Bankers’ Athletic League Chess 2013-03-14 Brizard vs. Alban

March 14, 2013  New York, NY

Mark Alban, playing as black, scores his third victory in four matches as Uncastled plays to a draw against Stuyvestant Town in Round 6 of Bankers’ Athletic League – Chess Division action Thursday night.  Facing higher-rated opponents on all four boards, Uncastled held off a tough Stuytown team, drawing the match 2-2.

Match results below 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.


MATCH RESULTS (from Uncastled team captain Ajay Vachhani’s report):

Tom Amato, playing black on board 3, gave up a pawn against Tyrone Sylvester, leading to Amato’s eventual downfall. Uncastled 0, Stuytown 1.

Ajay Vachhani, playing white on board 4 against Leroy Gordon, moved too quickly trying to get his rook into action.  Instead of moving the rook where it could have been supported by a bishop, he moved it to an unprotected square. As a result, Vachhani lost a knight in order to save the rook, and then the rest of his position fell apart, leading to the dreaded queen/rook fork and a winning advantage for Gordon.  Uncastled 0, Stuytown 2

Mark Alban, playing black on board 1 against Peter Brizard, was battling out another wild, wide-open Sicilian position.  Alban gained an extra pawn on move 27, and another pawn a few moves later before finally sealing the victory with 2 minutes left.  Although Alban was down in time by more than 20 minutes, Brizard rushed his moves, trying to pressure Alban into a mistake.  But when his clock fell below 5 minutes, Alban took his game to the next level, capitalizing on a Brizard blunder, forking Brizard’s king and rook for the winning advantage. Despite time pressure, Mark won and had a “happy ending.”  Uncastled 1, Stuytown 2.

Finally, Carl Haynes, playing White against Mariano Perrero, managed to gain a pawn advantage as well as a time advantage.  Those small advantages proved significant in the end, allowing Haynes to clear all his opponent’s pieces off the board, forcing Perrero’s resignation and saving a match draw for Uncastled.  Final score: Uncastled 2, Stuytown 2.

Kudos to both teams for playing to a hard-fought draw.



I lost my score sheet from 2 weeks ago, but I’ll provide that whenever I can find it. Below is my game from 3/14/13.  On move 5, I figured my opponent must be preparing to castle Queenside.  He already fianchettoed his kingside bishop, and when he pushed his f-pawn on move 5, I thought his king would be too exposed if he castled kingside.  So I began preparing my troops to storm the queenside.  Also, at that point, I figured I needed a tempo, so I had to develop, and I’d wait as long as possible before castling…as it turned out I really did wait as long as possible:  I never castled at all!!!!  I thought 6. d3 was a mistake.  It allowed me to harass his knight, and keep the game closed (allowing me, as black, to gain back the tempo by not castling, developing my attack instead while Brizard castled).  8. h3 may have been unnecessary. It only prevented me from moving Ng4, but it gave me an opportunity to sac my knight in order to open up a line to his king if I chose to do so.  I felt that my 8…Qb6 was critical in order to keep his Bishop passive for the time being.  13. Nf5 was a great way to force my hand. 17. Nf4 also gave him a strongly placed knight, one which had some sacrificing possibilities.  But he never took advantage of those possibilities.  23. Qe5 was also a mistake.  I was able to chase the queen away with my pawn play, so it was a wasted move for him.  He should have just moved 23. Qe4 to begin with, because that’s the exact square he moved his queen to 2 moves later.  I thought 27. c4 was also a mistake, but only because I had a threat to take his rook by move 30. That also gave me the connected pawns on the queenside in addition to giving me an extra pawn.   Then of course, 46. Kg2 was the clearly losing move. At that point, I had about 2 minutes left, missed a few subsequent checkmates and had stopped recording my moves.
[Event “BAL”]
[Site “Stuytown”]
[Date “2013.03.14”]
[Round “6”]
[White “Peter Brizard”]
[Black “Mark Alban”]
[Result “0-1”]
[PlyCount “96”]
[TimeControl “G75”]

1. e4 c5
2. Nc3 Nc6
3. g3 e6
4. Bg2 Nf6
5. f4 d5
6. d3 d4
7. Nce2 Be7
8. h3 Qb6
9. Nf3 Bd7
10. O-O Rc8
11. Kh2 h5
12. Nh4 e5
13. Nf5 Bxf5
14. exf5 Bd6
15. Bxc6+ Rxc6
16. fxe5 Bxe5
17. Nf4 Kf8
18. Qf3 h4
19. g4 Qd8
20. Kg1 Rb6
21. g5 Bxf4
22. Qxf4 Nd5
23. Qe5 f6
24. gxf6 gxf6
25. Qe4 Qd6
26. Rf3 Kf7
27. c4 dxc3
28. bxc3 Nxc3
29. Qc4+ Qd5
30. Qxd5+ Nxd5
31. Bd2 Rg8+
32. Kh1 Rb2
33. Be1 Rh8
34. Rc1 b6
35. d4 cxd4
36. Rd3 Rh5
37. Rxd4 Rxf5
38. Bxh4 Rf3
39. Ra4 Rxh3+
40. Kg1 a5
41. Bf2 Rf3
42. Rf1 Rf4
43. Ra3 a4
44. Rd3 Rf5
45. Rh3 b5
46. Kg2 Nf4+
47. Kh2 Nxh3
48. Kxh3 Rfxf2


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

Bankers’ Athletic League Chess 2013-01-17 Alban vs. Sorge

January 17, 2013  New York, NY

Below is a recent chess game I won in Round 3 of the Bankers’ Athletic League, Chess Division, 2012-2013 season.  My team, Uncastled, faced a strong Bank of NY team, and came away victorious!  The match results are given in the order in which the games finished.  My annotation of my game follows, and finally the moves list of my game conclude the blog.  The moves are in standard .pgn format, and can be copied/pasted into any .pgn or .txt formatted file.



Board 4 was the 1st to win, as Russ Mollot intimidated his opponent so badly that his opponent decided not to bother playing!  Uncastled 1, BoNY 0.

Next, on board 2, Carl Haynes exploited a few mistakes by his opponent, Gregory Klewin, and quickly gained a winning advantage.  Haynes forced Klewin’s resignation, giving Uncastled our 2nd match point.  Uncastled 2, BoNY 0.

While I was fighting for my life on board one, Tom Amato was battling it out against Denis Forster on board 3. Amato secured a draw in his game in a time crunch, giving us our margin of victory.   Uncastled 2.5, BoNY 0.5.

Finally, on board 1, I (Mark Alban) faced “Formidable” Phil Sorge, and after he exchanged his knight for my light-squared bishop in a game where my light-squared bishop is critical to my attack, he slowly tightened his grip on the game.  But he inexplicably blundered away a center pawn, which I gladly took with check, forking his king and unprotected light-squared bishop!  I now had no worries on the light squares, was up a piece and a pawn, methodically positioned my pieces to build an attack and eventually won!  Final tally:  Uncastled 3.5, BoNY 0.5.

Congrats everyone on our 1st victory of the season!



Once again, I messed up the opening, but after my opponent blundered away a center pawn and his light-squared Bishop with 21…Bb5?, I had a lot of options. At some point, I wanted to get my queen to the seventh rank since my rooks were passive and committed to defense. There were plenty of options on move 27, but which was the best, and were there better moves I should’ve made after move 23? I wasn’t sure the best way to activate my pieces, and I couldn’t threaten mate on move 27 (I don’t think) until I removed his dark-squared bishop from the board, or at least away from the b8-h2 diagonal, and he had a menacing attack on the 2nd rank as well as control of the open files. Any wrong move at that point would’ve allowed Sorge to checkmate me.

Because I was up in material, I wanted to maintain an attack AND exchange down to make my extra piece more powerful. I thought 27. Bd6? would lose the piece to Rd8, but 27. Nd6 forces the exchange with the threat of 28. Nf7+ and the possibilities afterwards.  So 27. Nd6 prevents 27…Rd8 with a king/rook fork and discovered attack by the queen on the rook as well when the knight moves away with 28. Nf7+, then a discovered check after 28…Kg8 29 Nxd8+.  At what point might I have been able to move Qf7 or something similar?


[Event “BAL 2012-2013 SIAC Uncastled at BoNY”]
[Site “BoNY”]
[Date “2013.01.17”]
[Round “3”]
[White “Alban, Mark O.”]
[Black “Sorge, Phil”]
[Result “1-0”]
[PlyCount “71”]
[TimeControl “G75”]

1. d4 Nf6
2. e3 d5
3. Bd3 Nc6
4. f4 Nb4
5. Nf3 Nxd3+
6. Qxd3 e6
7. Nbd2 c5
8. b3 cxd4
9. exd4 Bd6
10. Ne5 O-O
11. O-O Nd7
12. Rf3 f6
13. Nxd7 Bxd7
14. c4 b6
15. cxd5 exd5
16. f5 Qc7
17. Rh3 Bf4
18. Ba3 Rfe8
19. Rf1 Bd6
20. Bc1 Rac8
21. Qf3 Bb5
22. Qxd5+ Kh8
23. Qxb5 Qc2
24. Nc4 Bb8
25. Ba3 Re2
26. Qd5 Rce8
27. Nd6 Bxd6
28. Bxd6 h6
29. Rg3 Qd2
30. Bf4 Qb2
31. a4 R8e4
32. Qd7 Re7
33. Qd6 Qc2
34. Bxh6 Qe4
35. Bxg7+ Rxg7
36. Qf8+ *
Black resigns, 1-0.