First and Second Team USCL players announced!
by IM Greg Shahade                   

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    It's time to recognize those players that shined the most in the 2005 USCL season. A first team USCL will be announced, in which the most outstanding players for boards 1-4 will be recognized, while a second team will be announced in which the runners up for boards 1-4 will be recognized. Let's start by taking a look at the board 1 candidates.


  First Team (IM Pascal Charbonneau)

Board 1 was a relatively easy decision for the judges. Baltimores top board, IM Pascal Charbonnaeu, was the key component to the Kingfisher's Championship run. Pascal came through with victories over GM Christiansen and GM Alejandro Ramirez, while beating GM Julio Becerra in the league finals. Apart from this he stopped the mighty GM Alex Stripunsky on 3 occasions, drawing New York's third board on all three occasions. With the energy he showed this season, Pascal was awarded the league MVP title and clearly deserves to be 1st team USCL on Board 1.

Second Team   (GM Julio Becerra)

This was a tougher decision but GM Julio Becerra got the nod as he led the Miami Sharks to the league finals and was leading the MVP race until a painful loss in the final match of the season. Becerra was untouchable in the first nine weeks of the regular season, as he scored three wins and held everyone else to a draw. The first time that Becerra was unable to play for his team, they were defeated 0.5-3.5 by New York, thus highlighting his value to the Sharks.


  First Team  (IM Lev Milman)

Board 2 was an extremely difficult decision, but in the end Milman was given the nod over his strongest competitor due to his shocking win in their individual matchup. Lev played all the matches for his team aside from the one match that was pre-agreed drawn, due to the Hurricane in Miami. Lev's only missteps were to Christiansen while playing on top board, and to his friend Dmitry Shneider in the final week of the season. Aside from that Milman posted a plus two score, and did all he could to help the Carolina Cobars finish well this season. Unfortunately the rest of the team didn't follow suit.

  Second Team (FM Tegshsuren Enkhbat)

Once Milman was named as part of the first team, the choice for second team was obvious. Enkhbat was the rock that held together the League Champions as he played in all 10 matches with a +3 score (One of only 3 players in the league to play all 10 regular season games, and the only player to play 12 games). Despite Baltimore's eventual League Championship, Enkhbat didn't perform as well in the playoffs and this was likely the difference between him making first team instead of second. In any case Enkhbat played solid yet aggressive chess throughout the entire season and was a vital part of his team's success.


  First Team  (FM Gregory Braylovsky)

This was again a very tough decision to make. There were two players who simply played excellent on the third board, and it was tough to give one the nod over the other. In the end, New Yorks league leading regular season record of 8-2 dictated that they deserved a player on the first team, and there was no better candidate than Gregory Braylovsky. Braylovsky ripped through the league in the early part of the season with three wins right out of the starting gate. He then agreed to a draw against Board 2 first teamer Lev Milman to secure victory for New York, in what looked to be a winning position. Braylovsky played quite a few matches on board 2 as well, and thus faced some stiffer competition, with wins over IM John Donaldson and a win over board 2 second teamer, FM Enkhbat Tegshsuren. Overall Braylovsky finished the season with a highly impressive +4 record.

  Second Team (FM David Pruess)

San Francisco's David Pruess performed excellently as he played board 3 for the Mechanics in 9/10 regular season matches. Things started tough for Pruess, as he lost his very first game to Dallas 3rd board, IM Peter Vavrak, yet then he picked up the pace, winning 5 of his last 8 and drawing the remainder to propel San Francisco to first place in the Western Division. David wasn't done just yet as he won his first match in the playoffs against IM Blas Lugo, however his teammates weren't able to pick up his example and San Francisco was eliminated in the Semi Finals. It's a shame that Braylovsky and Pruess never got a chance to meet each other, as in the week that their teams met up, Braylovsky was paired on Board 2 vs John Donaldson. Including the playoffs, David finished with a +5 score and was the key to San Francisco's success.


 First Team (NM Elvin Wilson)

This selection was truly a no brainer as Elvin won the hearts of USCL fans by winning his first 6 matches, all with the black pieces! Philadelphia came into the league with the lowest average team rating by a longshot, yet were extremely competitive all season long, and even had a .500 record going into week 8. Elvin was finally stopped when he faced FM David Pruess on Board 3, however his contributions to the Philadelphia Masterminds cannot be denied. Elvin finished the season with a +4 score.

 Second Team (WGM Katerina Rohonyan)

This was a difficult decision, however with her win in the League Championship match, Katerina proved her worth to the team and rightly takes her place as a USCL second teamer. Most teams utilized rotating board 4's so it was difficult to find anyone who had played many games, as Katerina played only 5 matches during the regular season. In those matches she scored a solid +2, while playing a few of them on board 3 (and winning both of those games). Her victory over Miami's Jose Cabrera in the finals was crucial towards earning Baltimore the league championship.

USCL All League Teams:

Team 1:

Board 1 - IM Pascal Charbonneau - 2506 (Baltimore)
Board 2 - IM Lev Milman - 2474 (Carolina)
Board 3 - FM Gregory Braylovsky - 2376 (New York)
Board 4 - NM Elvin Wilson - 2239 (Philadelphia)

Team 1 Average Rating - 2399

Team 2:

Board 1 - GM Julio Becerra - 2622 (Miami)
Board 2 - FM Tegshsuren Enkhbat - 2453 (Baltimore)
Board 3 - FM David Pruess - 2432 (San Francisco)
Board 4 - WGM Katerina Rohonyan - 2309 (Baltimore)

Team 2 Average Rating - 2454

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