I drew last night's game with E. Shoemaker (1844), The Sage in the Tower. Unfortuntely, it was announced that L. O'Doan has withdrawn from the qualifier after one game actually played (I beat him), and my understanding of the rules is that his results will be thrown out (though I will get my rating points). So things are rather tangled now--three of the five remaining players will qualify, and it will based on just four games played.
This produces a very interesting scoreboard:
E. Hong (2028) 2.0/2 2 games remaining
E. Reyes (1867) 1.5/2 2 games "
E. Shoemaker (1844) 1.5/3 1 game "
R. Pearson (1618) .5/2 2 games "
D. Ryba (2007) .5/3 1 game "
The mathematical possibilities are many, but for me, it's pretty simple--I need to win! I play David Ryba, with me having Black, next week. David was a master (around 2230) years ago but his health hasn't been the best lately and he isn't quite as consistently strong as he was then. A very dangerous attacking player in any given game, however. I am excited about playing him with much on the line!
The game last night was encouraging in some ways--against Shoemaker's Budapest Gambit I did fine and after 25 moves had some advantage in one of those tricky Queen-and-two-Rooks-for-each-side positions. A misguided King maneuver put me in some jeopardy, however. I hung on and got a perpetual check eventually, though he could have avoided it and gone into a Rook ending that was also drawish. But I was very happy to draw, I can assure you.
On the training side, I note that I seem to play the first 20-25 moves very well, but have been making my mistakes at that point. I must extend the level of play I'm showing in the early middle game all the way through! I still need to be more efficient early and save plenty of time for those last few moves before the 30/90 time control.
The game should be at the Reno CC archive page soon. I'm also hoping Eric "The Sage" will post his thoughts shortly.