Louisiana is now firmly stamped on the map of national scholastic chess competition. The state was represented in categories ranging from Kindergarten thru K6. Additionally, Louisiana FM Sonny Kamberi won the Coach's Tournament with a perfect 4-0 score. Louisiana players took home National championship trophies in every grade from Kindergarten to sixth grade. Exceptional performances of 5 wins out of 7 rounds were turned in by 2nd grader, Max Holmes, 3rd grader, Don Webster, 4th grader, Eli Karp, and 5th grader, Simarpreet Chadha. Haines School of Metairie won the 2nd place team blitz trophy with Conrad Leonik winning a huge trophy for players rated 900. I was so proud of all of our Louisiana players and was honored to meet the Wyzywany sisters in person! The comraderie of the Louisiana contingent was contagious. I won't even comment on how Louisiana parents took over the sports room in the Dallas Hotel during the NEW ORLEANS SAINTS game!
The Hilton in Dallas was a beautiful venue save for the lack of restrooms in the playing areas. Restrooms inside the tournament hall area eliminates the need for players having to leave the tournament room during a game. Due to this inconvenience, unethical practices like cheating with computer use and consultation with other players about positions during the games were almost impossible to prevent. On a brighter note, Louisiana could not have been represented better than having Dex Webster and Charles Korndorffer square off against each other in the fifth round. The boys' game was broadcast on the Monroi site for the entire world to see! Words can't express the excitement of all of the Louisiana residents in attendance as two of their own were competing for the lead in the K3 section with National Chess Title ramifications. The game resulted in a draw after a long and hotly contested tactical melay. The draw allowed both players to continue in hot pursuit of the K3 leaders. Cecilia Tisserand was rewarded for her resilience and tenacity in opting to finish the tournament after being on the losing side of a tournament director's ruling. Cecilia's opponent in the sixth round failed to make time control and hit his clock before making his move. Cecilia summoned the tournament director and advised the official of the infraction to which her opponent nervously denied. Since there were no additional witnesses, the director followed the rules and issued the player a warning. The boy went on to win the game with the time delay function. Cecilia was robbed and obviously hurt. Attempts by Cecilia's father to speak with the opponent's parent to resolve the matter was futile and Cecilia was issued the loss. Many people under similar circumstances would withdraw from the tournament in disgust and never play in a National Tournament again. Cecilia accepted the life lesson and elected to continue the tournament. Cecilia drew the last round game and to her surprise won the third place trophy in her division!
All in all, a great showing with lots of games, lessons, and memorable experiences. I will follow up with player interviews, games, and analysis as I unpack. Never has Louisiana been represented as well in numbers, performance, and presence. Coach RJ Tagorda and the Stuart Hall chess force made their presence known as did the Webster trio of Don, Dex and David. Other forces were the Holmes "dynamic duo", Max and Si and the "one", Eli Maximilian Karp. Go bayou country! Eli gets the Chess Gym award for a master level performance that did not net a trophy in the K4 division. This of course speaks to the level of competition in that age group nationally. Eli uncorked a 9 move miniature which we will feature in a later update. I also spoke to Susan Polgar and the annual Polgar World Championship for Boys and Girls is scheduled for June 2010 in Las Vegas. Eli Karp and Miles Tisserand are two Louisiana players who have previously secured titles at this prestigious event.