Struggle and Consolidation
After a rapid ascent to an all-time-rating-high (1925) in a series of action games against Class A & B players, I figured it was time for tougher opposition and signed up for the strong Thursday Knighter 1700+ tournament with seven masters out of the 18 players.
We play one game a week, and after four weeks I have a respectable but far-from-stellar 1.5 with two losses, one win, and a bye. The good thing is that I could easily have drawn one of the games I lost, and possibly the other one as well. The net rating change is probably plus-minus zero. Consolidation, in other words, which is all well and good. But if I can eliminate the worst blunders, I feel I could gain 40-50 points without making significant headway in any other areas. We will see.
Here's a game against a lower-rated opponent, and one that I am happy with. It shows the strength and dynamism of the Icelandic Gambit in the Scandinavian. I often found the best moves, but sometimes tried to be too clever. This holds true in other areas as well. One of the papers I wrote for my MA received the following comment: "There is a strain for a bravura performance," which was true enough. I need to take the KISS acronym to heart. Keep It Simple, Stupid!
In chess terms, this means that when I find myself deciding between a move that simplifies to a much better endgame and a move from left-field that leads to crazy complications impossible to evaluate, yeah, I sometimes choose the latter.
The next game was against wunderkind Nastassja Matus. She is 12 and currently sports a 2154[!] USCF rating. She played very well, but I self-destructed by playing for tactical shots and an impossible knight outpost, ruining my pawn structure in the process.
I have one more game to play, probably against a low-rated expert. A win would take me to 1950 territory.