Monday, December 6, 2010

2010 Board Four All Stars

For the criteria that was used to determine these All Stars refer to the first post on the subject.


1st Team:
NM Alex Cherniack (NE)

Board Four was, in many ways, the most difficult board to determine as the order of the top three stars was very unclear, with all six possible orders being considered. All three players scored an impressive plus four but amongst the other factors each of them had a few things in their favor and a few against them, making the overall decisions very tough.
In Cherniack's case, the other two candidates were both statistically a bit better and had much lower league ratings. But in his favor was how active he was, with three playoff games, a big Semifinal win against Grant Xu and perhaps more importantly a draw with Black against fellow All Star FM Ostrovskiy, especially considering in the latter game that he was definitely in a position for the majority of the encounter to play for the win and likely took the conservative route due to the team situation.

Even though his last game of the season was a rough one which came close to costing him this top honor, the overall season really could not have been scripted better overall for his team and Cherniack was definitely one of the most important keys to making that happen with so many key wins throughout the year.

Like many All Stars, what the future might hold for him in the League can only remain to be seen. Most teams tend to rely upon young stars to handle the bottom board,
but him being a longtime veteran whose rating has not risen drastically within the past year makes him one of the few who is in a position to fulfill the same kind of role next year that he provided this season. Should he do so with the same level of success, New England will almost certainly be a very impressive team once again.

Record: 6.5 / 9 (72%)

Performance Rating: 2359


2nd Team:
Alex Guo (SEA)

As mentioned, this too was a very tough position to decide upon. While Guo's lack of postseason games in comparison to Cherniack ended up edging him out of the top position, what really resonated in his favor and ended up ensuring him of the second spot was the fact that all five (!) of his victories came with the Black pieces, a very impressive stat.

Amongst these wins included several impressive performances, a near Game of the Week winning
performance in the opening week against NM Rosen and another key victory
in Week 9 against 2009 All Star NM Liou, a very pivotal performance when Seattle's postseason chances were in extreme peril.

Having lost GM Nakamura for 2010 and with their longtime young star FM Lee, having "graduated" to Board Three, the Sluggers were in desperate need for another young underrated star to step forward and fill the gap on the bottom board, and it's fairly safe to say that Guo did that in impressive style. With two teammates, GM Akobian and FM Lee, also taking spots on the All Star Team this year, should all of them return to the Sluggers in 2011, expect Seattle to be a very strong team from top to bottom.

Record: 5.0 / 6 (83%)

Performance Rating: 2432


3rd Team:
FM Aleksandr Ostrovskiy (NY)

After a two season absence from the League, FM Ostrovskiy returned to action in 2010, and having a League rating about two hundred points lower than his August rating, it's not surprise that he turned out to be such a valuable weapon.

While he lost a bit of steam at the end of the season with three straight draws after beginning with four wins, especially as mentioned above, a tough draw in the Quarterfinals with White when his team desperately needed a win, he was clearly a huge key to New York's great start to the season. Starting the season off with a win with Black
against former All Star NM Krasik and another win in Week 5 against NM Schoch, were just two of his nice victories en route to the Knights starting the season 4 - 1.

With his current rating being close to 2400, there is no question that any team who wishes to utilize him in 2011 will likely to have to find a slightly different use for him than he provided this season. But given his incredible improvement, nearly three hundred points in just over a year, it seems likely that someone will take note of that and find a good use for him come next season.

Record: 5.5 / 7 (79%)

Performance Rating: 2447


4th Team:
Nicholas Rosenthal (MIA)

In one sense, it might be surprising to see Rosenthal as an All Star considering his overall record was plus one, and it generally takes a much better record to make it. On the other hand, his incredible second part of the season with four straight wins, all being upsets of more than two hundred points, three of which were playoff games, would likely have some arguing that he should have taken a higher spot. Overall it was very much a matter of perspective, and while the positives (in particular his very low league rating) were easily enough to make him a stronger candidate than a few others who were statistically a bit better, they weren't quite enough to put him above any of the top three whose records were simply much better overall.

After such a rough start to the season, Rosenthal really was unquestionably the biggest key to Miami's huge playoff surge, helping them overcome draw odds twice in the postseason with his huge upsets. Though the final match didn't end up going his team's way, he certainly did his part with
another huge upset, this time of the eventual top All Star on this board, NM Cherniack. His most impressive victory likely came in Miami knocking off the division champions Arizona in the Semifinals when he broke the Board Fours winning GOTW drought with a nice attacking win against NM Thompson.

Like most Board Four All Stars, the question of what role he might play in 2011 is a very interesting one. Despite a marked improvement in the past year, he still resides at a rating which, in comparison to his performance in the second part of the season, would make him an incredible asset to any team. With him also having two teammates as All Stars in GM Becerra and FM Martinez, the Sharks will be definitely be looking to once again be the team that makes it out of the Western Division and will also be hoping to finish the job this time around.

Record: 4.5 / 8 (56%)

Performance Rating: 2309


Other Candidates:

Two other players who had solid seasons but weren't quite impressive enough to make it to the team were
WFM Bayaraa Zorigt (DAL) (3.0 / 4, 2345 Performance) who handed All Star Guo his only loss of the season and also NM Ankit Gupta (3.5 / 5, 2265 Performance) who also won some very critical games for his team. Though both were in some ways statistically stronger than Rosenthal, his impressive other attributes still managed to give him the final spot. Even so, both were instrumental to their team staying in the playoff hunt until the end and are likely to be very helpful to their teams in 2011 as well.


And so those are the All Star Teams! To recap, they are (using December 2010 USCF Ratings):

First Team:

1. GM Sergey Erenburg (BAL) (2646)
2. IM Robert Hungaski (NE) (2535)
3. FM Marcel Martinez (MIA) (2475)
4. NM Alex Cherniack (NE) (2311)

Average Rating: 2492

Second Team:

1. GM Julio Becerra (MIA) (2609)
2. GM Pascal Charbonneau (NY) (2553)
3. FM Michael Lee (SEA) (2432)
4. Alex Guo (SEA) (2175)

Average Rating: 2442

Third Team:

1. GM Hikaru Nakamura (STL) (2822)
2. IM Marc Esserman (BOS) (2519)
3. GM Ben Finegold (STL) (2600)
4. FM Aleksandr Ostrovskiy (NY) (2377)

Average Rating: 2580

Fourth Team:

1. GM Varuzhan Akobian (SEA) (2704)
2. IM Julio Sadorra (DAL) (2495)
3. IM Daniel Rensch (ARZ) (2450)
4. Nicholas Rosenthal (MIA) (2027)

Average Rating: 2419

And with those completed, the two main other rewards to give out are the Rookie of the Year and Most Improved Player Awards which will be announced in the next day or two.

After that comes the main postseason attraction, the Game of the Year Contest, which begins with the announcing of the seven wildcard games and then the actual contest itself. This will also begin in a few short days so be sure to keep a close eye on the USCL site so that you don't miss anything!


Anonymous said...

Just getting around to seeing boards 3 and 4, great job Martinez and Cherniack, was a legendary season for Alex.

Anonymous said...

cherniack plays for ne, dont insult the man

Anonymous said...

With so much talent to choose from, it may be a good idea to name East and West all-star teams next season. Maybe even have an all-star game

Just saying... said...

Hmm... If the 4 teams were to play against each other, I doubt the 1st team will come out on top. What a curious way to select your all star teams!

Anonymous said...

This is a very pressing issue. I want Julius's opinion!

Julius G said...

Well you could probably guess I'm a little frustrated, my main man Nicholas Rosenthal only placed fourth? He just has an aura of greatness around him that apparently everyone can't see, but in 2011 he will make you witness it. I guess I can't be too upset, I recently found out others have a lot more to be angered about. The Miami Sharks held a party after the Championship to still celebrate their great year, and I noticed someone left a piece of paper close to the trash bin, I wondered if it was meant as garbage. I opened it and it read as follows.

`Its bound to happen, folks. Especially when you’re driving through South Dixie Highway. There’s plenty of miles of nothing but shards of scrap metal, broken glass, and other anti-tire gadgets. It’s a big joke in Miami. Everyone thinks it’s very funny. Ruining a nice set of Michelins is a real darn hoot, apparently. I forgot how much of a laugh riot it really is! Definitely check it out! You’ll chortle away. Try to do it during the most important Chess match up so you want to kill yourself. Yeah, it's great. Also, make sure you forget your wallet so you have to end up going down on some gas station attendant for four worn tires. Ask the jagoff for a coke afterward, he won’t give it to you. See if you can get some polaroids he takes too. Those will be fun to look at later when you are down in the dumps. “Hey!”, you’ll say, “At least I’m not orally stimulating a man off South Dixie Highway to get a used set of Goodyears!” That’ll make you feel better! The hell it will. You put a mans penis in your mouth for 150 pounds of steel belted rubber buddy, and you still didn't make it to the Miami Chess Academy in time, you won’t be forgetting that anytime soon. So deal with it. Now go change your own tire. Make sure the damn car falls on your head and crushes your skull. Please just end the suffering.'

I found it rather interesting so I kept it, no clue on who the author could be but it was a motivational speech I figured I could use later on in life. I won't be bitter about the players selected, a wise man once said, "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." I believe it was Jim Varney in Slam Dunk Ernest, but I could be wrong. For Most Improved Player, Sam Shankland would normally be a strong option, but with Nicholas Rosenthal in the running for that, I don't think anyone else is really a consideration at all. Give him more awards, now.