Sunday, December 13, 2009

2009 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 Angelo Young (CHC)

Just as for the top two boards, the choice for the first team here was a no-brainer as no one on this board really even came close to matching Young's incredible season. Despite having what is only about an average rating amongst Board Three players, Young surrendered only one draw in six games, including playing one time on each of Board One and Two. This fantastic season included two big upsets, the first against one of the most successful players in League History
IM Sam Shankland and another on Board One despite starting with a big time penalty against GM Rogelio Barcenilla. The only slight blemish on his great year was that he did have the advantage of having White in all of his games which could have counted against him had any player come close to matching him statistically. But since this was not the case, he was the only reasonable choice for the first team.

While his two great seasons have not managed to achieve what I'm sure is the real goal: a Playoff birth for the Blaze, if he can continue to perform at such a ridiculous pace, it's inevitable for a team with so many other strong players like Chicago to not achieve a Postseason birth soon.

Record: 5.5 / 6 (92%)

Performance Rating: 2751


2nd Team:
FM Andrei Zaremba (QNS)

Another easy decision as after IM Young, Zaremba easily had the best stats amongst the Board Three regulars having scored plus three and being quite an active player. His strong season included a powerful win which finished highly in Game of the Week against two time All Star
IM Marc Esserman and a nice tactical win with Black against 2008 All Star FM Tom Bartell.

hile he, like fellow All Star teammate, GM Stripunsky, has to be somewhat disappointed that his strong season did not result in the overall team success that he had to have been hoping for, with the two of them hopefully being a part of the Queens team for years to come, the strong punch they carry can obviously create a lineup which can beat any team and should help the Pioneers return to the Postseason very soon.

Record: 5.0 / 7 (71%)

Performance Rating: 2533


3rd Team:
IM Marc Esserman (BOS)

This was a somewhat closer decision as FM John Bick was also strongly considered for this spot, having a virtually identical record to Esserman. It essentially came down to weighing Esserman's much superior performance rating (more than a hundred points higher) against Bick's much lower league rating (almost a hundred points lower). In the end, while one can obviously not understate the importance of Bick's lower league rating, which was very key to Tennessee being able to use their double GM lineup at all times, we simply did not feel that that fact should outweigh Esserman's clearly superior opposition (as evidenced by his better performance rating) as Bick played several times on Board Four.

In all it was another very strong season from the now two time All Star Esserman, continuing on his great run from last year while playing many great games in the process, a Game of the Week winning game against 2008 All Star,
FM Tom Bartell along with two other high finishing GOTW performances against near 2008 All Star, FM Ron Simpson, and against near 2009 All Star, FM Oleg Zaikov

There is really no question of how vital Esserman has been to the Blitz's success over the last two seasons, in 2008 serving them on Boards Three and Four and this year on Boards Two and Three. Now that his rating has risen even further, along with him getting his IM title, it should be interesting to see exactly what role he will play next season in trying to help Boston finally achieve their first Championship in 2010.

Record: 4.5 / 7 (64%)

Performance Rating: 2493


Other Candidates: As mentioned, the person who was closest but not quite in regards to the Board Three All Stars was
FM John Bick (5.0 / 8, 2386 Performance) who had a great early season, winning game after game which was very important to Tennessee's early success. Though he, like the team, faltered a bit later on in the season, with such a solid underrated Board Three player on the squad, the Tempo definitely have one good tool available to them to help turn around their performance in 2010. Two other players who very well could have been All Star contenders had they played enough games to be eligible were
FM Victor Shen (NJ) (3.0 / 3, 2741 Performance) and NM Vadim Martirosov (BOS) (3.0 / 4, 2418 Performance), both of whom had some very big wins without which their teams would not have done nearly as well.


Stay tuned as in the next few days we will be announcing the All Stars for Board Four!

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