Yesterday was somewhat of a milestone day for me at the Triangle Outlet Mall in Morrisville as I finally got my USCF rating back over 1900 after several frustrating attempts. (I had been there for one tournament in 2009.) It didn't feel like I was going to have a good day at first as before the tournament I banged out several blitz games with NM John Smithwick. Each time he pretty much slaughtered me.
The tournament started off with a rematch from the last Outlet Mall event against Dr. Mark Chaves, a Duke professor.
After that win I ended up paired with Smithwick. I've had more USCF-rated games by far with John than any other expert lever player with this being our ninth regular game. (The only players I've had more games against are Daniel Solarez (21), Eric Lindauer (14), evan Whittington and Jon Achelpohl (11), Curtis Graham and the late Jeff Schneider (10).) Once again I found myself being in the familiar position of needing a win (or this time a draw) to jump over 1900 for the second time.
Unfortunately I couldn't stay for the final round as I had to work, but as a result of these games, even had I played and lost to Jim Watson, I would have cleared 1900. It's especially satisfying considering I had had about eight or nine opportunities to get over 1900 including several where I had big advantages, but just couldn't break through.
As a chess player my history has been to have a cup of coffee at a rating level, struggle a while, and then when I finally get through I stay there for quite a long time. I hope that holds true and I can maintain 1900+ play or better, crack that expert barrier.