Who was the strongest rookie amongst the many new players this season, and who improved most upon their previous years’ performances? Read on to find out!
IM Priyadharshan Kannappan (STL)
This was a close decision between IM Kannappan and FM Dov Gorman (PHI). With identical records and both having several key performances, it really could have gone either way. In the end, we gave the nod to Kannappan largely because he played on the higher board, thereby facing much tougher opposition, making his performance more impressive in our view. This was extremely close especially considering Gorman played more playoff games – a decision which probably would have changed with a half point difference anywhere, but nevertheless the correct one as is from our perspectives.
The main other candidate who would have been a very reasonable choice but for the fact that the two aforementioned players were so impressive was IM Levan Bregadze (STL). He too had a great season, and though not quite on the level of the other two, was a very noteworthy rookie for the St. Louis team as well.
Shaun Smith (MAN)
For this decision there was absolutely no debate as Smith had what was probably the most impressive turnaround in USCL History. After scoring a tough 1.0/9 in his four previous seasons, he reversed things into a nearly perfect 4.5/5 this year against mostly higher rated opposition, with several important victories for the Applesauce, making him the easy choice for Most Improved Player.
And with that concludes the individual awards for the 2012 USCL Season. What remains is the 2012 Game of the Year Contest so stay tuned as details will be announced in the next couple of days along with the usual wildcard games not long after!