Monday, December 8, 2008
2008 Board One All Stars
Greg and I have determined the players on this year's All Star Teams, with there again being three All Star team members for each board. We again made our selections independently, compared our selections, and then conferred to determine the final choices.
There is a small bonus awarded to each All Star team member with those on the first team receiving $200, those on the second team receiving $100, and those on the third team getting $50. The criteria we used to determine these were the same as last year (recall also that these decisions do include playoff performances unlike the League MVP Award).
1. Win Percentage
2. Total Number of Games (with a five game minimum to be eligible)
3. Performance Rating
4. Rating; if a player is lower rated and does well, this leaves extra rating points for the team to use on the other boards and could be very important to a team's success.
5. Clutch Factor: Did this player come through in crucial situations?
6. Replacability Factor; do we think that the player's team would have greatly suffered if that player wasn't on the team?
7. Did the candidate take a draw for the team when they were likely to win? Did they lose a game they could have easily drawn because the team situation dictated it?
8. Head to Head results versus other candidates
9. Total Number of Blacks
10. Luck factor; did you win because you generally played well or because your opponent made some colossal blunders/oversights?
1st Team: GM Julio Becerra (MIA)
For the third straight year (after being on the second team in the league's inaugural season), this spot had to go to GM Becerra. While Becerra is clearly a very strong player, his domination in league play has been above and beyond anyone's realistic expectations. This year, after an early season loss to IM Davorin Kuljasevic, it might have seemed that Becerra's USCL dominance might not be as prevalent this year, but he quickly shrugged off this defeat and followed it up with victories over GM Nikola Mitkov, GM Joel Benjamin, IM Marko Zivanic, and most importantly a playoff victory over GM Hikaru Nakamura, without losing another game.
As always, it was a great season by Becerra, and even though the Sharks once again fell just a bit short of their overall goal, with him always available to lead them along with the several other bright recruits who also performed strongly this season, the future looks very bright for Miami.
Record: 7.5 / 10 (75%)
Performance Rating: 2761
2nd Team: GM Sergey Erenburg (BAL)
While Baltimore as a team finished with a last place 1.5 – 8.5 record, this certainly was not due to a lack of performance by Erenburg. It was a very difficult choice as to whether he belonged on the second or the third team. In the end we decided to put him here mostly because he played eight games, which was more than his closest competitor. When you are such a strong performer, it's very important to play as much as possible, and we believe that when resumes are very similar, we should go with the more active player. Erenburg had some unbelievable performances, most notably his 2 – 0 score over the 2007 All Star who held this very All Star spot, GM Joel Benjamin, once with a very nice game in Week 6, and also had a GOTW winning performance in Week 8.
Although the rest of the team did not back up Erenburg's great season, Kingfisher fans can only hope that he might be able to come close to duplicating this next year as when the rest of the team performs up to par, with such a dangerous and strong player leading them, the inaugural champs may just return to prominence.
Record: 5.5 / 8 (69%)
Performance Rating: 2733
3rd Team: GM Jaan Ehlvest (TEN)
Everyone felt that the addition of Jaan Ehlvest to the Tennessee roster would make them a much tougher team, and they were proven quite correct. With Jaan, the Tempo finished with their best record in league history, a solid 4 – 6 in the very tough Western Division. If Jaan had only played more games, the Tempo would likely have had very good chances to qualify for the postseason for the first time, and although he had a tremendous result in 2008, this is what pushed him slightly below Erenburg and into the third team. Ehlvest had three wins (vs GM Patrick Wolff, IM Rogelio Barcenilla, and FM Bruci Lopez), and in his individual battle with second teamer, GM Sergey Erenburg, they fought to an exciting draw, which netted them both Game of the Week honors. Ehlvest is also one of the only USCL players in history to play a pretty reasonable number of games without a single loss.
After nearly taking the Tempo to the playoffs despite barely playing more than half their matches, it's obvious that with him on the roster, the sky is the limit. Tempo fans have to like their future prospects if Ehlvest can continue to play for them (hopefully in nearly all matches) as with him holding down the fort, along with the rest of the team's continued improvement, we could well see the Tempo in the postseason for years to come.
Record: 4.5 / 6 (75%)
Performance Rating: 2768
Other Candidates: The most notable omission from the Board One All Star Team was GM Larry Christiansen (BOS) (5 / 8) who had a performance rating of 2652. Although his win percentage and performance rating were not quite as high as those picked as All Stars, his two big playoff wins were nearly enough to give him a position on the third team. However, we simply felt that the other candidates' performances were impressive enough that they had to get those spots still. Three other strong showings were turned in by GM Pascal Charbonneau (NY) (4.5 / 7) with a performance rating of 2721, GM Alex Stripunsky (QNS) (4 / 6) with a performance of 2694, and GM Hikaru Nakamura (SEA) (4 / 6), performance 2707, all of whom had nice improvements from their 2007 showings, each scoring +2, after being -3, -2, and =0, respectively in 2007. Once again though, the resumes of the All Stars were simply a bit better than each of them and as such were picked to be so.
Stay tuned as in the next few days we will be announcing the All Stars for the other three boards!