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2015 LSCL Championship

posted Apr 22, 2015, 1:55 PM by Louisiana Chess   [ updated Aug 31, 2016, 11:21 AM ]
2015 LSCL Championship
by Cheryl Webster

Given its grueling 14 round structure, the New Orleans area Final Four is the fitting apex of team competition. This year's event at Lusher produced some great matches with stirring comebacks as well as some lopsided ones.

We learned a few things from 2015, even if some should already have been known. First thing; a halftime lead of 3.5 to 2.5 was deadly to the early leader in five matches. Secondly, you can lose on the top two boards, but boards 3 through six still have more points. Thirdly, every saved half point could be the difference. Lastly, the regular season number ones all made and won the finals with one exception.

Starting with Saturday , the k-2 semifinal produced the biggest early deficit overcome, as Airline Park overcame a 4.5-1.5 deficit to pass Metairie Academy en route to a final date with number one seed Lusher,  which overcame Stuart Hall. Lusher won a highly contested match by a 7-5 score. Stuart Hall rallied from a 2.5- 3.5 deficit to beat Metairie for third place. This was a repeat championship for Lusher, which won last year.

The k-6 Final Four produced  a very exciting pair of semifinal matches. Airline edged out Lusher in a thriller, while the other semifinal between Christian Brothers and Metairie Academy produced a phenomenal sweep of the lower boards, as all four had to win because of the top two boards sweep by Brickman and Webster.

Metairie comeback was led by two cagey veterans,  Sarah Melder and Chase Beams, and two poised youngsters, Mathew Souquet and Victor Wu.

The final proved anticlimactic, as Metairie moved out to a 6-0 sweep and completed an 11-1 first place romp over Airline Park. Lusher elbowed past Christian Brothers for third.

Sunday was k-4 and k-8, and the k-8 final was one of the most amazing matches ever. The K-4 semifinals saw Metairie  power past Stuart Hall and Airline defeating Lusher. The two had drawn their regular season match, and I expected a nail biter with maybe a tiebreaker to decide it. Such was not the case, as Metairie moved out to a 4-2 lead, and got its third straight K-4  title by a 9-3 score. Lusher won the third place battle with Stuart Hall.

K-8 provided a truly epic championship match. Regular season leader Haynes led 3.5-2.5 against Lusher in the semifinals, but Lusher surged back for a 6.5-5.5 win and a trip to the finals. Jesuit, with its "Dream Team" of tested veterans from Christian Brothers and Stuart Hall, overpowered Stuart Hall to win the other spot.

It was a heavyweight bout worthy of Howard Cosell. Jesuit's first three boards, Webster, Webster, and Crocker ( a future law firm?) all lost the first round games on time, but boards 4-6 kept them close with two wins and a draw. Korndorfer saved what at a glance looked like a lost ending, which proved vital.

In round two, Crocker and Korndorfer won, but it all came down to a rook and pawn ending between Dex Webster and Miles Tisserand. Dex found a way to win and Jesuit won 6.5-5.5.

Stuart Hall overcame a 3.5 to 2.5 deficit to also win 6.5- 5.5 for third place over Haynes. I told you leading 3.5-2.5 was deadly.

In the end, this observer thinks that the best teams did end up winning in each division. Yet the differences were small enough that things could have turned out otherwise. That's what makes it fun for all of us.

Congratulations to all the players and coaches.