Bankers’ Athletic League Chess 2013-01-31 Rose vs. Alban

January 31, 2013  New York, NY

Mark Alban, playing as black, scores his second consecutive victory, providing the only match point on a tough night for Uncastled.

Facing opponents rated in some cases nearly 400 points higher, members of Uncastled squared off against a strong NYC Transit team in Round 4 of the Bankers’ Athletic League, Chess Division, 2012-2013 season Thursday night.  Although Uncastled fought valiantly, Transit won the match 3-1.

The match results are provided in the order in which the games finished.  My annotation of my game follows, and finally the moves list of my game concludes the blog.  The moves are in standard .pgn format, and can be copied/pasted into any .pgn or .txt formatted file.



On board 2, Carl Haynes suffered a rough outing against Transit’s highest rated player, Willie McDuffie.  Haynes lost a rook early on without compensation, and although he played as best he could from there, things just kept getting worse until Haynes threw in the towel.  Uncastled 0, Transit 1.

Next, Russ Mollot lost two pawns early and couldn’t overcome the disadvantage on board 4.  He graciouly resigned to Frank Rizzo as Transit jumped to an early 2 point lead.  Uncastled 0, Transit 2.

Meanwhile, things were looking mighty fine for Uncastled on boards 1 and 3.  At this point, Uncastled appeared to have a drawn match in the bag.

Mark Alban, viciously attacking Mike Rose on board 1, seemed to be headed toward his second victory in a row in BAL action.  Within 24 moves, board one was decidedly in Alban’s favor, and Rose acknowledged so, bowing out, and giving Uncastled it’s first match points of the night.  Uncastled 1, Transit 2.

On board 3, the fate of the match rested solely on Tom Amato’s game.  Amato had a decisive material advantage against Gregory Rotsenmar.  Although Amato was up by a rook, a few factors seemed to influence the result of the game.  Noise, time pressure, and other distractions broke Amato’s concentration as he fell to Rotsenmar in the end.  Final tally:  Uncastled 1, Transit 3.

Congrats to NYC Transit for their well-earned victory.



When Rose played 2. b3, I knew I’d have to get my pawns on the dark squares. But then when he pushed f4, I was confident he’d castle queenside, so I knew we’d have what my chess mentor Michael Miciak calls a classic race to beat the other guy to the king.  He didn’t push quickly enough on the kingside, never capitalized on his advantage on the dark squares, and I was certain I could blow up his queenside!  That explains 14…a5 and 15…a4.  I took a long time to consider moves 17 & 18 because I wondered whether I should eventually move dxc4 (doubling his c pawns and exposing his b-file), or dxe4 (capturing toward the center and potentially activating my light-squared bishop).  I decided at that point I didn’t have to do anything yet, so I put some more pressure on his king with 18…Ba3.  I also realized I had a powerful threat going, and I needed to tighten the clamp!  So 20…Rfc8 put more pressure on the c file and prevented the knight fork on b5 with an escape for my queen (21. Nb5? leads to Qxc2+ and then mate).  After the game, Mike told me that at the end, he thought he’d have to move 25. Qe3 to prevent me from moving 25…Qa1+ which would give me a free rook with a knight fork if his queen were still on g3 and his king has to go to d2 (I play Ne4+ he has to move 26. Kd2 Qxd1 27. Rxd1 Nxg3).  But even if he played 25. Qe3, I would have played 25…dxe4 and then I have 26…Nd3+.  He then must exchange his rook for my knight and I still have many threats. He also couldn’t push his b or c pawns because that would expose his king to more threats.


[Event “BAL 2012-2013 Uncastled vs Transit”]
[Site “Transit”]
[Date “2013.01.31”]
[Round “4”]
[White “Mike Rose”]
[Black “Mark Alban”]
[Result “0-1”]
[PlyCount “48”]
[TimeControl “G75”]

1. e4 c5
2. b3 Nc6
3. Bb2 d6
4. f4 e6
5. Nf3 Nf6
6. Nc3 Be7
7. Bb5 O-O
8. Bxc6 bxc6
9. d3 Nd7
10. Qe2 Bb7
11. O-O-O a6
12. g4 d5
13. Qg2 Qc7
14. Ne2 a5
15. g5 a4
16. Kb1 axb3
17. axb3 c4
18. dxc4 Ba3
19. cxd5 cxd5
20. Nfd4 Rfc8
21. Qg3 Qa5
22. c3 Bxb2
23. Kxb2 Qa2+
24. Kc1 Nc5
25. Resign


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