I did come up with one post-game improvement, but I’ll salt that one away as a “secret”.
Where we agreed to a draw, the position was 0.0. I saw the game continuing as 17…Bc7, 18.Nc4 Nd5, 19.Rc1 and Stockfish agrees that this position is 0.0 still. Alex was in fact going to play 17…Bc7, 18.Nc4 e5 which is also 0.0 after I capture twice on e5. I had 37 minutes on my clock to Alex’s 38 minutes, and so being even on board and clock was a great time to offer the draw. If I hadn’t offered the draw there, we probably would have played it to the end.
I wanted to win the first place prize, but as it turns out if I had lost this game, I still would tied for first-second with Sam, and made only six dollars less, so it was okay to keep on playing, although I have never been much of a fan of playing on in even positions against equal or stronger opposition, unless it was a position more dynamic than technical.
My post-tournament rating is 1877, whereas I started out December at 1728.