed Closed Sicilian (randomized colors gave me Black). I expect Isaac is on point about the positional considerations, but throughout I remained confident about my kingside counterplay, which could have saved me had I played more accurately (though in my analysis I have the benefit of relying too much on the engine evaluation).

Actually this is somewhat foreign to me as a static/slower player, but given my chess knowledge I somehow doubt I would beat Isaac like that. Unfortunately for me, he had analyzed the particular reversed Closed Sicilian position but I had read about very similar positions as White (Emms) which was good.

Everything remained interesting until the endgame, where I began to collapse, partially due to time trouble. Near the end, Isaac accidentally squandered his +[something big] advantage but caught my return blunder, made with a few seconds left.

Aside from the outcome, it was a fun game. Unfortunately, I lost 12ish rating points so it'll take a little longer to get to 2100.