Thursday, December 11, 2008
2008 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 Bayaraa Zorigt (DAL)
This was not a very close decision. Bayaraa made the All Star team in 2007, but barely squeaked onto it, mainly due to overall weak performances from the majority of other Board Four's. In 2008 she exploded onto the scene, with a tremendous +6 record, including a 3 – 0 record in the playoffs (Quarterfinals, Semifinals, and Finals), all in must win situations for her team. Without her stellar performance, it's safe to say that the Destiny would have had no chance at repeating as Champions.
Zorigt has clearly established herself as a very clutch performer, winning two very critical games in both years of the Finals to give her a team a chance at the title which they of course made good use of. Destiny fans can only hope that she returns next year in the same form that she ended this season on to try to help Dallas achieve a three-peat.
Record: 8 / 10 (80%)
Performance Rating: 2461
2nd Team: NM Eric Rodriguez (MIA)
Rodriguez had one of the most unusual seasons of any All Star in USCL History. He seemed well on his way towards becoming the first team All Star, when suddenly Miami reverted to using a lineup that didn't include him. This was a very natural decision as the lineup they used continued to win match after match and lead Miami to the division title. Unfortunately, this also meant that Rodriguez shockingly never played again after Week 7, despite having amassed an amazing 5 – 1 result at that point. However, his impressive +4 score, with several match critical victories like this and this, was good enough to get him onto the second team even though he didn't end up competing in the most high pressure matches for his team.
In all, Rodriguez was easily Miami's best Board Four performer to date, a place where they'd definitely struggled in the first three seasons. Should he, along with first All Star Becerra and near All Star Perea all return to next year's campaign, look for Miami to be competing for the Western Division crown again.
Record: 5 / 6 (83%)
Performance Rating: 2516
3rd Team: NM Ilya Krasik (BOS)
This was an extremely difficult position to figure out. It basically came down to choosing a philosophy: Do we take a player who had a much higher win percentage along with a much higher performance rating (due in part to playing on Board Three several times), or a much lower rated player who played many more games and really caught fire at the most important part of the season? In the end we went with the latter, as Krasik got this spot instead of IM Angelo Young. Krasik won five consecutive games late in the season, and it's pretty clear that without those victories, we definitely would not have seen Boston in the USCL Finals. Also, although his performance rating might have seemed low at 2301 compared to Young's, it was still 170 points higher than his actual rating, an impressive stat to maintain through eleven games. Although this decision, like many, was very close, we felt that it had to be valued more to perform at such a level in comparison to one's rating over that many games, instead of just six like Young.
Despite the disappointing way the season ended for Krasik in the Finals, it still overall was a very impressive season from him, definitely demonstrating his mettle with his five consecutive victories at the most crucial part of the season and helping the Blitz overcome draw odds twice in the Playoffs with his Quarterfinal and Semifinal wins.
Record: 6.5 / 11 (59%)
Performance Rating: 2301
Other Candidates: As mentioned IM Angelo Young (CHC) (4.5 / 6) with a 2505 performance was very nearly an All Star, but unfortunately the close decision wound up going against him. He nevertheless had a very strong season, winning some key games which were huge in helping the Blaze stay in the thick of the playoff race until the very end. Solid showings were also turned in by NM Matt Herman (NY) (4 / 6) with a 2367 performance rating and NM Joel Johnson (ARZ) (2 / 2), 2590 performance, both of whom could well have been in the running, especially if they had played more games.
So there you have it! The All Star Teams are (using August 2008 USCF ratings):
1. GM Julio Becerra (MIA) (2640)
2. IM Davorin Kuljasevic (DAL) (2528)
3. IM Alex Lenderman (QNS) (2528)
4. WFM Bayaraa Zorigt (DAL) (2217)
Average Rating: 2478
1. GM Sergey Erenburg (BAL) (2592)
2. FM Slava Mikhailuk (SEA) (2437)
3. SM Marc Esserman (BOS) (2315)
4. NM Eric Rodriguez (MIA) (2242)
Average Rating: 2397
1. GM Jaan Ehlvest (TEN) (2668)
2. FM Tom Bartell (PHI) (2386)
3. IM Sam Shankland (SF) (2364)
4. NM Ilya Krasik (BOS) (2144)
Average Rating: 2391
Congratulations as always to everyone who made the All Star Team this year, all of whom made the 2008 USCL Season very memorable for the spectators. Next up comes the Game of the Year Contest which will begin soon with the releasing of the seven "Wildcard" games and then the contest itself soon after. So everyone be sure to keep close tabs on the USCL site so you don't miss any of the GOTY announcements as the contest will be going by at a much quicker rate this year!