Tuesday, December 4, 2007

2007 Board Four All Stars

If you are wondering what criteria was used to determine these All Stars, please refer to the first post on the subject.

1st Team: WFM Iryna Zenyuk (NY). A fitting final member of the First All Star Team as Iryna’s selection means that all four Semifinalists have one first team member. This was probably the closest decision amongst all the All Stars, but after examining the evidence in entirety it seemed that Iryna was the correct choice. Her only real competition for this spot was Boston’s NM Chris Williams. Let’s take a look at the resumes of both players:

(a) Win Percentage / Number of Games Played: Iryna's win percentage was 69% while Chris's was 67%, and Iryna played 8 games while Chris played 9. This is basically even.

(b) Performance Rating: This is a clear edge to Iryna as her performance rating was about 50 points higher than Chris’s (2398 to 2345).

(c) Head to Head record? The series was tied 1-1, however Chris won in the more important Semifinal encounter (though at the same time Iryna's win was probably the more impressively played game as it nearly won Game of the Week). Because of the more clutch win though, this is a slight edge to Chris.

(d) Would their team have suffered greatly without them on the team? This seemed to be a wash. Although Matthew Herman and Ilya Krasik had shaky seasons in 2007 (though neither played an excessive amount), they both performed quite well in 2006 so it seems likely that both teams would have been equally affected without Zenyuk or Williams. This category is also about even.

(e) Did the candidate take a draw for the team due to the match situation? Chris never did so, but Iryna did so on two occasions. Her more controversial one was her draw against NM Parker Zhao, clinching a match victory against Queens. In fact this draw turned out to be a pretty big blunder as if Baltimore had won the final match, this draw could have cost New York the playoffs due to having fewer tiebreak points. In a league like this where tiebreaks so often play a big part, it was likely a huge mistake to take a draw in such an unloseable position, and so we don’t give Iryna too much credit for this result. However, please note that this may have come at the behest or her team or manager; we really don’t know the exact circumstances surrounding it. She also drew her game against NM Evan Ju in the final week where if she had gone into their endgame with the knowledge that she needed to win, her chances of doing so may have been reasonable. Instead she only needed a draw to send New York to the postseason, and although it took over 100 moves, she did so without much trouble. It’s clear that Iryna has an edge in this category also.

There were other qualifications as well (such as Iryna playing an equal number of Whites and Blacks while Chris had twice as many Whites as Blacks), but overall it seemed the only real edge that Chris had over Iryna was that his victory in their head to head series was the more important one while Iryna seemed to have an edge in several categories and thus seemed to be the better candidate for the top spot. Like several other All Star choices though this was tremendously close and likely would have been changed with a half point difference anywhere.

Iryna should be given a lot of credit for the Knights making it as far as they did since when she came home from Ukraine to join New York, they were a team in fair disarray, especially on fourth board. Her inspired fourth board play is what really catapulted the Knights back into contention, into the playoffs, and eventually to the Semifinals.

Record: 5.5 / 8 (69%)

Performance Rating: 2398

2nd Team: NM Chris Williams (BOS). We have already examined Chris’s resume up above. As noted, Chris almost certainly would have won this award by either winning or drawing his final game (probably also if he'd drawn or won his tiebreak game against Stopa). Although the season ended on a disappointing note for him, there should be no debate as to how vital he was to the Boston team, coming up big for them on several occasions, including the Semifinals, as he sported a fantastic 6 - 2 record prior to the Finals.

Record: 6 / 9 (67%)

Performance Rating: 2345

3rd Team: WFM Bayaraa Zorigt (DAL). This was rather tricky as there frankly were really not any attractive candidates for this spot since no person eligible to be an All Star on this board (other than the two listed above) had a better than +1 score (while all the other boards had an excess of eligible people with a better than +1 score). In the end, Bayaraa made it fairly easy to choose her amongst the +1 candidates as she scored a far bigger win than any of the other candidates: a victory in the Finals to save the match for the Dallas Destiny, without which they obviously would not be USCL Champions. She was also a big part of Dallas's success due to the flexibility she allowed them as they had no lineups where they could use IM Stopa (a first team All Star) on Board 3 without her holding down Board 4.

Record: 3.5 / 6 (58%)

Performance Rating: 2240

Other Candidates: If Bayaraa had not been victorious in the USCL Final, the third spot would probably have gone to Joshua Sinanan (SEA) (3.5 / 6) or Gregory Young (SF) (3 / 5). Note that NM Parker Zhao (QNS) (3 / 5) would have generally been a fine candidate, however he played Board 3 for over half of his matches and so was ineligible to be a Board 4 All Star.

In summary, the All Star Teams are:

1st Team:

1. GM Julio Becerra (MIA) (2600)
2. SM Jorge Sammour-Hasbun (BOS) (2558)
3. IM Jacek Stopa (DAL) (2414)
4. WFM Iryna Zenyuk (NY) (2173)

Average Rating: 2436

2nd Team:

1. GM Joel Benjamin (NJ) (2653)
2. IM Davorin Kuljasevic (DAL) (2489)
3. NM Denys Shmelov (BOS) (2251)
4. NM Chris Williams (BOS) (2175)

Average Rating: 2392

3rd Team:

1. GM Larry Christiansen (BOS) (2663)
2. IM Vinay Bhat (SF) (2465)
3. IM Jay Bonin (NY) (2340)
4. WFM Bayaraa Zorigt (DAL) (2196)

Average Rating: 2416

Congratulations once again to everyone who made the All Star Team. To all reading, be sure to keep an eye out on the USCL Site as well as this blog as we will soon be announcing the Wildcard Games for the Game of the Year Contest (and of course starting the Game of the Year Contest soon after) along with announcing who the two expansion teams for next season will be!


Anonymous said...

I agree with the Board Four selections. It is worth repeating that the key to Championships appear to be consistent play from all four Boards. Teams that are "top heavy," with GMs, sometimes are weak, or inconsistent at times, on Board Four. Our Champions, Dallas, for example, had consistent excellent play on Board 4, losing only one game in 12 weeks!! From a percentage and performance rating point of view, they were led by Francisco Guadalupe (2.5/3 83%, and an outstanding performance rating of 2491!). Francisco also clinched a place in the finals for Dallas when he won his game against Barredo. Of course, the final team score made this less important, I suppose. Since he was just a replacement, as his higher (than Bayaraa's) rating made him ineligible to play more often, he could not receive All Star consideration. Ryan Milisits (1.5/2 75%, 2385 PR) was also outstanding. As mentioned, Bayaraa was 3.5/6 58%, 2240 PR and without her win against Williams, there would be no Championship for Dallas. Lilia only played once, drawing her game.

So, obviously, Board 4 for Dallas deserves as much credit for their Championship as do the other three Boards. They were outstanding from top to bottom, all 12 weeks! Congatulations again, Dallas!

Ilya said...

I keep hearing the same nonsense from Dallas, about top-heavy teams with Gm on bd 1 are weak or inconsistent on BD 4. Can someone explain to me whats weak or incostitent about a 2300 player playing board 4 for boston who scores 6/9? Does Dallas think we should have a 2400 player on bd 4?? Lets not forget we have a 2400 average rating cap...
Zenyuk and Williams were obviously close, it could have gone either way, I feel Zenyuk won because someone wanted to have a NY representative in the All-Star team as well awarding a sort of a consolation prize for Zenyuk who lost in the semis...oh well :)

Anonymous said...

Notice that I wrote "...sometimes..." Boston's 4th Board was obviously outstanding, with Chris. In fact, Dallas was fortunate that he messed up at the end. But, be that as it may, Bayaraa did come through with the win to put Dallas in the tie-breaks. I was also pointing out that Board 4 for Dallas was outstanding during the entire season, regular (Bayaraa) and replacements alike, particularly Francisco and Ryan, with a combined 4/5 and over 2400 PR! Of course, Boston's was great on Board 4... That, I think, is one of the main reasons why both teams were in the finals...

John Bartholomew said...

Ilya, give it a rest. All that the above poster wrote was that the Dallas Destiny have a balanced team. Nowhere in that post was there criticsim of your beloved Boston Blitz.

Ilya said...

I dont think Dallas is more balanced than Boston, we have 2580(league rat), 2575 2393 2302

Anonymous said...

I dont think they ever said that Dallas was more balanced than Boston either :)

Davorin said...

Ilya, your conspiracy theories are really amusing! :)

Greg Shahade said...


In any case there will be one next season. In week 3 we always have the rematch of the finalists from the previous season.

Ilya said...

Davorin, what is My "conspiracy theory"? lol

Davorin said...

Ilya, I was referring to your comment about how Irina Zenyuk got board 4 award and also your comments such as Dallas said xyz.. It's not big bad "Dallas" that writes those comments, it's people who support it. It's as if I said that Boston was behind your comments :) But anyway, I appreciate your comments, although they can be a bit unrealistic at times, but they show you truly care about your chess club, and Boston is a great one.
Good luck and see y'all next year!

Ilya said...

Davorin, thanks for your warm wishes, the only thing unrealistic here is the amount of luck Dallas had in the blits playoff, see ya next year.

John Bartholomew said...

Ilya should probably hibernate until next August. His posts are getting more and more embarrassing.

Elizabeth Vicary said...

Ilya, don't you think Shmelov was robbed for the third board All Star Team spot? After all, Shmelov played 11 games and Stopa only played six. And when they played each other, Shmelov drew with black.

I feel like you are failing in your duties to defend Boston's honor.

Anonymous said...

Bartholom truth cant be embarrasing, Stopa did got lucking in 3 straight games vs Boston, you gotta admit it.

Ilya said...

Whats embarrasing is Vicary's interviews imo.

John Bartholomew said...

At the end of the day, the Blitz made more mistakes than the Destiny. If you want to call that luck, go ahead.