At the 2009 Louisiana State Chess Championship at the Drury Inn in Baton Rouge, Caveney finally ended his streak of futility after a tense hard fought tournament. The title did not come easy, however, and it was not decided until the final round. Heading into the final round, Frank Brack of Texas sat atop of the standings with a score of 5.5-0.5. Caveney, Dr. Albert Franklin, and Sid Souvey were tied for second at 5-1. In the final round, Franklin was paired against Souvey, and he obtained an early advantage before the game petered out into a draw. This left the game between Brack and Caveney as the decisive contest. When Caveney prevailed after a tense struggle that lasted over four and a half hours, he claimed his first state title with a score of 6-1.
A total of five players, Brack, Franklin, Souvey, Stephen Curry, and Neal Bonrud, tied for second and third overall as well as first and second in the Under 2000 category with scores of 5.5-1.5. Bijan Khaleghi, Binh Cong Doan, and John Betancourt split the prizes for first and second Under 1800 with scores of 4.5-2.5. Jordan Pujol took top honors in the Under 1600 category with a score of 4-3, and Simarpreet Chadha and Martin Cooperson shared the prize for second Under 1600 with scores of 3.5-3.5. Michael Tisserand, Peter Pham, and Eli Karp shared the prizes for first and second Under 1400, and Leila D’Aquin took first place in the Under 1200 category. Don Webster and David Webster split the second place prize for Under 1200, and Craig Walzer took the prize for the top unrated player.
Caveney's saga started in 1992, when he arrived at Louisiana as a freshman at Tulane University the week before Labor Day. That Labor Day weekend, Caveney had a surprisingly strong result at the 1992 Louisiana State Chess Championship, finishing in tie for third with Curt Jones of Tennessee behind two players from Alabama, Danny Miller and Brent Inman. This result would have netted Caveney the title of state champion except that, over his objection, Caveney was declared not to be a Louisiana resident and, hence, ineligible for the state title.
In the seventeen years that followed, Caveney had many close calls. He tied for first in 2006, but lost on tie-breaks to IM Danilo Canda. In 2003 and 2008, Caveney played kingmaker, beating John Parsons in the last round to give the title to FM John D. Bick in 2003, and drawing Bick in the last round in 2008 to give the title to Alex Steger. Still, Caveney was never able to capture the title himself.
The tournament was organized and directed by Louisiana Chess Association President and 2008 State Champion Alex Steger, facts that almost certainly led to Steger’s failure to retain the title. A total of 51 players competed in the tournament. The next Louisiana Chess Association tournaments will be held in the winter, and details will be announced soon.
Past State Champions
2009 Louisiana Blitz Championship
2009 Louisiana State Championship Prize Winners