Congratulations to Nicholas Matta and Dex Webster on achieving Master status

posted Feb 21, 2017, 7:55 AM by Louisiana Chess

2 of Louisiana's best players recently achieved Master status:  Nicholas Matta and current State Champion Dex Webster.  They now represent 2 of the 4 Masters in Louisiana that are active players (players that have played at least 1 rated game in the past year), joining James Rousselle and Ben Bailey.  Congratulations to both players!

Dex Webster Becomes Youngest Louisiana Chess Champion!

posted Dec 13, 2016, 9:09 AM by Louisiana Chess


Completes Dominant Summer while Eli Karp wins Blitz Championship

In the second consecutive state championship that was the largest in recent memory, 74 players competed in the 2016 Louisiana State Chess Championship over Labor Day Weekend at the Hilton New Orleans Airport.  By the time the weekend was over, Dex Webster left no doubt as to who was the best chess player in Louisiana this summer, vanquishing the field by a full point with a score of 6.5/7, and completing a tri-fecta that included winning the Louisiana Scholastic Championship and the Paul Morphy Open.  With the victory, Webster, whose original long-time coach was outgoing LCA Scholastic Coordinator Ken Ferguson, became the youngest Louisiana Chess Champion by approximately three years!  And for those of the previous generation looking for a glimmer of hope against the kids: do not bother, there are not any.  The only player to take half a point off of Webster was his contemporary, Eli Karp.  Karp also took home the state blitz championship after the two-time defending champion (Webster) declined to play in order to concentrate on the main event. 

David Gaston, Nick Matta, Stephen Curry of Mississippi, and Ju Hyung Ahn of Texas tied for second with scores of 5.5/7.  Curry took the first place Under 2000 prize.  2005 Champion Eryk Hargrove, Karp, Peter Boris of New York, and Huy Nguyen tied for sixth with scores of 5/7.  Hargrove and Boris split the second place Under 2000 prize for their efforts while Nguyen won the first place Under 1800 prize.   The second place Under 1800 prize was split four ways between Zachary Couvillion of Mississippi, Matthew So of Texas, David Mooney of Mississippi, and Michael Crochet, all finishing with scores of 4.5/7.  With scores of 4/7, Donald Miester, Jr., Prokkawn Majumdar, and David Webster split the two Under 1600 prizes.  And rounding out the prize winners, Benson Schexnaydre of Mississippi and Wilton Neal Watts split the two Under 1300/Unrated prizes with scores of 3.5/7.

Congratulations to State Champion Dex Webster on his record-setting performance!  Congratulations also to Blitz Champion Eli Karp.  Special thanks are offered to Jean Troendle, Korey Kormick, and the entire Cajun Chess crew for organizing and directing an excellent tournament.  Full details of the tournament, with some games, will be included in the next bulletin.


posted Jun 3, 2016, 6:58 AM by Louisiana Chess


The following by-law amendments have been passed by the LCA Board for consideration at the 2016 business meeting.

Proposed Amendment #1:

Section I, Article 4 currently has a sentence that reads: “The requirements for being a resident of Louisiana for all LCA purposes shall be determined by the membership.”  The proposed amendment changes this language to: “The requirements for being a resident of Louisiana for the purposed of being eligible to be the state champion shall be determined by the membership.  This requirement does not apply for residency issues that arise outside of the regular state championship, such as for scholastic players.”

The reason for this amendment is to make the language match the original intent.  The intent of the person who drafted the original language and the amendment intended that if there was an issue during the adult state championship about residency, the membership would resolve the issue during the normally scheduled business meeting.  However, this year there was almost an issue that required a hastily called membership meeting due to a residency issue involving a scholastic state championship.  The extra meeting would have been required because of eligibility for national scholastic tournaments of state champions which occur before the adult state championship.  This amendment allows that kind of issue to be resolved without calling a special membership meeting.  

Proposed Amendment #2:

Section III, Article 4(b) currently reads: “Organize scholastic chess championships for Louisiana or award the authority to organize such championships to someone else.”  This refers to the duties of the Scholastic Coordinator.  The proposed amendment changes that language to: “Chair the Scholastic Committee, which shall organize scholastic chess championships for Louisiana with or without the assistance of outside organizers.”

The reason for this amendment is to put in the by-laws a scholastic committee.  The rules for said committee can be passed by rule at the business meeting.  The basis is that scholastic chess is arguably bigger (and really there isn’t much argument, it is bigger) than adult chess, but only one person is in charge.  This creates a committee to run scholastic chess in Louisiana, spread some of the work, and get more people involved to make scholastic chess better in Louisiana.

Ben Bailey Wins First Louisiana State Championship

posted Oct 9, 2015, 9:53 AM by Louisiana Chess


Dex Webster takes second straight Blitz Championship

Ben Bailey holds State Championship trophy

In one of the largest state championships in many years, sixty-nine players converged on the New Orleans Airport Hilton over Labor Day weekend to compete in the 2015 Louisiana State Championship.  Coming into the tournament, second seed NM Ben Bailey had done just about everything in Louisiana chess in 2015; he won the Pro-Am, won the strong FIDE rating invitational, and gotten his rating over 2250.  However, there was one thing that had eluded him over the years---the state championship.  After two days, it was still an open question whether he would finally get the breakthrough and take home the title.  He was still in contention, but only at 4/5 following a second round draw with Clay Polk and a fifth round draw against two-time champion Adam Caveney.  Furthermore, the top-seeded five-time champion James Rousselle was tied for first at 4.5/5, and playing a well lower-rated David Gaston (also at 4.5/5) on Board 1.  To make matters tougher, Caveney was playing and even further lower-rated Jerome York on board 3, and if things went according to seed, he would have to play Rousselle in the final round because he was higher rated than Caveney, meaning that he could still lose the title on tie-breakers even if he won both his last two games.

Then the sixth round happened.  Bailey took care of his business, beating Gary Bailey solidly.  Caveney played into a pet gambit of York’s, played it horribly (there are many better words to describe his play, but none are publishable), and York duly converted.  In perhaps a bigger surprise, Gaston took down Rousselle on Board 1.  All of the sudden, the road to the title had opened up for Bailey.  He was facing Gaston on Board 1 and just needed to win because the only other player who could catch him was York, and York’s tie-breakers, unlike Caveney’s, were not going to top his.  York, in any case, lost to Dex Webster in the final round.  By taking down Gaston in the final round, Bailey completed his domination of Louisiana chess in 2015 with his first state title with an undefeated score of 6-1!

Right behind Bailey, Dex Webster, Nick Matta, and Gaston tied for second with scores of 5.5-1.5.  Gaston took the top U2000 prize for his fine effort that included an upset of Webster.  York took the U1800 prize with a score of 5-2.  With an upset of Fred Boerman in the final round, Zachary Couvillion won the U1600 prize with a score of 4-3.  Gabriel Jones Mitchell took the U1300 prize with a score of 3-4, which was a very strong result for a player rated under 1300 in this strong field.

The state blitz championship was held on Saturday night.  Despite being a relatively slow player in long chess, Dex Webster’s blitz game is very strong, and he won his second straight blitz title with relative ease.  He finished at 12.5-1.5 in the seven round double swiss, and managed to go undefeated with only two draws against Atul Kannan and one draw with Bailey.  Kannan and Nick Matta tied for second with scores of 10-4.

Congratulations to new state champion Bailey and blitz champion Webster!  Great performances by both!  The LCA offers special thanks to Jean Troendle, Korey Kormick, and the entire Cajun Chess crew for organizing and directing an excellent tournament.  Full details of the tournament, with some games, will be included in the next bulletin.  

Article from LCA Bulletin Wins Chess Journalists of America Award (UPDATE: Article included)

posted Dec 26, 2014, 8:30 AM by Patrick Ballard   [ updated Feb 9, 2015, 2:51 PM by Louisiana Chess ]

Adam Caveney nominated the article "This is Why We Play Chess: The 2013 Louisiana State Championship" for a Chess Journalists of America (CJA) award, and I am pleased to announce that it won the award for Best Tournament Report Article! The article, written by Caveney, was first published in the 2013 LCA Bulletin. The article beat out some impressive competition, including six Chess Life articles, two online USCF articles, an article from the St. Louis Chess Club, and an article from The Gambit.

Congratulations to the LCA and to Adam Caveney for writing the article and submitting it to the CJA on his own volition.

Here are links to the entries and award recipients:

Patrick Ballard Wins First Louisiana State Championship

posted Sep 15, 2014, 9:14 AM by Louisiana Chess


Patrick Ballard wins 1st LA State Championship

Dex Webster takes Blitz Championship, while Florida Master A.J. Goldsby takes Clear First in Tournament

In the largest adult tournament in Louisiana outside of New Orleans in many years, sixty-three players converged on the Baton Rouge Marriott over Labor Day weekend to compete in the 2014 Louisiana State Championship.  After three grueling days and seven tough rounds of chess, Patrick Ballard displayed nerves of steel in a massive time scramble in Round 7 against two-time former champion Adam Caveney to bring home his first state title.  Ballard started with two wins, struggled through the second day with three draws, then finished strong with two wins to end up with 5.5/7, which was just enough to win the state championship on tie-breaks over Connor Lunney. 

With defending champion James Rousselle not playing due to illness and the top two seeds being Texas master Jeffrey de Jesus and Florida master A.J. Goldsby, the race for the title was wide open from the beginning.  When Caveney, the top seeded Louisiana player, continued his poor form against youngsters and fell to Eli Karp in round 2, there was no clear favorite. 

After round 2, the Blitz Championship was contested on Saturday night.  Not unsurprisingly, de Jesus, a strong master who plays very quickly, dominated.  He went 11.5/12 in the first six double rounds, clinching first, and took a zero point bye in the last round.  Dex Webster came back from a few stumbles in the middle rounds to take two games from Atul Kannan in the last round to finish second and take his first Louisiana Blitz Championship.  Ballard, the defending blitz champion, did not have a great tournament, and finished in the middle of the pack.

Dex Webster continued his momentum from the blitz tournament on Sunday, beating Karp and 2005 Louisiana Champion Eryk Hargrove before drawing de Jesus in round 5.  That left Webster in a commanding position at 4.5/5 at the end of Sunday.  Meanwhile, Caveney rebounded from a rough first day to win three games and move to 4/5. 

On the final day, Webster’s tough pairings finally took their toll when he fell to Goldsby on board one.  That loss brought lots of players back into contention going into the last round.  Goldsby led with 5.5, de Jesus and Caveney were at 5, and Ballard, Webster, Lunney, and Joshua Larcena at 4.5.  With Goldsby and de Jesus playing on board one in the last round for the tournament but not the title, boards 2-4 were left to decide the title, with Ballard playing Caveney, Lunney playing Webster, and Larcena playing Kannan.  Kannan beat Larcena relatively quickly, eliminating Larcena from contention, and Lunney played well in a tricky variation of the French Winawer to defeat Webster.  Because Webster’s tie-breakers were the strongest and Lunney’s the weakest due to a first-round loss, that result left the title fight to the board two battle between Ballard and Caveney.

The game did not disappoint.  Playing an obscure line of the McCutcheon French, Caveney took the initiative on the queenside while Ballard countered on the kingside.  An intense struggle ensured when Ballard broke through on the kingside and sacrificed two pieces for a rook.  The struggle took its toll on the clocks of both players and a wild time scramble broke out in a position far too complicated for a time scramble.  Just when Ballard should have won back a piece to take an advantage, he waited one move too long, allowing Caveney to wriggle out of the trouble and take the advantage by breaking into the queenside.  Then it was Caveney’s turn for a time trouble blunder and he did not disappoint, pulling out a big whopper that dropped not one but two pieces, leaving Ballard up a full rook.  The fireworks were not over yet, however, as Ballard misplayed the defense of Caveney’s queenside pawnstorm, forcing Ballard to give back the rook taking a pawn that Caveney queened.  After all the fun, Ballard ended up a pawn up in a rook and pawn endgame.  While normally these positions are tough, Caveney’s king was stuck on the h-file, and Ballard had a relatively straightforward win, which he duly converted.  After Ballard had queened his extra pawn, Caveney over-stepped the time limit in a hopeless position.  It was a great performance by Ballard in a tough position.

Congratulations to new state champion Ballard, blitz champion Webster, Goldsby, and Lunney!  All played well and deserved their titles, tournament victory, and loss on tie-breaks, respectively.  Full details of the tournament, with some games, will be included in the next bulletin.  

Site Updates

posted Sep 11, 2014, 4:04 PM by Louisiana Chess

The following site updates have been made:
    - The Bylaws and Board Members pages have been updated for the 2014/2015 year.
    - The 2014 Treasurer's Report and the 2014 Secretary's Minutes from the LCA Business Meeting have been added to the site.
    - The State Champion and Blitz Champion pages have been updated with the 2014 champs.
All the above pages can be reached through the left-hand navigation menu on this site.

The following site updates will occur shortly:
    - A 2014 Louisiana State Championship write-up by Adam Caveney, complete with results and a summary of the tournament.

Be on the lookout for changes to the site.  A massive overhaul is expected in the coming months, including more content and features.

LCA Web Extra

posted Feb 10, 2014, 7:33 AM by Louisiana Chess

LCA Web Extra

by Adam S. Caveney

In the Spring/Summer 2013 LCA Bulletin, there was an article in which LCA members posted the best games they ever played.  In that article, I noted that I had once beat IM Tim Taylor and had played a good game to beat then FM, now IM Stephen Muhammad to win a share of the 2001 Georgia State Championship and obtain the National Master title.  I thought that both of those game scores had not survived Hurricane Katrina.  I was wrong.  The game against IM Tim Taylor is still missing, but the game against Muhammad was just lost in a closet and has now been found.  Here’s that game:

White:  Adam Caveney

Black: FM Stephen Muhammad

2001 Georgia State Championship, Rd. 5

1. f4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. b3 Bg4 4. e3 Nbd7 5. Bb2 e6 6. Be2 Bxf3 7. Bxf3 Bd6 8. d4   O-O 9. O-O Qe7 10. c4 c6 11. Nc3 Rfd8 12. Qe2 Rab8

1st board diagram

The opening was a bit uninspired on my part, and he has easily equalized.  A long maneuvering game is in store.

13. g4 Ba3 14. Bxa3 Qxa3 15. Rac1 Nf8 16. Rc2 Qe7 17. Nd1 Ne8 18. Nf2 Nc7 19. Nd3 Nd7 20. Qg2 Rbc8 21. Qg3 Na6 22. c5 Nc7 23. h4 Ne8 24. g5 b6 25. Bg4 bxc5

2nd board diagram

I have no interest in recapturing on c5.  Now it’s time for the fireworks!

26. f5 cxd4 27. fxe6 fxe6 28. Qh3 Nc7 29. exd4 Qd6 30. Rfc1 Nb8 31. Ne5 Re8 32. Nxc6 Nxc6 33. Rxc6 Qf4 34. Rd1 Kh8 35. Rc2 Nb5 36. Rxc8 Rxc8 37. Qf3 Qd6 38. Qf2 Re8 39. Qe3 Qb6 40. Be2 Nd6 41. Qe5 Nf5 42. Bh5 Nxh4 43. Rf1

The tactics have not produced a definite advantage for either side, and both of us are now in serious time trouble.  He has netted a pawn on h4, but his rook and knight are in precarious positions, so the position could still go either way.  With a share of the state title on the line, neither of us is interested in a draw.

3rd board diagram

Unfortunately, at this point, the score was no longer kept due to extreme time pressure for both players.  Many moves were made without any particular resolution of the position.  Eventually, with both of us under 15 seconds on the clock (but with five second delay), we reached something like the following position.  I am not 100% certain that this is exactly correct, but the important pieces are right in the following diagram.

4th board diagram

In this position, it was his move, and he played Rc8, threatening Rc1+ with mate to follow.  In the time scramble, I picked up my bishop with the intention of taking his rook on c8, but fortunately realized that this allowed mate on g2 before I touched his rook.  With the clock running, I had to put the bishop somewhere, and since Bf1 was the only bishop move that avoided mate in one, I put the bishop there.  In the insane time pressure, he then finally cracked, playing Nxf1, missing that the knight was pinned, allowing me to win his queen with Qxe2.  With the five second delay, I was able to convert the advantage.  1-0.  Whew!  So, now you know how to make master: have a titled player drop his queen against you!


2013 LCA Business Meeting Agenda

posted Feb 10, 2014, 7:27 AM by Louisiana Chess



1.       Call to Order

          The meeting was called to order.


2.       President’s Address

          LCA President James Rousselle gave a brief overview of  LCA activity during 2012-13 and plans for the future.

3.       Treasurer’s Report

          LCA Secretary/Treasurer Adam Caveney gave the Treasurer’s Report.  This report is written and available on the website separately.

4.       Scholastic Coordinator Report

          As outgoing Scholastic Coordinator R.J. Tagorda had moved to Oregon, Leila D’Aquin gave an address regarding scholastic chess in Louisiana and the USCF Delegates Meeting.  Most of the information regarding scholastic chess was included in an article in the most recent LCA Bulletin (Fall-Winter 2013).  The information regarding the delegates meeting was interesting and your humble and quite unqualified secretary failed to take sufficient notes to even attempt to give a summary.

5.       Old Business:  Proposed LCA By-Laws Amendment

          Old By-Law:  The by-laws may be amended by having the amendment passed by the Board of Directors, published in two LCA Bulletins prior to submission to the membership, and passed by a two-thirds majority of the voting members present at an LCA membership meeting.

Proposed New By-Law (changes in bold): The by-laws may be amended by having the amendment passed by the Board of Directors, published in two LCA Bulletins or posted on the LCA Website for three months prior to submission to the membership, and passed by a two-thirds majority of the voting members present at an LCA membership meeting.

          The proposed new By-Law passed unanimously.

6.       Officer Elections:

          Officer elections were held.  All officers ran unopposed.  There were no LCA members from the Lake Charles or North Louisiana areas present, and those offices remain vacant.

President: James Rousselle                             

Vice-President:          Bob Ballard                 

Sec./Treas.: Adam Caveney                            

Scholastic Coordinator: Cheryl Webster        

USCF Delegate:  Leila D’Aquin

USCF Alternate Delegate: Michael Tisserand

New Orleans Area Board Rep.: Mitch Costanza      

Baton Rouge Area Board Rep.: Stuart Collins        

Lafayette Area Board Rep.:         Jim MacManus

North Louisiana Board Rep.: Vacant   

Lake Charles Area Board Rep.: Vacant

7.       New Business:

          A.      Membership Dues/Request for Board to be authorized to spend money to promote chess in Louisiana.

          LCA President James Rousselle detailed plans for the upcoming year including promoting chess through sending a bulletin to all USCF members in Louisiana.  It was suggested that the chess promotion efforts would cost approximately $1,000.  There did not seem to be significant opposition to the plan and a vote was not technically necessary, so no vote was held.

          The membership then considered the dues issue for the third year in a row.  By a unanimous vote, the membership chose to change the dues structure from the present $20 adult/$10 scholastic.  Two proposals were made.  James Rousselle proposed returning to the previous $10 adult/$5 scholastic membership structure.  After much discussion and interim proposals, Leila D’Aquin proposed the following membership structure: $25 family/$15 adult/$5 scholastic.  It was decided that the new change would also involve not requiring LCA membership for the state scholastic championship but requiring it for all scholastic players playing in adult tournaments that are LCA membership required where previously only high school age and above were required.  By an 18-7 vote, the dues structure proposed by Leila D’Aquin ($25 family/$15 adult/$5 scholastic) was approved.

          B.      New Website/Website Administrator

          LCA Website Administrator Patrick Ballard stated that he hoped that the redesigned website would be launched by the end of the year.

          C.      Other Issues Raised By Membership/Officers

          Leila D’Aquin announced that a new chess club playing quads would be launched in October at Pantera Bread on Carrollton Avenue in New Orleans.


8.       Adjournment

          By unanimous vote, the meeting was adjourned.  

2013 LCA Treasurer’s Report

posted Feb 10, 2014, 7:26 AM by Louisiana Chess

2013 LCA Treasurer’s Report 

Beginning Balance:  $1850.20



Memberships from 2012 State Championship:                       $380.00

Memberships from TSP Events:                                             $730.00

Donation Made at 2012 State Championship:                        $400.00

Scholastic Championship Stipend Payment:                          $309.00

Donation of Scholastic Stipend:                                             $103.00

Extra Memberships Mailed In:                                               $160.00                                  

Total Income:                                                                          $2082.00



USCF Affiliate Membership:                                                 $40.00

TSP Tournaments Net Loss:                                                   $24.62

Web Hosting Fee (Domain Name):                                        $9.95

Scholastic Stipends:                                                                $309.00

Bulletin #1:                                                                             $247.00

Bulletin #2:                                                                             $188.00                                  

Total Expenses:                                                                       $818.57

Beginning Balance:                 $1850.20

Plus Income:                           $2082.00

Less Expenses:                        $818.57

Ending Balance:                      $3113.63



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