NATIONAL MASTER JAMES ROUSSELLE WINS HIS SIXTH LOUISIANA STATE CHAMPIONSHIP
Rousselle Takes Clear First To Move Into Second Place All-Time
A total of 63 players descended on the New Orleans Airport Hilton on Labor Day Weekend to compete in seven grueling rounds of chess at the 2013 Louisiana State Championship. When the dust had cleared, Rousselle, the top seed, stood alone. He won each of his first six rounds, surviving an exceptionally difficult game against the second-highest seeded Louisiana resident, Chao Zhang, in the fifth round. In the last round, he forced a draw against the overall second seed, Life Master A.J. Goldsby of Florida, to clinch clear first in the tournament. Because Goldsby was the only player who could catch him in the last round, Rousselle had actually won the state championship title with one round left to play. The title was Rousselle’s sixth, moving him into a tie for second all-time with John D. Bick, trailing only A.L. McAuley, who won a record nine state titles.
Finishing in a tie for second with 5.5/7 were Goldsby, Chao Zhang, and Dex Webster, the 2013 Louisiana K-8 Champion. Dex defeated defending champion Adam Caveney on his way to finishing second, with the only blemishes on his record being a loss to Rousselle and a draw with Chao Zhang.
The under 2000 prizes were split by Frank Brack, Mitchell Costanza, and Eli Karp, another one of the Louisiana’s young scholastic players who had a great tournament. They each finished with 5.0/7. Also finishing with 5.0/7 was John Laning of Florida whose amazing result left him as to the top player under 1600 and under 1800 as well as tied for the top under 2000. He took the first place under 1800 prize. Splitting the second place under 1800 prize with 4.5/7 were Stuart Collins, James MacManus, and Jorge Vega.
It is hard to have the best result in your family when your brother finishes second overall, but Don Webster managed to do it. He gained over 200 rating points, finished with a score of 4.5/7, and won the first place under 1600 prize. Another scholastic player, Miles Tisserand, took the second place under 1600 prize with a 4.0/7 score. Continuing the series of great scholastic results, Oscar Liu took the first place under 1400 prize with a score of 3.5/7. Scott Stephenson won the under 1200/unrated prize with a score of 3.5/7, and the second place under 1400 and second place under 1200/unrated prizes were split by Stephen Crocker, Jack Pontin, Thomas Sivori, David Webster (yes, there are three of them, and they all finished in the money!), Ryan Gaudet, and Kenneth Bell, who each finished with a score of 3.0/7.
For the first time in several years, there was a State Blitz Championship held in conjunction with the main event. Patrick Ballard dominated the strong field and took the state blitz title with a score of 12.5/14. Alexis Zamora finished second and took the under 2000 prize with a score of 10.5/14. Eli Karp finished third and took the second place prize (because it was lower than the under 2000 prize) with a score of 8.5/14. Bob Ballard and Miles Tisserand split the under 1800 and under 1600 prizes with scores of 8.0/14, and Oscar Liu took the under 1400 prize with a score of 7.0/14.
The tournament was directed by Bob and Patrick Ballard with assistance from Rex Williams and Robert Pegg. Adam Caveney organized the event on behalf of the LCA. A full write-up of this event, with games and analysis, will be included in the next edition of the LCA Bulletin.