Let's start with my first round game in which I screwed up the opening against a player who was lower rated by 300 points.
The game transposed into the Symmetrical Variation of the English Opening 1.c4 Nf6 2.g3 g6 3.Bg2 Bg7 4.Nc3 O-O 5.d3 c5. I had beaten Robert Moskwa last year at a tournament in Skokie by pushing my b-pawn so I figured that the same strategy would work against this guy. 6. a3 Nc6 7. Rb1 e6 8. b4 cxb4 9. axb4 d5 10. b5 Ne7 11. c5 Nd7. I was aware that my knight on c3 was loose and I had planned on playing 12. Na4, but for some reason the idea of playing 12. d4? popped into my head and I did so without giving it much thought and was unpleasantly surprised when my opponent whipped out 12...Nxc5.
It makes sense to play more defensively when ahead on material, but this move allows me to complete my development in relative peace. 15.e4 N5b6 16.Ne2 Nf6 17.O-O Bd7 18.Ba3 Rc8 19.Bc5 Re8.
When your opponent puts his knight in the corner, you know that he having trouble coming up with a constructive plan. Grabbing the pawn with 27. Rxa7 b6 28. Rxc7 Qxc7 29. Bxf8 Rxf8 may be objectively best, but the exchanges might have made him feel like he was making progress. By this point, I was actually ahead on time by a couple minutes despite the forty minutes I had consumed on my fourteenth move. 27. Qb2 b6 28. Bxf8 Rxf8 29. d5 Ne8 30. Ne5 Ng7 31. Nc6.
Now it was my opponent's turn to blunder horribly. He told me after the game that he had spent so much time thinking about the consequences of 31...Bxc6 that in his mind's eye the d7 square was unoccupied. As a result, he thought he could safely exchange pawns on d5. 31...exd5?? Unfortunately he couldn't. 32. Ne7+ 1-0
What lessons can be learned from this game:
(1) No matter how much higher rated you are than your opponent, you cannot ignore development.
(2) Being unable to win a won position is very frustrating. If you can keep pieces on the board and maintain the status status quo in a bad position, your opponent's frustration will grow.