Wednesday, December 10, 2008
2008 Board Three 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: IM Alex Lenderman (QNS)
Before we start to go into the Board Three All Stars, it's important to note that the competition for the spots on this board was simply ridiculous in 2008 (as it was for Board Two in 2007). There were a few players who had very strong seasons who were not really even on the radar for consideration, due to the incredibly strong play of those who did make the team. Despite winning League MVP and having an insane score of 7.5 / 8, Lenderman incredibly was not automatically going to make the first team. If either of the other third board All Stars had had a torrid postseason run, they likely would've overtaken Lenderman for this spot. In the end, neither of them did quite enough to push themselves above the League MVP, and so Alex remained in first place. Alex's fine season included wins over IM Dean Ippolito, IM Emory Tate, IM Richard Costigan, and FM Oleg Zaikov, two of which won GOTW.
Also, please note that Alex was also eligible to be an All Star on Board Two (having played four games on each board). We strongly hoped that we would be able to put him there, as the resumes of Board Three's this season were much more impressive than the Board Two's, making it natural to put someone who could be in either place in the less competitive spot. However, Kuljasevic performed so well in the postseason that we would have felt it necessary, even with a bit of a lower win percentage, to place him ahead of Lenderman if we'd put Alex on Board Two. Since it's against League policy to place a player on a board which they would finish in a lower place (second in this case) when they're also eligible for a board where they would finish higher (first), we had no choice but to leave Lenderman as the first team All Star for Board Three.
In all, it was a very memorable first season from Lenderman; there obviously can be no debate as to how instrumental he was to the Pioneers' overall success, and it should be interesting to see how well he can perform in his second season.
Record: 7.5 / 8 (94%)
Performance Rating: 2726
2nd Team: SM Marc Esserman (BOS)
We had a ridiculously difficult decision to make for the second team between Marc and Sam Shankland with both players having incredible +6 results. Usually this kind of score would automatically give someone first team honors, but as mentioned, due to the dominance of several Board Three's, they ended up having to battle it out for the second team, while FM Ron Simpson, who finished at +5, was unfortunately left out altogether.
When it all came down to it there was very little to distinguish between Esserman and Shankland. A couple factors that finally pushed us over the edge were:
1. Esserman drew Shankland in their individual matchup with Black, but was clearly dominating the game and possibly played it safe due to the match situation.
2. Esserman was part of a Boston team that had a very deep playoff run, and he won a crucial game in the Finals.
It really could have gone either way as both players had tremendous seasons.
In all, Esserman had an amazing season, and though the last match ended in disappointment for his team, he certainly did a huge part in making it so close with his impressive victory in the Finals.
Record: 8 / 10 (80%)
Performance Rating: 2603
3rd Team: IM Sam Shankland (SF)
Sam was very unlucky to finish on the third team with a +6 record. He was the main star for the Mechanics, helping them to finish second in the West, and doing all he could to push them further in the playoffs as he was the only team member to win his quarterfinal game.
Despite the somewhat disappointing placement the third team might be for him after his great season, there should be no doubt as to how valuable he was to his team, and how remarkable his improvement since the 2006 season has been, having gone all the way from being an expert to now being an IM, along with scoring an incredible 15 / 18 in his three seasons.
Record: 7.5 / 9 (83%)
Performance Rating: 2605
Other Candidates: As mentioned above, FM Ron Simpson (CAR) (7.5 / 10) with a 2506 performance was ridiculously unlucky not to be an All Star as his +5 performance would be worthy of an All Star spot (and perhaps in some cases the top All Star) in nearly every other circumstance. Although he unluckily missed out on being an All Star, he clearly was a tremendous part of Carolina's Cinderella run, winning many crucial games for them when it mattered most and helping them secure the division title. Another strong performer was FM Osmany Perea (MIA) (6.5 / 10) sporting a 2546 performance while playing on Board Two several times. Also, both NM Mackenzie Molner (NJ) (5 / 8), 2491 performance and FM Robby Adamson (ARZ) (4.5 / 7), 2450 performance had solid +2 seasons, likewise winning some very critical games for their team. In addition, despite not playing an excessive amount, NM Parker Zhao (QNS) (2.5 / 3), 2638 performance was also noteworthy given his relatively low rating amongst Board Three players. All of these players might, under different circumstances, have made the All Star team, but the competition was just too strong this season.
Stay tuned until tomorrow as we will announce the Board Four All Stars!