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):

First Team:

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

Second Team:

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

Third Team:

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!


ben daswani said...

This is not a criticism of your selections, but I find it interesting that Carolina gets no all-stars. Nine teams got at least one. The other three Conference finalists got two.

Greg Shahade said...

Yes I noticed that but it unfortunately just worked out that way. Ron Simpson would normally be a surefire AllStar but was stuck on the most highly achieving Board in USCL history.

The other players, while they all had quite good seasons, just didn't have the credentials needed.....Probably the entire team was ranked 4th-7th for their board, which makes them overall a very above average team.

Another example of this is in 2006, when Boston ran away with the Eastern Division yet had zero All-Stars. Sometimes it just turns out that way.

Matthew Herman said...

Congratulations to Bayaraa, Eric and Ilya. Incredible season and a well-deserved championship for Dallas. Greg and Arun, great job as always. This league is probably the best run chess organization in the world and is something its organizers, players, managers and fans can be proud of.

Some questions about the medals:

"Solid showings were also turned in by NM Matthew Herman and NM Joel Johnson (ARZ), both of whom could well have been in the running, especially if they had played more games."

Not sure how I got lumped in with Joel's two-game season. I played as many games as Angelo and Eric, and your rules state that it takes only 5 games to be eligible.

Furthermore, you emphasize how Ilya "caught fire at the most important part of the season" and how Angelo won "...some key games which were huge in helping the Blaze stay in the thick of the playoff race until the very end."

Here are some facts:
*New York was 1-5 and left for dead by every commentator.
*We stormed back to win 4 in a row to qualify for the playoffs.
(If I'm not mistaken, an unprecedented feat.)
*Over those 4 matches, I was 3.5/4 (including a victory over your bronze medalist during his 1.5/5 start that left Boston fighting for its playoff life).
*New York was 5-1 with me in the lineup this year and 0-5 without. Does any other medalist here have such an 83% performance gap?
*2301 - 2144 = 157
*2367 - 2187 = 180

In sum, I beat Ilya on categories 1/3/8. He was better on 2. We were both fairly clutch, irreplacable (though my claim is backed up by results -- Boston just doesn't have another eligible board 4) and underrated.

See you next year!

Anonymous said...

i think herman was more deserving than ilya as well, boston has other players that they could have fit in, ilya was not there star by any standards, as as herman pointed out once they put him in the lineup NY started to win, and eventually shock everyone by making the playoffs. also ilya slipped up when it mattered most in the playoffs, only needing a draw to win the match which he couldnt get

mark_larocca said...

FYI... you could make a case for Ilya being Boston's MVP. Every time he scored Boston won and every time he lost, Boston lost. His brilliant streak of wins is what put Boston into the finals. He and Marc carried the team to the end. Blaming Ilya for the finals loss is silly... Dallas is a well balanced team and just plain gutted out a win.

Greg Shahade said...

Please note that any consideration made of Herman would probably approximate his score as 1/2 point lower, as he drew a game solely due to a mouseslip draw offer. We consider that stuff in all cases if relevant.

For example Kuljasevic probably would have lost a game in Week 1 to Friedel if SF didn't need a draw to win the match. It wasn't quite as clear as the Kahn-Herman game but if for some reason it was a really really close call between Kulj and someone else, we might give the nod to that other player (it wasn't close though).

This is just an example but the main point is that when I calculate the scores I have Krasik as +2 and Herman as closer to +1, which makes a huge difference IMO.

It's not as though we calculate such things if someone is losing and comes back and wins, but this incident was on a whole other level and it was through no skill of Herman that he achieved a draw in that particular game. It's basically the kind of thing that means if it's a close call between Herman and someone else, Herman won't get the nod, and if it's not really close, it won't matter.

Hope this clears up the process a little bit.

Greg Shahade said...

Anyway thanks for the kind words Matthew, I'm happy that you enjoy the league. I agree that your late run and Ilya's were quite similar, but I think in the end we made the best choice we could with the information we had.

Arun Sharma said...

Ok first off, thanks for the comment about the League Matthew, it's nice that some people think so well of it.

In regards to "lumping you" with Johnson, that clearly wasn't meant to imply that the two of you were "equal" candidates - as you noted, he was not even eligible. If you check the writeup of the other boards, basically what I did was I listed all players who scored +2 or better (assuming I didn't miss anyone), in the "Other Candidates" section which is the category both of you fell into - but I really only provided any comments in that section about the players who were seriously considered for the spot, and to be honest for this particular spot, our debate was really only between Krasik and Young for it (which was why I didn't take note of your clutch late season run - which clearly was noteworthy also).

In regards to the "played more games" comment, the basic issue was you, like Ilya, both had +2 showings, and the fact that he played several more games than you (mainly three playoff games compared to none by you) was really what set the two of you apart. Like other players, that may not have been under your control (similar to Esserman vs Shankland), but nevertheless we did consider it very relevant.

One large thing to me though was that statistically Young would probably have to be considered higher than you as the two of you played a similar number of games, but he had a higher win percentage and much higher performance rating. Considering that we still chose to put Ilya above him shows how much we really valued the above factor and under that point of view it's honestly hard to consider you a serious candidate in comparison to the two of them. I wouldn't blame anyone for disagreeing with that way of looking at it - as mentioned in the article it was basically the All Star philosophy we chose to go with, and I'm sure many would have chosen the other route.

And as Greg mentioned, we also did count your game vs Kahn as a loss for these purposes which was the biggest thing in preventing you from getting serious consideration for the team.

But to be honest even without that fact, as I basically said, in my mind I would have still had to put Young above you given the statistical difference - so at least to me it still would have been a choice between Krasik and Young.

Nevertheless, you did have a very strong late season in helping New York on that magical run - you are definitely correct that I'd completely counted your team out of the running, and you were definitely a huge part in proving me wrong so congrats on a strong season.

Ilya said...

Herman' whining and disparaging comments are strange to see. Herman scored +1, not including the obvious mouslip draw... and his team lost 3.5-.5 to Carolina in rd 1 of the playoffs. One thing needs to be clarified I think, does the regular season and playoffs count the same or not. I strongly believed Marc Esserman should have won best board 3 award because in my mind, playoffs are WAY MORE IMPORTANT. Winning clutch regular season games is important of course too, which I guess is what Herman's point was, but NY got killed in Rd 1 of the playoffs and Herman certainly did not help matters.
I am sorry Matt, you did have a good regular season, but I played more games than you, I won more clutch/playoff games than you especially the one in the Semis to overcome our 2nd draw odds in a row and as Arun pointed out my record was better than yours +2 vs +1 asumming you dont really count that mouslip draw...Esserman and I were sitting there that night trying to figure out if your opponent was on crack offering u a draw when you were dead lost. So why dont you and your annonymous cronies chill out with the disparaging remarks, I can sit here and bitch about not being 2nd board considering rodriguez hasnt been seen since week 7, but guess what he had a great season and a great score and I got 3rd-- ce la vie.

Matthew Herman said...

There wasn't a single "whining or disparaging comment", Ilya, merely a calm presentation of facts and questions. I "certainly didn't help matters" during the Carolina playoff match because I didn't play, which merely strengthens my 5-1 vs 0-5 point.

You had a great run and performed spectacularly during the back half of the season. You're also absolutely correct that critical games ought to carry significant weight. I converted three must-win, playoff-like games for the Knights, including one where you whined about the soundness of my play and got mated in 25 moves. You won two playoff games for Boston. You also played recklessly with black and cost your team the league championship (I've been there -- I blew a R+2p vs R in the Finals vs San Francisco two years ago).

Everyone keeps mentioning the Kahn game. Chess has luck. Period. Kahn was "lucky" I missed a one-move win earlier in the aforementioned game; I was "lucky" that he either misclicked or panicked and offered a draw. Did they deny Carolina a playoff spot a few years ago when a Tennessee player flagged (with increment) in a position an 800 could win?

Finally, I don't have "anonymous cronies". If folks who eschew self-identification agree with me, so be it. We do have one point of agreement -- Marc definitely deserved to be on the 1st team.

Ilya said...

First of all your post clearly indicated a whining tone, "why didnt they choose me", I am more deserving". Chess is luck as you say but when you play a dubious move and then win because of my subsequent mistakes, thats of course nature taking its course, right? If I were you I wouldnt even bring up luck in reference to the mouseclick draw offer, it is simply embarrasing! Not the mention your teams reaction which I heard was completely absurd. Telling Greg if he doesnt allow the draw to stand-- the Knights will quit the League. I believe you guys got fined for those remarks but this kind of pathetic blackmail should be completely eradicated. Yes, I recall your Rook and two connected pawns fiasco vs Shakland... And dont even get me started on my game vs Dallas and Zorigt because if I say what I really feel (as do some others around the league) on this matter I will simply be banned for next season and I already have been warned to that effect. Thats my two cents... Dont worry, your time will come Mr Herman.

Ilya said...

Lets do a poll, who thinks that the mouslick draw offer is as Mathew Herman thinks is just "luck" inherent in chess?

Matthew Herman said...

It's possible to question a decision without whining. Subsequent analysis showed the pawn sacrifice wasn't dubious (with best play a draw would arise) and you're responsible for your moves. The context of the Kahn game was that our playoff chances were on the line and the Arbiter was intervening in a way not sanctioned by the league rules. The comment that you refer to was not made by me, but by someone who temporarily used my machine to chat with Greg. Not sure what you're referring to re: Dallas/Zorigt, but I was sympathizing with the frustration of coming close and missing. As they say, "fourth time's the charm."

Ilya said...

I like your ability to twist facts, maybe you should try Law School as far as I know the person trying to make a ruling is the officially disignated person to make those rulings, and in this instance he was overuled which was a clear VIOLATION of the league rules. Then you attempted to blackmail Greg and the whole league by threatening to withdraw from them league if you dont get your way. Of course everyone can point fingers and say it wasnt me,someone was using the computer... ultimately the whole team has to accept responsibility for these embarrasing actions. Now as much as feel for your playoff chances, it is hard to imagine you guys want to get into them in this cheap manner. I have a lot of respect for some members of the New York Knights and for some I dont have even one iota because of this kind of behavoir which has become a pattern over the years.

Matthew Herman said...

The last word is yours; the last move was mine.

Ilya said...

Who got the 50 bucks? b...tch.:)

Matan said...

I propose a cage death match between Matt and Ilya. Probably the only way to decide matters.

Oh sorry I forgot,


Ilya said...

Leaf's fans dont get a podium sorry... :)

Anonymous said...

I think bitch has only five letters, Ilya.

Anonymous said...

ilya you really should get over yourself, there is one comment made by a random guy and you make it into a slug fest. you should get the fact that people ARE better than you through your head, because on top of not being by any standards the best player in the league, you also have the worst sportsmanship of anyone in the league, people ARE entitled to what they think and you should accept that or just keep your mouth shut. if you can manage to shut up you would have suprised even me.

Ilya said...

another anonymous coward....put your name down buddy and then we can discuss these issues you raise.

Anonymous said...

he dosent have to put his name down, he and i, are just a few examples of all the people that dislike your attitude. chess is a game, it isnt something that you should be cursing at people about. so i agree with the other guy, dont talk trash or keep your mouth shut.