Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Albin Counter-Gambit : Lasker's Trap

The Albin CG is rarely seen at the higher echelons of the chess world, presumably because black is not adjuged to have enough for the pawn with correct play. At club level however, pretty much any opening you can get a book on will prove sound enough - this is certainly true of the Albin.

The Albin Counter-Gambit begins:

1. d4 d5
2. c4 e5!?
3. dxe5 d4

The cramping effect of the d4 pawn upon White's position is the basis of the gambit, which Black will usually attempt to justify by castling queenside and launching a kingside attack. Should White not appreciate the potential of this pawn, the following disaster might befall him/her...

4. e3? Bb4+
5. Bd2 dxe3
6. Bxb4?? exf2+
7. Ke2 (7. Kxf2 Qxd1)

7... fxg1N+!!

This underpromotion secures the win as....

8. Rxg1 fails to 8...Bg4+ winning the Queen


8. Ke2 fails to 8...Qh4+ followed by Qe4+ winning the Rook (if 9. g3) or Qf2+ and Bf5 (if 9.Kd2)

Instead of 4. e3?, White would do better do better to simply develop with Nf3 followed by kingside castling. A typical line might run as follows:

1. d4 d5
2. c4 e5!?
3. dxe5 d4
4. Nf3 Nc6
5. g3 Be6
6. Nbd2 Qd7
7. Bg2 0-0-0
8. 0-0 h5
9. a3 Bh6
10. e6! Bxe6 (10...Qxe6 fails to 11. Ng4!)
11. Qa4

and the position is sharp and double-edged, though we might give a slight advantage to White based on the potential of the g2 bishop and the impending b2-b4 advance ________________________________________________________________

Alternatively, White may wish to try the Spassky Variation.

4. e4 Bb4+
5. Bd2

....where the en passent capture is no longer available and white has staked a powerful claim in the centre.

Hope this is helpful (or at least interesting!). Cheers.