Apologies to Denys Shmelov (who is apparently from Kharkov, Ukraine) - all the celebrations for the Dallas Destiny's 2007 USCL title took place right here in the DFW Metroplex.
The Destiny defeated the Boston Blitz in a thrilling 7 game tie-breaker that lasted well into last Thursday morning. Much has already been written of this match, so I won't overkill it. By all estimates, we were the underdogs - especially if the match was to reach the tie-breaker. With Boston having Dos Hermanas winner Jorge Sammour-Hasbun and legendary attacker GM Larry Christiansen in play, it was hard to disagree. Still, with four young, capable players we remained confident in our chances to get the job done...and we finally did when Christiansen eventually overpressed against Draks shortly after 1:00 AM CST.
Consistency and depth. That is the best way I can describe our success this season. Let's look at some highlights:
-IM Davorin Kuljasevic's 6.5/8 score and 2703 performance rating on board 2. By far the most well-prepared player on our roster
-Alternate FM Keaton Kiewra's key victories over FM Oleg Zaikov and FM Slava Mikhailuk in the regular season
-IM Drasko Boskovic's steady control over board 1 and power performance in the playoffs. If there is one Dallas player who I'd trust to play a blitz game when everything is on the line, it is Draks
-WFM Bayaraa Zorigt's clutch victory over NM Williams in the finals and solid play on board 4
-IM Jacek Stopa's numerous saves (think: blitz games vs. Williams and Shmelov) and All Star caliber
-NM Francisco Guadalupe's overall 2491(!) performance in important spots
It was a pleasure to play for this team, and as a first-time manager I couldn't be more happy with the result. UTD is sometimes viewed as strictly a "chess school," but the reality is that we put academics first. Not many knew that each of our players was immersed in final exams when the USCL Championship took place last week.
A big thank-you is due to Greg Shahade and Arun Sharma. I can't fathom how many hours they have invested into the USCL, and their efforts have created a truly exciting and viable league. Also, congratulations to the Boston Blitz for a great season.
See you all next year!