Rookie Master at a Norm Tournament
Well, here's my first post in a while.
I've been doing pretty badly since I got the NM title, so I decided to jump into the strongest edition of one of the strongest tournaments in the country!
Just kidding - the U.S. Masters has been on my bucket list since then, and I committed after testing myself in a Titled Tuesday. I didn't expect too much, but I felt better about the decision leading up to the tournament. That is, until I found myself paired against International Master and 2-time US Open champion Michael Mulyar and started getting crushed.
Except he changed gears, went for a kingside attack, and miscalculated. After pocketing an Exchange, I defended accurately despite the time trouble, and got my first IM win 25 moves later. Not bad for someone that almost lost to 1800s and 1500s the tournament before!
(Those are FIDE ratings.)
I then lost two straight games as White. Granted, my opponents were very strong, but as the 4th seed, I was pretty close to getting a bye, so in some sense I was in a must-win situation against another IM as Black. I was actually able to prepare for him though, and it worked out nicely (in fact, this is probably the first time I've ever successfully prepared for someone specific).
The rest of the tournament was... not quite as good (I was 2-2 after beating IM Saravanan, but went 0.5/4 the rest of the tournament). Just goes to show how different each game is, and how beating someone doesn't imply beating someone seemingly weaker. Still, 2 IM wins is great, and it was a pretty worthwhile experience overall (in part due to the excellent organization of the tournament).
(Interestingly, my lifetime record against IMs is 2.5-2.5... with all my score coming as Black.)
For more on my tournament, see my post on Chess^Summit: https://chesssummit.com/2017/09/02/my-toughest-tournament-ever/