Monday, November 29, 2010

2010 Board One All Stars

We have once again determined this year's All Star Teams for all four boards. With the greater number of teams in the League this season, the teams have been expanded to each having four members rather than the usual three. Also, with the slightly larger roster sizes, which naturally reduced the number of games the average player played, the minimum requirement to be eligible for the Team was lowered from five games to four. As usual Greg and myself 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, those on the third team getting $100, and those on the fourth team $50.

The criteria used to determine these All Stars are a combination (in no particular order) of the below factors (recall also that these decisions do include Playoff Performances unlike the League MVP Award).

1. Win Percentage
2. Total Number of Games (with a four 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. Replaceable 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 Sergey Erenburg (BAL)

Of all the decisions about who should be on and what the order should be for the Board One All Star Team, this was really the only position for which there was really no debate. GM Erenburg
easily took the top spot, with a fantastic winning percentage and performance rating, with only GM Nakamura being in the same range. But with Erenburg being incredibly active, playing nine games, including a playoff win over another strong All Star contender, GM Christiansen, he seemed easily the best choice for the first team.

His strong season included several great wins, with two second place finishers in the GOTW contest, in Week 2
and Week 7, both against 2009 All Star GM Stripunsky as well as a final week win against another near All Star, GM Benjamin, which assured the Kingfishers of reaching the Playoffs, especially considering the latter two victories occurred with Black.

Baltimore, after three seasons of missing the postseason, have really rejuvenated their franchise with two consecutive Quarterfinal appearances, and there can be no doubt that Erenburg's incredible contribution at the top has been a huge part of it. While the inaugural champions have not managed to take the second title they aim for, with him leading them, the time when that happens could well be closer than many might expect.

Record: 7.0 / 9 (77%)

Performance Rating: 2824


2nd Team:
GM Julio Becerra (MIA)

For the first time in six seasons, the
League MVP did not end up also becoming a First Team All Star. But GM Erenburg having run a close second to GM Becerra in that race, with Erenburg's superior postseason performance, this switch was really not surprising. In fact, the very tough choice was whether Becerra should be on the second or third team as GM Nakamura clearly surpassed him in both winning percentage and performance rating. It basically came down to weighing those factors versus how active each player was. No one could dispute the importance Becerra had, playing in every match this season for Miami. It was a fairly close decision, but in the end we felt that having played so many games, having many important wins, and also having taken a draw in a winning position in Week 10 to secure the match and a postseason birth for his team, that those positives slightly outweighed the statistical difference and so awarded the second place spot to Becerra. Like a ton of All Star decisions this season, this was very close and would have likely been switched with a small difference anywhere.

In all, it was another extremely memorable season for Becerra, even if the last match of the year might have ended on a sour note in several ways. But he has demonstrated time and time again his incredible resilience both in his personal results and in leading his team back from a tough 0 - 3 start. His great season included being the first player in many, many attempts to defeat
GM Lenderman as well as a very crucial win against GM Gurevich in the second to last week of the regular season when Miami was teetering on the brink of postseason elimination.

While, as noted, the last match of the season ended up leaving his team in the close but not quite category once again, Becerra's incredible League performance, now being a six (!) time All Star including along with three MVP awards, without question makes him the most noted player in USCL History. Having lead his team to three Championship Matches, it seems to be only a matter of time before one such showing ends with the right result for Miami.

Record: 8.5 / 13 (65%)

Performance Rating: 2705


3rd Team:
GM Hikaru Nakamura (STL)

As mentioned, it was a very close choice between whether GM Nakamura would finish here or in the above spot. Though the tough decision wound up putting him here, he had another incredible season, finishing with roughly an eighty percent record for the second straight season, the sort of consistency which is extremely rare in the USCL. There is also little question of how vital he was in keeping St. Louis in the thick of the playoff race until the very end, with the team scoring an impressive 4.5 / 6 with him in the lineup and a disappointing 0.5 / 4 without him. His strong season included several match critical victories like in Week 3 with Black
against GM Ramirez and in Week 8 against GM Friedel.

Although the season ended up having a disappointing result for his team, there is no question they have the tools to put together a Championship run. Fans have to be hoping that Nakamura will end up returning next season after all to lead St. Louis once again. With a season's experience under the team's belts and with them likely to once more bring forth a lineup that will strike fear in the hearts of all their opponents, the Arch Bishops will very likely be a team to watch out for in 2011.

Record: 5.0 / 6 (83%)

Performance Rating: 2832


4th Team:
GM Varuzhan Akobian (SEA)

This was a very close decision between GM Akobian and IM Shankland - just like the choice between the second and third team, it came down to measuring two players, one of whom was statistically superior versus one who was more active and played in more critical games than the other. Just like the previous decision, this was a very tough call to make and would have gone the other way with the slightest change. But in the end, we decided to grant the spot to Akobian as he faced very tough opposition in his smaller number of games including the League MVP, GM Becerra, and the second highest rated player in the league, GM Shulman. Taking into account that he defeated both (a dominating win
against Becerra in Week 3 and a very critical win against Shulman in Week 10 to send Seattle to the playoffs), and the general high level of his play (as evidenced by four of his six games finishing in the Top Three of the GOTW Contest), he ended up narrowly taking the final All Star spot.

The loss of GM Nakamura from the Seattle team after 2010 was doubtlessly a big blow to the Sluggers' chances, but Akobian proved to be a very critical addition as after starting the season slowly, his arrival seemed to right the ship, and several critical wins by him were crucial to Seattle snatching the final playoff spot in the extremely competitive Western Division. Should he return next year, Seattle is likely to be a very dangerous team again.

Record: 4.5 / 6 (75%)

Performance Rating: 2761


Other Candidates:

As noted above, the closest person to also making the team was
IM Sam Shankland (NE) (5.0 / 8, 2711 Performance), especially with his much lower rating in comparison to those he was competing with for these spots. Although unfortunately this close decision wound up going against him, there can be no doubt how instrumental he was to New England's Championship run, helping them become the fifth team in six years without a GM to take the title while demonstrating his personal excellence in becoming one of only two people to have won two Championships on two different teams. This season, after a rough start, he rebounded extremely well, scoring five from his last six, including two huge playoff wins against two of the most successful players in League History, GM Lenderman and GM Becerra.

Two other players who also had very strong seasons but not quite strong enough to grant them serious All Star consideration in comparison to those above were
GM Larry Christiansen (BOS) (6.0 / 10, 2659 Performance) and GM Joel Benjamin (NJ) (5.0 / 8, 2676 Performance). Both were very active and faced some very tough opposition yet still managed quite strong scores, but as mentioned their resumes were not quite good enough to give either of them the nod over the five players listed above.


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


s. suschitzky said...

The league has no love for Sam Shankland, congrats to all the all-stars!

David said...

since Shankland counted at 2532 he saved his team 60 rating points compared to the four all-stars selected. you could just add that to his performance rating to compare it with theirs. and he scored key points in the post-season. and he prepared with his teammates. and his team won the championship. and he blogged. i feel he clearly deserved fourth team, but i'm not livid, just wanted to register my respect for his season publicly.

Alex Lenderman said...

I agree, Sam Shankland definitely deserved to be an all-star, from 2nd place to 5th place and it was a very difficult choice for the judges because all 5 players had extremely good seasons, where on another year they would probably be 1st or 2nd. But at the same time it's also hard to argue against Akobian, Nakamura, or Becerra being on the all-star team. Maybe it would've been good to make an exception and give 5 places this year for the first place team :)

Nathan Berkoff said...

I would like to pose a question to those who decided upon these all stars. How did Sam Shankland get left out? For example, compare him to the second place finisher, GM Becerra. His performance rating was essentially identical, being just 6 points higher. However, as "David" pointed out, he gave New England 58 points to use on other boards, essentially making his performance rating 64 points higher than Becerra's (and thus higher than Akobian's as well). He also won their individual matchup and was more successful in the playoffs, leading New England to the championship. Becerra cannot be credited with an extra half point for his game with Kraai, both because he was lucky not to lose and because he did not agree a draw to clinch the match as this article suggests- the match had already been decided in Miami's favor. He simply agreed a draw in a position with an extra queen where there was nothing to lose from playing a couple moves and forcing resignation. On the other hand, Shankland demonstrated true fighting spirit by winning his semifinal game against Lenderman rather than offering a draw, which would have clinched the match. It is wrong to count number of games against Shankland as he only played when he was needed/ optimal. When New England played against teams without strong board 1's, the manager, Vigorito decided to play Hungaski or himself to give more points to lower boards. Based on their record, I don't think anyone has the right to question if Vigorito made a good decision, but that does not change that Shankland would have manhandled those lower players. The other all-stars may have had higher scores, but those scores were boosted by playing the likes of Kretchetov, Mikhailuk, Bartell, Gurevich, etc while Shankland never played anyone under 2500 and only 2 players under 2600. He still played 8 games, played very well, and was fully deserving of being on the all star team, probably in second place. It is a shame, I thought that he would finally start getting his due recognition after missing GOTW in his game with Kacheishvili because he came back to win the championship game of the week, but clearly I was wrong. Maybe the judges do not think as deeply as I do, maybe they have a beef for Sam Shankland, maybe they are just lunatics. I wouldn't know, I don't even know who they are. But once again, the "player of the year" did not get any recognition for his outstanding efforts.

Anonymous said...

Opponent's average ratings:
Erenburg: 2601
Becerra: 2582
Nakamura: 2566
Akobian: 2561
Shankland: 2611

Sergey Erenburg said...

Throughout this season I had a feeling that the only way to get any kind of award in the USCL is to:
a) Be a member of Boston Blitz team
b) Write a blog post that some people find sarcastic, while others may find hateful or questionable
c) Both a and b

It seems important to me that there were clear criteria used to form these All Stars. There is always a room for arguing and I agree with Alex that Sam deserved to be on All Stars and maybe judges could have made an exception and give 5 places this year for the first place team. You could ask me where the cash for the extra prize could come from. The answer is clear: awarding prizes for blog posts that some of us might have found offensive or felt annoyed by them is questionable.

Now, I urge the judges to use some kind of criteria for the GOTW contest. I especially liked the 10-th criterion: “did you win because you generally played well or because your opponent made some colossal blunders/oversights”. Why not apply it to GOTW contest?
In addition, the system of medals proposed by me could be used.
I feel that with clear guidelines/criteria, the choice of the GOTW/GOTY will be more transparent and we’ll avoid many embarrassments we've experienced this season.

Anonymous said...

I preface this with the great respect I have for Erenberg as a player. However, the constant complaining is tiresome. If Erenberg wants to write the criteria and have it submitted then do it. Perhaps the League will take it under the consideration. But GOTW judging and the unreal number of personal attacks on the judges is shameful, just shameful. Calling out the judges is painful - the judges get nothing from the league. The League gets nothing. I realize that USCL is to be taken seriously, but the unreal complaining is pathetic, immature, and part of the reason that chess does not get more donations. BE happy that the USCL exists and that chess gets some recognition.

Anonymous said...

its also unreal how quickly some people jump on the band-wagon(shankland in this case) and begin to give a fellatio. Sure, Sammy had a great season but you cant not give Erenburg first board prize for his "sick" performance just because his team sucked d..k, can ya?

Anonymous said...

who is Shanklandd?

Anonymous said...

Oh just go back to St. Petersburg

Steve Matador said...

Even though Shankland acts like a little baby and at times like a punk he certaintly deserved to get on the 1st board All-Star team. Nakamura on the other can be left out, his loaded team failed to make playoffs, his commitment to uscl and his team was lackluster.

Peter said...

One thing I've learned is that the most intelligent people, immediately upon achieving success and receiving accolades, make self-depricating marks. Or they simply pretend to ignore their recent "momentum" while they move on to promote their personal agenda. In my opinion, the best form of modesty is a simple "Thank you" or simply saying nothing at all. Shame on Erenburg. The earlier complaints were not nearly as classless as this.

s. suschitzky said...

I hate to post a slightly negative remark, but I think he made sense in his statement. I mean Essermans blog was ridiculous, and because of a constant feud that was allowed and countless comments from the same person for him not to retire, and like seventy votes for him during the GOTW poll which was absurd, he got rewarded for it. And Ilya Krasik, being an amusing character and all can still cross the line way too often, and also gets rewarded for his writings. I think it does send a message to others, squeaky wheel gets the grease, coddle the loud mouths in the class so they'll just shut up. I don't exactly agree with it but I can understand why it's done, so if someone has an issue with it, or has a real issue with something like Sam Shankland not making the all-star team, the last thing needed is hypocritical comments saying its whining when its fully justifiable. I don't know Sam personally but I think he's been the embodiment of a role model throughout the season and the person calling him a baby as an anonymous post is truly the baby, and the same person probably posted "who is shankland" as if you are going to stumble on a specific blog like the uscl all stars and not know the head of the championship team in chess. Looking to win another blog prize for such witty comments? I wonder, does everyone realize the constant contradictions they continually post? Again I look forwarded to the rest of the All-Stars and congratulations to everyone who makes it and to those who got left out.

Anonymous said...

I basically agree with S. Suchitsky. It seems that the Shankland groupies came out too strongly on his behalf and Erenburg felt a bit insulted or under-appreciated lets say. Then Erenburg vented all his anger on the Boston Blitz, a team that has been a thorn in his behind lately. No one likes whiners whether they are eminent GMs or hopeless patzers and the comments reflect that.

Braden Bournival said...

Jathan Jerkoff said...

i would like to let everyone know that the real name of my twin, nathan berkoff, is mackenzie molner

David said...

the four players selected are obviously awesome, and had great seasons. i am sorry if my [intended] positive comment about Sam contributed to making GM Erenburg feel less appreciated. i made very positive comments about him in my eastern playoff preview.
anyone else find it surreal (or hypermodern) to see anonymous tell anonymous to go back to st petersburg?
and a big haha and touche for s. suschitzky: ""who is shankland" as if you are going to stumble on a specific blog like the uscl all stars and not know the head of the championship team"

Daniel Parmet said...

I can't be sure but i'm guessing the 'who is Shankland' comment was meant to be a joke. It's hard to read that kind of humor on the internet where no facial expressions or tone of voice can be found.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Parmet, are you not the gentleman who took Shankland's blog post where he made a shopping list and said give me blog of the week seriously? That should forever disqualify you from judging what is a joke and what isn't.

Anonymous said...

see like the comment above is clearly a joke because no human can be that stupid :)

Ilya said...

I was told its important for me to put "my two cents in" so here we go. 1.Shankland is a deserving all-star,it is surprising he got left out.
2. Erenburg, is learning that the multiple choice is an important element of any presentation
3.Erenburg's assertion that one has to be from the Blitz to win Blog of the week notwithstanding,one must nevertheless wonder why he doesn't write anything himself, and use his trumps to his advantage. I'm talking about the G and M initials, you know the ones that resemble a certain car manufacturer ; instead of complaining Sergey all you have to do is write some half-ass blog post on the most boring game you've ever played and you'll be amazed how easy it win this coveted prize over the fishes like myself, just ask Van Mortel ...
4.We don't yet have a COW prize(complaint of the week )but when we do, you'll surely be a top contender.

Anonymous said...

"We don't yet have a COW prize(complaint of the week )but when we do, you'll surely be a top contender."

Coming from you, that is officially the funniest thing in the USCL this year.

Derek Ong said...

Ilya has played hard for many seasons, is active in team selection, and writes articles and comments, generally cares about the League. He has every right to say what he wants. The annon haters on the other hand should keep their trap closed, unless they have something interesting to add.

Anonymous said...

Ilya has been an active member of the league, contributes great articles and deservingly wins accolades,he is also not afraid to put his name on controversial topics and generally speaks his mind. Meanwhile you have bitter and jellou
s opponents and annon haters all over the blogoshere who do nothing but complain. How long will this chaos and injustice be tolerated. Whoever is moderating this blog is doing a terrible job,all uscl players aught to be protected from personal attacks, they don't deserve this.

Arun Sharma said...

Ok a few things.

First off, I don't typically allow these anonymous insults. Next season, there will be absolutely NO anonymous posting whatsoever. With the season essentially being over though, I decided to mostly let the anonymous-es have their final wave of fun (starting with the Esserman post) and so only deleted really insulting comments unless the affected party specifically asked me to.

I must say that I didn't anticipate that those anonymous-es would go so far as to bring my sister (for the second time) into this debate though. The thing is: my family and the USCL are two completely separate aspects of my life. Even though I didn't find those comments to really be insulting, I'm extremely concerned by the fact that my worlds seem to be colliding. For those who don't understand how dangerous that can be for a person, I think this clip really describes it very well:

I think it should be very clear from that why I cannot permit that to continue so I regret to tell you all that any further comments of that nature will have to be deleted. But as I said, enjoy yourself in the other regards for now, just remember this will essentially be your last chance to ever do so in the USCL again ( definitely a good thing I think - surely forcing people to be men and post under their names rather than just hiding behind their computers can only be a positive thing overall).

Rihel said...


I don't think that people who were wondering why Shanklank was left out were questioning your 1st place in the All-Stars. Your position as 1st is undisputable this year.

Ilya is right-- if you wrote a blog post, you are very likely to have it read. You are right, too, that Ilya and Marc got far too many blog awards for stirring the pot and being sarcastic. Marc is one of my very good friends, and I actually like Ilya's posts even when I want to dislike them (I think he is creative, and with a proper edit for some clarity of tone, a slightly lighter touch with the sarcasm, and a grammar/spell check, he would be a good writer). That being said, I thought many other blog posts were better, certainly less mean spirited.

But to bring all this up again is a bit much.

Greg Shahade said...

Just a quick note about how Blogs of the Week work.

What makes a good/interesting blog is obviously very subjective. I have my own preferences towards certain types of articles, Arun has his own preferences that are clearly different than mine, and many other people have different ideas as well.

I'm not sure how many people know how we determined the blog of the Week winners, but basically we tried to have as many different judges as possible, and during that week we gave 100% of the power to select winners to that judge.

Sometimes I would be the judge, sometimes it would be Arun, and more often it was just some random USCL fan that we felt followed the league closely and would do a good job of making fair selections.

We have always kept the identity of the judges secret as we didn't want to open them up to pressures and influences that others who judge USCL related activities have been known to encounter. Just do note that we have had about 6 or 7 different judges this year for the Blog of the Week prizes, and I think trying to put forth some objective criteria is not a great idea, because it gives the impression that our opinion on what makes a good blog is the only valid one.

I have felt many times that the blog of the week winners were incorrect, but if I judged every single week, many of those posters would have never had even the slightest chance to win due to my tastes in what articles are best, so I like the system we used, as it made sure that one or two people didn't have too much power in selecting the winners. I understand that whatever I think is or should be in a subjective contest like this, is not always what the majority of fans will always agree with, and this is why we tried to add as much variety to the process as possible.

Sergey Erenburg said...

Couple of notes.

First of all, I feel sorry for Ilya that his anon buddies did not do a good job, so he himself had to write another super-intelligent comment (the GM thing and others) that is supposed to make me “overreact”.

In general, it seems that Ilya and I have different prospective and goals: he writes blog posts to win cash prize. Fair enough. I’m not good at this, so I do what I do best. The GOTW/GOTY contests are not about money for me, it’s about recognition. See, there are artists who produce something new and all they want is that people like their work. When I write articles for ChessBase or play my games, I want to create something new, something that will be useful or enjoyable for other people to analyze or look at. I hope it clarifies my comments on GOTW 7, 8 and quarterfinals, where I stepped out and disagreed with clear injustice. Yes, I consider awarding GOTW to a game with colossal blunders/oversights or a game that does not introduce anything new to chess, awful injustice towards people who actually create something new and sophisticated.

Now I’ll refer to more pertinent comments. I have already admitted that I respect opinion of certain individuals, and Jason Rihel is one of them. (Please don’t get me wrong, he is not the only one who has posted comment and whose opinion is interesting to me) I have recently seen Jason Rihel writing to Ilya: “It seems that every week there is confusion about what you mean in your posts,” and “I also find it hysterical that you chide me for thinking that everything is about me, when you say things like this: “This year , I decided the league doesn’t need me as much as before due to so many new teams present and abundance of bloggers so I took it easy, anyone who misunderstand my importance in building this league is just out of his f… mind.” “ (Ilya’s super-intelligent reply was “Erenburg got confused even though it couldn’t have been more clear I was joking, even you thought so. Ok English is not his native language so we gave him a break..”, which reminds me of “Go back to St. Petersburg.”)
I thought that people start to see a bigger picture on Ilya’s contribution to the chess in US, but I understand that Jason Rihel is not looking for conflict tone, so it’s also fine.

Now to my post itself. I praised the judges for writing down clear criteria and using them. All I said is that this is the right thing to do with regard to GOTW/GOTY as well. I mentioned Sam in my comment simply because once again I felt that it is some kind of injustice that he is not on All Stars. For those who wanted to hear an explicit thank you statement, here it comes:
“Thank you for selecting me for top board one all stars.”

Ilya said...

Lol Sergey, the grand dillusion continues...Your assertion that I write to win cash prizes is very funny indeed since there are no cash prizes. Also, unlike you, I don't get paid to play in uscl(not that i should, I'm a lousy bd 4) and I have written articles long before they instituted the blogging prizes. I write because I like to write, because I'm good at it( I'm told) and because the League needs people who participate in it to do so. I urge you to do the same. If you want I'm willing to give my 50 $ amazon certificate to you, just so you stop crying over nothing. Regarding, saying that English isnt your native language , first of all english isnt my native english either and secondly this is what regular chess fans who follow USCL told me they believe, when they were trying to explain your sudden outburst. But you're right that I shouldn't be so judgmental. In any case, you are worthy top all-star this year and your play in the league in general is impressive every year.

Arun Sharma said...

Congrats everyone you are close to getting moderation turned back on! Please by all means keep it up.

Anonymous said...

Why does EVERYONE, even a seemingly friendly guy like vovsha, have it out for catdog?

Anonymous said...

what did vovsha do?

Anonymous said...

The prerequisite to understanding this letter is to have encountered some of Ilya Krasik's obiter dicta and to have realized how blasphemous they are. Here's my side of the story: Ilya doesn't want us to stick to the facts and offer only those arguments that can be supported by those facts. He wants us to behave like sheep, not showing any inclination to saunter off in a direction other than that in which the shepherd (Ilya) wants us to go, in this case eschewing Esserman as an all-star. Ilya intends to keep us sheep blissfully ignorant of the fact that we are at war. Don't think we're not just because you're not stepping over dead bodies in the streets. We're at war with Ilya's unambitious sermons regarding the future of the Boston Blitz. We're at war with his whiney biases. And we're at war with his callow inclinations. As in any war, we ought to be aware of the fact that Ilya has been known to "prove" statistically that he defends the real needs of the working class. As you might have suspected, his proof is flawed. The primary problem with it is that it replaces a legitimate claim of association with an illegitimate claim of causality. Consequently, Ilya's "proof" demonstrates only that his ramblings may have been conceived in idealism, but they quickly degenerated into uncontrollable interdenominational-ism. To sum it all up, the path down which Ilya Krasik wants to lead us is empty and bleak.

Anonymous said...

This blog has totally degenerated, I dont understand the need to attack Arun's family nor the need to attack USCL players with long essays that make zero sense, take a cold shower or something.

Rihel said...

Hi Greg,

I thought the Blog Post of the Week was a great addition to the USCL features this year and generated lots of new and interesting content for the league. Most of the time, especially when there were 2 or 3 awards, the random judge did pretty well, even a few weeks where I thought I saw a great post that would probably be ignored, and viola! they won.

One I thought overlooked: mULSCe was consistently generating Onion-like pieces that slayed me, but it never seemed to win.

May I suggest that the website include a "Blog of the Week History" page with links so people can easily find the winners in the off season and in the future? Some are worth revisiting.



Anonymous said...

Julius G. Gerstenkorn, 93, passed away Friday, August 13, 2010, at Midland Hospice House. He was born January 22, 1917, in Odin, Kansas, the son of Andrew and Anna (Herman) Gerstenkorn. Julius married Cecilia A. Boor in Odin, Kansas, on January 19, 1943. She survives. Julius worked 22 years for Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co., retiring in 1980. Survivors include his wife, Cecilia Gerstenkorn; sons, Kenneth (Vickie) Gerstenkorn, Haslet, TX; Melvin Gerstenkorn, Topeka; Ray (Karen) Gerstenkorn, Topeka; daughter, Bernie (Dick) Glissman, Centralia, KS; 7 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren; one brother, Andrew (Bea) Gerstenkorn, Wichita, KS. He was preceded in death by his son, Richard Gerstenkorn. Visitation will be held at Mater Dei Holy Name Church, S.W. 10th & Clay on Monday from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m., where a parish rosary will be prayed at 7:00 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial will be 10 a.m. Tuesday at Mater Dei Holy Name Church. Burial will follow at Mount Calvary Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please send memorial donations to Mater Dei Catholic Parish and/or Midland Hospice Care in care of the funeral home. Online condolences may be sent to

Sergey Erenburg said...

Ilya, it’s worth a lot to get a compliment from somebody like you (given our recent online disputes), so thank you.

I thank you for offering me to write blog posts and $50 certificate (Yes, it’s not cash, but it’s not that nobody buys on Amazon, so I’d say it’s a pretty liquid asset, very much like cash). However, I have some time constraints and again, I’m not good at it. In contrast to me, you are good at writing, and I agree with Mr. Rihel that with a slightly lighter touch with the sarcasm your blog posts will not be offensive to so many people. Moreover, I’ll buy you a drink once our relationship is normalized :)

Finally, I do get paid for playing in the USCL (even though it is four times less than what I used to be paid in European leagues). As a former professional chess player, I feel some kind of responsibility towards current and future professional chess players. If people like me agree to play for free, how are professional chess players supposed to make living from chess?

Anonymous said...

Top GMs like Erenburg are paid by USCL to play in the league? Because I don't see any merit for the team to pay for their players.

Ilya said...

Sergey, I never take these so called disputes seriously, even if I sound like I do, and i always try to give credit where it's due. So, as far as I'm concerned there is nothing to "normalize" :) As for the previous annon question, yes top players do get paid in USCL and it is very important that they get at least "decent" compensation for their time. So far, our top players as well as those on other teams have played virtually for free or way below market value :) as Sergey just mentioned. However, in the long run the success or failure of the league to a large degree depends on whether or not top players can be fairly compensated, you cant expect the experiment to run indefinitely. What the hell does it mean, you don't see any merit in paying them, on the other hand do you see any merit in watching the action or posting stupid comments?

Anonymous said...

I understand that it is reasonable for USCL to pay top GMs to play in the league, but I was saying there is no reason for the team to pay for their top players. For example I assumed USCL (not Sluggers) paid to fly Akobian to Seattle because I felt Sluggers practically get nothing from paying Akobian.

Sergey Erenburg said...

Sounds good, Ilya.
I owe you a beer :)

Anonymous said...

USCL did not pay Akobian to fly to Seattle.