Sunday, December 4, 2011

2011 Board One All Stars

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


1st Team:
SM Jorge Sammour-Hasbun (BOS)

This was a fairly easy decision as Sammour-Hasbun had the best record, highest performance rating, and scored two big wins with Black against the player who wound up being the second team All Star, GM Kacheishvili. The first win also won Game of the Week while the second occurred in the Playoffs, signifying the importance of his performance.

While the Quarterfinals win wound up being for naught in the grand scheme of things, it was really an incredible season by Sammour-Hasbun. With the relocation of the Boston team lessening their ability to use their GMs, the importance of the role he played cannot be understated. The Boston team continues to be one of the better teams in the USCL year after year, having made the postseason the last six seasons but have still been unable to quite make it to the very end at the top. But if there are more seasons like this in store for their new top player, that could well change very soon.

Record: 6.0 / 7 (86%)

Performance Rating: 2849


2nd Team:
GM Giorgi Kacheishvili (NY)

This was a closer decision as both GM Kacheishvili and GM Finegold could potentially have laid claim to this position, each having some factors in their favor. In the end, due to Kacheishvili's much tougher opposition (as evidenced by his superior performance rating despite having an inferior record), along with the importance of many of his wins, he was given the nod for the second spot.

Among these important wins obviously none can measure up to the
win in the Championship the decisive game there, which won Game of the Week. Another of his many impressive victories with Black was a win which helped New York start the season off right against GM Margvelashvili.

With his performance, Kacheishvili becomes one of the very few heroes of two USCL Championships, being the main key to New York's victory in both the 2009 and 2011 League Championship. Having a strong ability to outplay strong players with the Black pieces is a rare gift indeed, and as long as he leads the Knights, it will be hard to count them out as real Championship contenders in any season.

Record: 7.5 / 11 (68%)

Performance Rating: 2740


3rd Team:
GM Ben Finegold (STL)

After receiving a spot on the third All Star Team on Board Three in 2010, GM Finegold managed to top that in 2011, moving up to doing the same on Board One with a superior record despite tougher opposition.

As noted, Finegold was a serious candidate for the second team also with his great record, but unfortunately the close decision wound up going against him. But his importance in keep the St. Louis team competitive could not be overlooked as he scored many nice wins, a win in opening week
against fellow All Star GM Kraai and a nice technical effort against IM Molner.

While his team had a very disappointing season, with the Arch Bishops now having a two time All Star as a core member of their squad, they can still be hopeful of what the future might bring. If they can shore up the weak points of their effort this year, St. Louis could quickly become a very solid team in no time.

Record: 6.5 / 8 (81%)

Performance Rating: 2719


Other Candidates:

Three other players who had solid seasons but weren't quite impressive enough to make it to the team were
GM Yury Shulman (CHC) (4.5 / 7, 2631 Performance), GM Alex Stripunsky (MAN) (4.0 / 6, 2750 Performance), and GM Sam Shankland (NE) (3.0 / 4, 2772 Performance), each of whom scored a big win (a playoff clinching win by the first and wins against one of the top All Stars for the other two). All were also very important to their team, Shulman scoring the decisive win for the Blaze in the Quarterfinals, Stripunsky in leading the Applesauce back to the postseason after a three year hiatus, and Shankland in bringing the Nor'easters back from a terrible start to the brink of the Playoffs. But while all had very nice seasons, none were quite on par with the All Stars in our eyes.


And so those are the All Star Teams! To recap, they are (using December 2011 USCF Ratings):

First Team:

1. SM Jorge Sammour-Hasbun (BOS) (2607)
2. IM Conrad Holt (DAL) (2548)
3. IM Jay Bonin (PHI) (2404)
4. NM William Fisher (PHI) (2348)

Average Rating: 2477

Second Team:

1. GM Giorgi Kacheishvili (NY) (2667)
2. IM Levon Altounian (ARZ) (2493)
3. WGM Tatev Abrahamyan (LA) (2339)
4. NM Sam Schmakel (CHC) (2218)

Average Rating: 2429

Third Team:

1. GM Ben Finegold (STL) (2585)
2. GM Jesse Kraai (SF) (2567)
3. IM Angelo Young (CHC) (2391)
4. Roland Feng (SEA) (2110)

Average Rating: 2413

What remains now is to give out are the Rookie of the Year and Most Improved Player Awards which will be both be announced in the couple of days.

After that comes the main postseason attraction, the Game of the Year Contest, which will start with the listing of the seven wildcard games that will join the thirteen Games of the Week and then the actual contest itself. This will also begin in just a few days so be sure to keep a close eye on the USCL website for all the announcements!

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