Sunday, November 27, 2011

2011 Board Four All Stars

Greg and I have again determined this year's All Star Teams for all four boards. Based upon general feedback we reverted back to there being three teams for each board (rather than four like last year) with the minimum requirement to be eligible for the team still being four games for the whole season.

The bonus awarded to each All Star Team Member is $300 for each member of the first team the second team $200, and third team $100.

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: NM William Fisher (PHI)

This was certainly one decision which didn't require much thought as Fisher put together an absolutely incredible season. His 9.5/10 record speaks for itself, but added to the fact that the vast majority of his victories were obtained in very convincing fashion, what he did in 2011 could well add up to the most impressive single season ever by a player in the USCL. Two of his most impressive wins were a nice effort with Black against another strong performer from 2011, NM Defibaugh, and a game which received some GOTW attention, a win against NM Gershenov.

In all, it was a very memorable first season for Fisher, being the main reason why Philadelphia vaulted from a solid, yet unspectacular team into one of the League's clear best. It's very likely that the Inventors will want him back for 2011 given his incredible first year's performance, but now that he sports a much higher rating, he'll likely have to be moved up to third board, and it should be interesting to see if he can continue his great run there.

Record: 9.5 / 10 (95%)

Performance Rating: 2551


Another decision that didn't require much contemplation as NM Schmakel also put together a great season, with a very impressive record.

Several teams had tried before in the USCL to put together very top heavy lineups via using a very underrated fourth board. This had met with limited success in the past as the inherent weakness that this tended to create on the bottom board often proved fatal. But Schmakel ended up doing the opposite, as he turned out to be one of Chicago's strongest points, as he was the difference for the Blaze on multiple occasions in scoring the decisive victory of a match which was instrumental to Chicago achieving the best record in the USCL this year. Two of his biggest victories were a match deciding victory against NM Thompson which received second in GOTW as well as a victory with Black against FM Xiong in the Quarterfinals without which Chicago would not have moved on to the Semifinals.

Just like Fisher, it was a very memorable first season for Schmakel, and it should be interesting to see what the future holds for him. While his now much higher rating will preclude him from being a part of super stacked lineups in 2012, given how impressive he was this season, it seems more than likely that the Blaze will keep him on as a strong weapon for the bottom board once again.

Record: 5.0 / 6 (83%)

Performance Rating: 2394


This was a tougher decision as there were several players with fairly similar stats competing for the last All Star spot. In the end, the nod was given to Feng mostly because of his much lower rating in comparison to the others - something which, in addition to providing his team with more lineup flexibility, also made his performance that much more impressive. His nice season included two fair upsets, in Week 6 against NM Gershenov and in Week 7 with Black against Ruan.

While Feng had a very impressive first season for someone who sported such a low league rating, unfortunately his team overall had a rather disappointing season - something which a squad with as much talent and drive as the Seattle team has will no doubt be looking to rectify next season. But with Feng still at a prime rating to be a very useful weapon on fourth board, that's certainly one place the Sluggers know they have good prospects in for 2012 and possibly years beyond.

Record: 3.5 / 5 (70%)

Performance Rating: 2389


Other Candidates:

As mentioned there were other players in strong contention to also possibly receive the spot on the third team. The three main other candidates were NM Gopal Menon (CHC) (3.0 / 4, 2409 Performance), NM Alex Fikiet (NE) (3.0 / 4, 2389 Performance), and NM Konstantin Kavutskiy (LA) (4.5 / 7, 2318 Performance). Each overall, statistically, was fairly similar to Feng in our eyes, the former two having a very similar record and performance rating, and the latter also having a similar record and having played more games than any of the others. In the end, as mentioned, the nod was given to Feng over each of them due to his much lower league rating as he weighed in at U2000, with the others counting for much higher ratings. This was, nevertheless, a fairly close decision, and likely any of the three players who ended up barely missing out likely would have taken the spot with an additional half point.


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

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