Louisiana Chess: The Next Generation
The next generation of Louisiana chess players made their presence felt at the 2010 Louisiana Pro-Am, held on March 13th and 14th at the Holiday Inn Westbank in Gretna. Dex Webster, 9, a third grader at Holy Name of Jesus School in New Orleans tied for first in the amateur (under 1800) section with Kyle Hecker, 16, a ninth grader at Grace King High School in Metairie, and Chris Sacco, who only recently left the scholastic ranks himself. All three finished with a 4-1 score, and all three scored impressive wins over older competition. But the scholastic onslaught did not finish there. There was a four-way tie for the under 1600 first place, under 1600 second place, under 1400 first place, and under 1200 first place prizes, with Conrad Leonik, 12, a sixth grader at Haynes Academy in Metairie, joining Russell Abadie, Bo Huang, and John Tilly in a tie with 3-2 scores. There was a three-way tie for the under 1000/unrated prize with Prokkawn Majumdar, 8, a second grader at Metairie Academy, David Webster, 7, a first grader at Holy Name of Jesus School, and Randy Cresap all finishing with scores of 2-3. In addition to the prize winners, Eli Karp, 9, a fourth grader at Audobon Charter School in New Orleans, and the third Webster brother, Don, 9, a third grader at Holy Name of Jesus School, both turned in solid performances. Karp finished just out of the money with a 2.5-2.5 score, and Don’s performance included an upset of a player rated almost 250 points higher than he was.
The pro section also counted a scholastic player as one of the prize winners, as David Huang, a high school student from Mississippi, tied for first and second under 2000 with Chris George, Patrick Ballard, and newly elevated LCA President Sid Souvey. All four finished with 3-2 scores. Reigning state champion Adam Caveney took first place overall with a score 4.5-0.5, suffering only a third round draw with Rene Phillips. Alex Steger, the 2008 state champion finished second with a score of 3.5-1.5.
A total of 36 players participated in the 2010 Pro-Am, including long-time Louisiana expert Glenn Ruiz, who was playing in his first rated tournament since 2004. While the rust was evident, it is likely that Ruiz will be back in strong fighting shape soon.
A special thanks go out to Bob Ballard and Patrick Ballard who directed the tournament on very short notice, and to Jean Troendle who handled the computer duties on even shorter notice. The next adult tournament in Louisiana will be the Louisiana Open in Lafayette on May 29th-30th. The slate of tournaments for the summer should also include the G/30 and G/60 championships in Baton Rouge, and the return of the Paul Morphy Open in New Orleans. Details for these events should be announced shortly.
Cross Table for 2010 Louisiana Pro-Am