I played again this week. I won two reasonable games, then played this abomination with the white pieces:
Stormcrow (1705) vs. JT (1900)
1. d4 c5 2. Nf3 cxd4 3. Nxd4 a6 4. e4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e5 6. Nf3 Bb4 7. Bg5 Qc7 8. Qd3 Nxe4 9. Qxe4 Bxc3+ 10. Kd1 Bxb2 11. Rb1 Qd6+ 12. Bd3 Bd4 13. Re1 f6 14. Qxd4 Qxd4 15. Nxd4 fxg5 16. Rxe5+ Kd8 17. Rxg5 g6 18. f3 Nc6 19. Nxc6+ dxc6 20. Kd2 Kc7 21. Re1 Bd7 22. Rge5 Rae8 23. Bc4 Rxe5 24. Rxe5 Re8 25.Rxe8 Bxe8 26. f4 h6 27. Bd3 Kd6 28. c3 a5 29. Ke3 b5 30. g4 g5 31. f5 Ke5 32. a3 c5 33. Kf3 b4 34. cxb4 axb4 35. axb4 cxb4 36. Bc2 Bf7 37. Ke3 0-1
There was more, but I was in time pressure and unable to record it. I got off balance in the beginning and allowed a dreadful pin. According to Crafty, however, black's 11th and 12th moves were poor. On move 13 I played Re1 - not generally bad, but too slow. White wins a bishop gratis by simply playing 13. Nxd4. The natural recapture with the queen is disastrous:
13. Nxd4 Qxd4? 14. Qxd4 exd4 15. Re1+ Kf8 16. Be7+ Kg8 (16. ... Ke8? 17. Bc5+ Kd8 18. Bc6#) 17. Bc5 (threatening Re8) g6 18. Bxd4 (closing the hole) Kf8 19. Bxh8
I believe a spare knight (or rook), two great bishops, and the e file would have been enough for the win. This was against a 1900 player (his rating floor) and would have been my best win ever. So close, and now gone forever!
The silver lining is that I see that I can recover from a poor opening and these A-player "giants" can indeed be felled. This game was a good demonstration of what can happen if you neglect your development - black's seemingly superb opening should have collapsed because his pieces sat idle on their starting squares and his King languished in the center while white's pieces flooded the board! And finally, Crafty is giving me a better grip on reality - Crafty can improve on nearly every one of my moves. If I work to improve even a fraction of these, the quality of my play should increase dramatically.