PRO Chess League All Stars, MVPs Announced
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PRO Chess League All Stars, MVPs Announced

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The PRO Chess League featured thrilling play from established superstars, promising talents, and journeymen and women who put it all on the line for their team. In addition to team pride and prizes, these players were competing for $12,000 in individual prize money both in the All Star event and in MVP awards. It is our honor to announce these prizes here.

PRO Chess League All Stars

Three All Stars in each division have been selected by the league based on their contributions and four additional players in each division have been put forward for a fan vote. The player receiving the most votes in each division will join the other three to complete their divisional team for the All Star event. The runners-up in the voting will also stand as first alternates should any players be unable to accept their invitations to the All Star match.

The All Star match will take place on September 8. The PRO Chess League reserves the right to make changes to the event in conjunction with the interests of our sponsoring partners. The intended format is a two-stage match featuring an inter-divisional round robin, which establishes seeding for a survival stage.

Eastern Division All Stars

Magnus Carlsen, PRO Chess League

World Champion Magnus Carlsen played 32 games for his Norway Gnomes this season, achieving a performance rating of 2822, the second highest in the league. Although the Gnomes were not destined to reach the playoffs this year, Carlsen's contributions to his team's success are clear.

Hrant Melkumyan, PRO Chess League

Perhaps Melkumyan is best-known for serving as Levon Aronian's trusted second, but his play in the PRO Chess League deserved its own attention. In 28 games for the league-winning Armenia Eagles, he amassed 19 points and a performance rating of 2660, playing on board one in all games.

Zaven Andriasyan, PRO Chess League

The Armenia Eagles were so stacked this year that two of the four Eastern Division All Stars come from their team. GM Andriasyan played 54 (!) games for his Eagles, achieving 36 points and a performance rating of 2663, significantly higher than his league rating of 2593. Andriasyan was also the PRO Chess League finals MVP, winning the crucial final game against GM Wang Yue of the Chengdu Pandas.

Central Division All Stars

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, PRO Chess League

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave served both as a super-GM board one for the Marseille Migraines and as their team manager. His double duty didn't limit his efficacy much as he scored an impressive 29/36 for his team. 

Georg Meier, PRO Chess League

Georg Meier won the bronze MVP award in the PRO Chess League last year, and he was again a workhorse for his team this year. He scored 28/40 and made the Snowballs one of the most ferocious teams in the regular season.

Luka Lenic, PRO Chess League

GM Lenic played all 52 games for the Ljubljana Turtles and scored 31.5 points. He was a big part of their playoff run that took them all the way to San Francisco. His highlight reel included a big win over Magnus Carlsen.

Atlantic Division All Stars

Fabiano Caruana, PRO Chess League

It's been an amazing 2018 so far for world championship challenger Fabiano Caruana. Among his many other achievements, he scored by far the highest performance rating in the PRO Chess League with 24.5/28 and a 2872 performance rating.

Alex Shimanov, PRO Chess League

Aleksandr Shimanov did not get the credit he deserved during the regular season. The Webster Windmills won the Pacific Division in the PRO Chess League thanks in large part to Shimanov's score of 23.5/32 with a performance rating of 2743.

Awonder Liang, PRO Chess League

Though Awonder Liang's performance eventually dropped below the 2700 high that he achieved for much of the season, he still bested both Hikaru Nakamura and Fabiano Caruana on route to a score of 28/44 and a performance of 2654, nearly 100 points higher than his league FIDE rating.

Pacific Division All Stars

Hikaru Nakamura, PRO Chess League

Nakamura always faces high expectations when competing in speed chess formats. He exceeded them this season as he scored 26.5/32 and achieved a performance rating of 2812, the third 2800+ performance rating. He also did all of this while streaming multiple events including the PRO Chess League qualifier this year.

Yu Yangyi, PRO Chess League

Former world junior champion Yu Yangyi had an amazing run. Playing 44 games for a team that eventually reached the finals match in San Francisco, he scored 32.5 points and had a performance rating of 2729.

Alexey Dreev, PRO Chess League

For the second year in a row, the San Diego Surfers won the Pacific Division in the regular season and for the second year in a row, Dreev was fundamental to this team's success. Playing 48 games for the Surfers, Dreev scored 33.5 points including beating players like Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.

Most Valuable Player Awards

MVP Gold ($2,500): Fabiano Caruana (24.5/28, Perf: 2872)

Fabiano Caruana, PRO Chess League

It's not as though the coming world championship match between Caruana and Carlsen needed more hype, but with the highest performance rating in the league by a solid 50 points, Caruana bests Carlsen, receiving the MVP Gold award and easing the minds of those worried he may be outmatched against Carlsen if the world championship goes to rapid tiebreaks.

MVP Silver ($1,500): Magnus Carlsen (27.5/32, Perf: 2822)

Magnus Carlsen, PRO Chess League

A must on everyone's fantasy roster, Carlsen was always a favorite to snag 4/4. This season, Carlsen managed a 2822 performance rating, second only to Caruana, while making waves with a streaming debut for Super Sunday. This is Carlsen's second season as an MVP.

MVP Bronze ($1,000): Hikaru Nakamura (26.5/32, Perf: 2812)

Hikaru Nakamura, PRO Chess League

Although his team struggled at times, Nakamura delivered in a big way with his 2800+ performance while playing and streaming from all over the world. Nakamura has already indicated there's a good chance he will play for the Sluggers again next year, with some roster balancing and strengthening and Nakamura at the helm, they could make a Pacific Division splash.

Individual Performance Awards

Top Female ($1,000): Ju Wenjun (13.5/24, Perf: 2520)

Ju Wenjun, PRO Chess LeagueGM Ju Wenjun played 24 games for the Chengdu Pandas, a team that often featured two female players in its lineup. Her 13.5 points earned her a 2520 performance rating, the highest of any of the female players in the league.

U2600 ($300): Zaven Andriasyan (36/54, Perf: 2663)

Zaven Andriasyan, PRO Chess League

Across a large game sample, Andriasyan massively overperformed his rating. Finding middle board over-performers like him proved to be crucial for the successful Eagles, Arch Bishops (Zherebukh), and Pandas (Xu Xiangyu).

U2500 ($250): Andrew Tang (26.5/52, Perf: 2531)

Andrew Tang, PRO Chess League

The newest grandmaster in the United States, Andrew Tang demonstrated that hyper-bullet isn't the only thing he's good at as he significantly outperformed his rating in rapid play across an incredible 52 games. Tang's performance rating was well above 2500 for much of the season, and despite his underperformance in the final match of the season, the Blizzard owe much of its success to his fine play.

U2400 ($200): Brandon Clarke (21.5/32, Perf: 2545)

Brandon Clarke, PRO Chess League

Australian blitz champion Brandon Clarke was possibly the best value in the league this year. Across a hefty 32 games, he outperformed his rating by over 200 points while often playing on board four for the Kangaroos, a team that proved very deep in their first season.

U2300 ($150): Artak Manukyan (26.5/61, Perf: 2352)

Artak Manukyan, PRO Chess League

Armenia Eagles' manager Artak Manukyan took an eight-year hiatus from chess competition after venturing to the United States, but he returned to form in the PRO Chess League and demonstrated that he was much stronger than his FIDE rating. Manukyan outperformed his FIDE rating by over 150 points while playing by far the most games of any player in the PRO Chess League.

U2200 ($100): Sander Kukk (17.5/40, Perf: 2390)

Sandar Kukk, PRO Chess League

The Estonia Horses made it to the playoffs in their first season in the PRO Chess League, owing much to this young man. His 17.5 points were good for a 2390 performance rating.

Thanks to all of these players for their participation in the PRO Chess League and congratulations to them on their success and their team's success. We look forward to seeing many compete in the All Star match and hope to welcome all of these players back in the 2019 season!

NM Sam Copeland

I'm the VP of Chess and Community for I earned the National Master title in 2012, and in 2014, I returned to my home state of South Carolina to start Strategery: Chess and Games. In late 2014, I began working for and haven't looked back since.

You can find my personal content on Twitch , Twitter , and YouTube where I further indulge my love of chess.

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