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:
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
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
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!