Thursday, December 10, 2009

2009 Board One All Stars

Once again Greg and I have determined who qualified for this year's All Star Teams, with there again being three All Star Team Members for each Board. As usual we made our selections independently, compared our selections, and then conferred to determine the final choices.

There is a bonus awarded to each All Star Team Member with those on the first team receiving $300, those on the second team receiving $200, and those on the third team getting $100. The criteria we used to determine the teams was virtually the same as the last few years (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 Hikaru Nakamura (SEA)

A fairly easy decision as GM Nakamura tore through player after player during the regular season enroute to winning the
League MVP Award, and even with his tough Playoff loss, no competitor could really come especially close to matching him statistically in win percentage and performance rating.

Nakamura's fantastic regular season was obviously a huge key to Seattle's strong run in winning the regular season division title with a fantastic 7.5 - 2.5 record, including having two big wins in very tight matches versus two of his closest All Star Competitors, against
GM Giorgi Kacheishvili and GM Julio Becerra.

While his final match ended in disappointment for him and his team, there can obviously be no debate to how crucial he was to his team's overall success, and if he can return in 2010 on the same tear that he displayed during this year's regular season, Seattle has every reason to be optimistic about a second consecutive division title.

Record: 5.5 / 7 (79%)

Performance Rating: 2794


2nd Team:
GM Julio Becerra (MIA)

For the first time since the League's inception in 2005, it seemed fairly certain at the end of the regular season that GM Becerra would not make the All Star Team (the first time in five seasons!). However, his superb Postseason performance assured him of a spot after all, scoring two big wins (
Quarterfinals and Championship) along with a draw in a completely winning position in the Semfinals taken merely to clinch a match victory for his team. Given that he effectively scored plus three (counting the Semifinal draw as a win), had his great performance at the most important part of the season, and played far more games than nearly all of his closest competitors, he seemed by far the most logical choice for the second team and perhaps would have even been promoted to the first team had he managed to prevail in the final tiebreaker game in the Championship.

While the Sharks fell short of their ultimate goal by the narrowest of margins this year, having a leader who has been an All Star in five consecutive seasons has to be of great comfort to their fans, and as long as Becerra continues to lead the Sharks, it seems very likely that a Championship will come to Miami in the near future.

Record: 7.0 / 12 (58%)

Performance Rating: 2671


3rd Team:
GM Alex Stripunsky (QNS)

This was a very tough spot to determine with there being several candidates all of whom would have been very reasonable picks for this position. In the end, we wound up giving it to GM Stripunsky, despite the fact that he didn't play as many games as his competitors. This was somewhat due to his superior win percentage and performance rating, but mostly since his only loss came from a mouseslip in a position he was nearly certain to win (though to be fair his only draw likely would have been a loss if not for a similar mouseslip by his opponent). Despite that mishap he was still a bit stronger statistically than most of his closest competitors and like GM Becerra, we effectively considered him to have scored plus three, and thereby slightly edged out several other players for making the third team. Also impressive was that all three of his victories occurred with the Black pieces, all versus strong GMs including against
GM Vinay Bhat and GM Joel Benjamin.

While the Queens team as a whole had a disappointing season, having such a solid performer on the top board should definitely give them reason to be optimistic about what later seasons might bring for them. With him leading them, if the breaks which went against them this year can turn around in the future, the Pioneers should easily become a Playoff team once again.

Record: 3.5 / 5 (70%)

Performance Rating: 2775


Other Candidates: Board One easily had the highest number of people who finished in the close but not quite category in regards to the All Star Team, with any of the below people likely to have made at least the third team by scoring a half point more.

Probably the closest person to making it as is was
GM Giorgi Kacheishvili (6.5 / 12, 2667 Performance). Somewhat surprising in one sense since he actually scored only plus one and generally people are only considered for the All Star Team if they score at least plus two. However, as noted above, since he drew a game he likely would have won (against GM Stripunsky) due to a mouseslip, played many more games than the majority of his competitors, and of course pulled off an incredibly heroic performance in the Blitz Tiebreaker of the Championship Match, he nearly managed to make it anyway. This was a very close decision, one which certainly could have gone either way but weighing all of the factors, in the end GM Stripunsky slightly edged him out. Another player very close to making it was GM Joel Benjamin (NJ) (6.5 / 11, 2651 Performance), who also scored plus two and like GM Kacheishvili was also very active. However, due to his Quarterfinal win against GM Erenburg coming largely since his opponent had to go all out for the win in a position which was almost certain to be a draw and the fact that GM Stripunsky beat him head to head with Black, he also was slightly edged out for the award. Three other solid candidates (all with the same record!) were GM Alejandro Ramirez (ARZ) (4.5 / 7, 2741 Performance), GM Gregory Serper (SEA) (4.5 / 7, 2621 Performance), and GM Eugene Perelshteyn (BOS) (4.5 / 7, 2622 Performance), especially the former two with GM Ramirez's superlative performance rating and the fact that GM Serper's Quarterfinal loss probably would have been a draw had he not needed to try a risky idea to win for his team. Another potential candidate was GM Sergey Erenburg (BAL) (4.0 / 7, 2594 Performance) since, as mentioned, his Quarterfinal loss likely would have been a draw if not for the team situation, especially with that being his only loss of the season, despite facing some very tough competition.


Stay tuned as in the next few days we will be announcing the All Stars for the other three Boards!


Anonymous said...

How much money will GM Hikaru make

Both MVP and All STAR ?

Anonymous said...

With due respect to Stripunsky, Alejandro Ramirez had a 2740 performance, and played 2 more games than Stripunsky. His only loss was to Ehlvest. Alejandro also played on a playoff team. Giorgi is equally deserving playing 12 games and having a similar performance rating. I dont understand how this can be reconciled. The judges made a big mistake.