by Adam Caveney
total of fifty players from five states descended upon the Holiday Inn
Westbank in Gretna for the Paul Morphy Open on July 17th
and 18th, the largest turnout in an adult chess tournament
in Louisiana, other than state championships, in many years. Not
only were players from Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia(!),
the players from Louisiana hailed from all over the state, with players
from New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, and Shreveport competing.
For the first time anybody can remember, the organizer had to get an
extra table from the hotel to accommodate all the players.
play was highlighted by exceptional performances by two players seeded
near the bottom of the Open Section. Jordan Pujol, rated 1580,
was eligible to play in the Reserve Section, but chose to play up in
the Open Section. Obviously, he knew more than his rating did
about his level of play. Pujol upset two A-players, Bijan Khaleghi
and Jules LeBon, in the first two rounds before taking a third round
bye because he had to work an overnight shift. Then following
work and a very minimal amount of sleep, Pujol upset a third A-player,
Stephen Curry, and ended up playing for first place in the tournament
on Board 1 in the final round against top-seeded Expert and reigning
state champion Adam Caveney. Pujol’s fine run almost did not
end there, as Caveney played an uninspired opening, and Pujol had a
winning position. However, midnight struck near the end of the
final round, and Caveney was able to pull out the game, and first place
in the tournament, more through verve than actual good chess.
Despite the result of the final round, Pujol gained 135 rating points
at the tournament, quite a remarkable accomplishment.
to be outdone, Fridrik Karlsson, originally from Iceland and currently
living in Shreveport, started the tournament as a low seed, but finished
at the top of the standings. Karlsson lost to Expert Albert Franklin
in the first round, but then rattled off four wins in a row to finish
in a tie for second at 4-1.
the Open Section, Caveney took first, while Alex Steger, David Huang,
and Karlsson tied for second, first under 2000, and first under 1800.
Khaleghi recovered from his opening round loss to Pujol to take the
prize for second under 2000, and Pujol took the prize for second under
the Reserve Section, David C. Mooney took first place with a score of
4.5-0.5. Hari Balakrishnan of Texas took the first place under
1400 prize with a score of 4-1. Tying for second in the Reserve
Section with scores of 3.5-1.5 were Martin Cooperson, Derek Planchet,
and Michael Tisserand. Jesse Gimble, a scholastic player playing
in his first tournament, won the under 1200/unrated prize with an
3.5-1.5 score. The under 1000 prize was shared by Qiyu Han, Miles
Tisserand, and Gareth Costanza, who all finished with a 3-2 score.
next LCA tournament will be the 2010 Louisiana State Championship that
will be held in Lafayette over Labor Day Weekend. The previously
scheduled Louisiana G/60 Championship has been cancelled.
Finally, a special thank you goes out to Alex Steger. Steger directed the tournament and finished second in the tournament. Unfortunately, it was Steger’s last tournament in Louisiana because he is moving to Tennessee at the end of July. On behalf of all chess players in Louisiana, your humble (well sort of) author thanks Steger for all of the hard work Steger has performed for chess in Louisiana.