Monday, 19 October 2015

A nice exchange sac in the Albin Counter-Gambit

I had a nice win (albeit in a simultaneous) with an exchange sac in the Albin.  This game is a good example of how White can go wrong despite playing a succession of "natural" moves.  Of course, White can do better.  5.a3 is the most popular response in my experience, but the move-order trick 5.Nbd2 may be more accurate as it takes the sting out of 5...Nge7 and 5...Bf5.  After 5.a3, I opted to put the bishop on f5.  I think it was 7.Qa4 where White started to go a bit astray; 5.a3 is nonetheless a very reasonable try for advantage and 7.Nb3 or the immediate 7.b4 would have maintained good chances of an advantage out of the opening.

"Real life" has been slowing progress down on my gambiteering site in recent months, but I'm still preparing new content for it.

The trick is that Black follows up with ...Nb2+ and picks up the queen on a4; the exchange sacrifice was to kill White's coverage of the important b2-square.  Were it not for this sneaky tactic, White may have been able to get away with Bb2xd4.

I note that I missed quite a deep "computer move" in this game: 11...Nd7!, intending 12...Nc5 with the idea of 13...Nd3+.


  1. Hi Ian,

    I found a funny improvement in Müller/Voigt's analysis of Dolgov-De Groot (Göring Gambit). While 16...Bf5 remains a better defense White should sac Her Majesty with 17.Nxf8 Qxf8 18.f4! Ne3 19.fxe5! Nxc2 20.e6! and Rybka judges that White has sufficient compensation. Isn't that Bishop on c4 funny?

  2. Intriguing stuff! The critical line appears to be 20...Bxe6 21.Rh8+ (not 21.Nf6+ Qxf6!) 21...Kf7 22.Ng5+ Ke7 23.Rh7+ Bf7 24.Rf1 (not 24.Kxc2 dxc4, when exchanges on f7 leave White two pawns down in an ending). It seems that Black's exposed king may well give White enough compensation.
    Also, if 18...Nf7 then 19.Rxd5! cxd5 20.Bxd5 gives White an attack that forces the win of the black queen for insufficient material compensation.
    It will be good if this improvement makes the whole Qc2, 0-0-0 approach theoretically viable again (since I don't know of any way for Black to deviate that gives Black the upper hand).

    1. Just after I posted that, unfortunately, I remembered the line 8...d6, 9...Bxc3 played in Mastrovasilis-Graf, Furth 2002. To my knowledge the assessment of that line is still "slightly better for Black".