A Brief History of the BAL


                      The Bankers Athletic League dates back to 1917!

   In 1952, the New York Bankers' Athletic League (BAL) formed a chess league.  Some of the members included the First National Bank, Irving Trust Company, Chase National Bank, Chemical Bank New York Trust Company, Bankers' Trust, Morgan Guaranty Trust Company, and Bank of New York.

   The chess league was described in an April 1964 New York Times article by American Grandmaster Al Horowitz as “catering to the more or less sophisticated player”.  The 1965 BAL Chess League consisted of eight banks, playing a five-board double round-robin.  The first place team was Chemical Bank, followed by First National City Bank, Bank of America, Bankers Trust, Irving Trust, Morgan Guaranty, Chase Manhattan, and The Bank of New York.

     As mentioned in a June 1967 New York Times article (in the sports section) by Al Horowitz, Bankers Trust won the tournament with a team of Ted Lorie, Frank Phillips, Pat DeSimini, Eric Liepa, Elwood Ganser, and Gus Carow.  This team went on to win eight BAL titles in a row, and in twelve of the next twenty years.

     By the 2004-05 season, the league had grown to 26 teams playing in 4 divisions, and none of the winning teams was a bank!  Although the format of the league has changed, as well as the names of the teams and players, one thing has not changed – the players’ love of chess!

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