The rest of the games from the last two tournaments. The last two games are painful and embarrassing.
Game 1: Playing Black against an Expert, I play him evenly until a major positional blunder. This was a result of not appreciating the positive aspects of my position, thus throwing my strength away.
Game 2: My young opponent plays too passively and defensively as White, and traded two minor pieces for a Rook and pawn (usually not a good idea). He eventually gives me the chance throw open the center with by “sacrificing” a Knight for two Pawns, although the resulting position is so obviously good, it’s hard to call it a real sacrifice.
Game 3: I sacrifice a Bishop for a Kingside attack. Unsound, but perhaps worth trying against a weaker opponent. We both missed major tactics. This one went down to the wire on the clock.
Game 4 is a powerful lesson not to lose focus when you’re destroying your opponent. It was a crushing loss, and even though I said all the right things mentally, I obviously was in no shape to play the following game. Unusual opening mistakes lead to a very quick loss in game 5.
It’s clear I need to work on mental toughness to get to the 1700 mark (and considering how poorly even class A players can perform, I’d love to set a goal of reaching 1800 by the end of 2011). Still, when the new ratings are released at month’s end, I’ll be close to 1650, which is better than when the month started.