I am back from the Congress and have good news to report.
I went 3-2 at my self appointed 9 kyu rank. I didn't need the note I brought from my teacher to convince the TD to allow me to self promote, but I showed it anyway just for fun. I had printed out our conversation from the sgf file in which we had our discussion, and had the TD okay it.
My first game I lost by 5.5
My second game I won by 2.5
My third game I won by 2.5
My fourth game I lost by 0.5
My fifth game I won by resignation while I was at least 40 points ahead on the board. That felt really great.
Based on the starting ranks of my first four opponents I could tell that none of them had self promoted... too many digits following the decimal point. My fifth opponent had self promoted from 12k to 9k, which based on his record he feels was one stone too optimistic. That game may not help me, but the other four should put me somewhere near -9.5 when the dust settles.
One of my rationales for trying the self promotion this year was that I was flying back early Saturday and would be unable to play the 6th round. I didn't want to run the risk of doing well as an 11k and miss the chance to earn a prize. I would have been heart breaking to board the plane at 5-0 with a game yet to play. I hoped to go 2-3 as a 9k and claim a new rank.
As it turned out my record of 3-2 meant that if I had played today I might have gone 4-2 and probably could have come in third again this year if I had done so. Last year I pulled that off with a 3-3 record, but that was undoubtedly a fluke caused by too many players byeing out of too many rounds in my band. Mediocre results and fighting spirit paid off last year. They probably don't always get such good results.
I'm okay with not playing the last round this year. Having lost my first game I probably didn't have all that great a chance at a prize anyway.
This was undoubtedly the best Congress I've ever had because I was able to tell people that I self promoted and that I was even in wins and losses at the end of the fourth round. It felt like a major victory. And the 9k I probably earned is a ten stone increase above my first AGA rating of 19 kyu.
I am very anxious for the ratings to be updated so I can see where the dust will settle.