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Albin Countergambit

Albin Countergambit
a b c d e f g h
8
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Moves 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e5
ECO D08-D09
Origin Salvioli vs. Cavallotti, Milan 1881
Named after Adolf Albin
Parent Queen's Gambit

The Albin Countergambit is a chess opening that begins with the moves:

1. d4 d5
2. c4 e5

and the usual continuation is:

3. dxe5 d4

The opening is an uncommon defense to the Queen's Gambit. In exchange for the gambit pawn, Black has a central wedge at d4 and gets some chances for an attack. Often White will try to return the pawn at an opportune moment to gain a positional advantage.

In the Encyclopaedia of Chess Openings the Albin Countergambit is assigned codes D08 and D09.

History

Although this opening was originally played by Cavallotti against Salvioli at the Milan tournament of 1881, it takes its name from Adolf Albin, who played it against Lasker in New York 1893. Though not played frequently at the master level, Russian Grandmaster Alexander Morozevich has recently made some successful use of it.

Main line

a b c d e f g h
8
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Main line after 3...d4 4.Nf3 Nc6

The main line continues 4.Nf3 Nc6 (4...c5 allows 5.e3 because Black no longer has the bishop check) and now White's primary options are 5.a3, 5.Nbd2, and 5.g3. Perhaps White's surest try for an advantage is to fianchetto his king bishop with 5.g3 followed by Bg2 and Nbd2. Black will often castle queenside. A typical continuation is 5.g3 Be6 6.Nbd2 Qd7 7.Bg2 0-0-0 8.0-0 Bh3.

Variations

Lasker trap

The Black pawn at d4 is stronger than it may appear. The careless move 4.e3? can lead to the Lasker Trap. After 4...Bb4+ 5.Bd2 dxe3 6.Bxb4?? is a blunder - 6...exf2+ 7.Ke2 fxg1=N+! and Black wins. The Lasker Trap is notable because it is rare to see an underpromotion in practical play.

Spassky Variation

In the Spassky Variation White plays 4.e4 to take advantage of the fact that an en passant capture must be made immediately after the enemy pawn advances. So now after 4...Bb4+ 5.Bd2 the en passant capture ...dxe3 is no longer available to Black.

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