Albin Counter Gambit [Free repertoire against d4]

Why you should choose Albin Counter Gambit? the simple answer to this question is, if you want to avoid theoretical chess, then you should select Albin Counter Gambit. And I am here to explain every move of the gambit, which you need to know in order to play the gambit.

Is the Albin Counter Gambit Sound?

If you are a club level player or below 2200, then I will suggest that this gambit is sound for you. It’s a good gambit because you are playing without a lot of theory. You just have to know some moves and you are ready to play.

History of the Albin Counter Gambit

The first game I found in Albin Counter Gambit is in 1864 between Keresev and Urs. This gambit named after Adolf Albin, who played this gambit. The first chess game between two masters found in 1893. The game played between Emanual Lasker and Albin himself.

This gambit was also adopted by Misses, Tartakower and Marshal. Another interesting fact is that this gambit also played by the magician Alekhine against Emanual Lasker.

Theory of Albin Counter Gambit

There is not much theory of Albin counter gambit as you have to read tons of theory in Sicilian and other chess openings.

The first move is d4 and you will reply with d5, and if the white player plays c4 then you can counter this move with e5. It’s a very sharp and attacking defense, that’s why this gambit is called Albin Counter gambit.

Here is a picture of the starting moves of Albin gambit.

starting position of the albin counter gambit

As you see in the picture, black counters white’s move on move two. This is a very attacking and risky position.

In a closed position, one tempo may not count but in this type of position, you must play concretely. You will not get a second chance in the Albin gambit.

Famous Albin Counter Gambit Trap

Here is one famous trap in Albin counter gambit. This gambit trap often occurs in beginner’s game or some time in club level chess player’s games. This trap is also called the Lasker Trap.

You can watch this trap on ⇒


Albin Counter Gambit Repertoire

Enough discussion and theory have written, and now we will talk about our main repertoire against d4 and c4.

Let’s begin with starting moves. I will explain and choose one variation in order to make this repertoire as easy to learn as possible.

You can play this gambit only when white plays d4 and c4 in the opening. Our reply is forced when white plays c4, the answer for c4 is that you will hit back the center with e5. And in this way, your opponent has to make a choice because his both pawns are hanging.

Please note that if white wants to get any kind of advantage, then he should take our central d5 pawn. 99% of your opponents will capture d5 pawn on 3rd move. After capturing d5 pawn, you have a choice, and at this moment you will select how your middlegame will proceed. Here is a picture of the position you will get after white captures d5 pawn.

capturing d5 in albin gambit

In the above position, black’s best move is d4, If black wants to play Albin counter gambit precisely.

There is also dxc4 played a few times, which is not the correct move. So the conclusion is, our 3rd move in Albin will be d5.

3rd move d5
3rd move d5

As you can see in the above picture, black lost a pawn, but it has a purpose, the purpose of sacrificing a pawn is to develop your pieces as quickly as you can, if you want to get an advantage. [Related: How to get an advantage in chess?].

Black’s pawn on d5 is very annoying in white’s camp. So white should rid of this pawn as soon as possible. And that’s where white falls into black’s famous chess trap in Albin Counter Gambit. As I mentioned above this trap is also called the Lasker trap.

In short, white could not afford e3 for ridding out of d4 pawn. White has a choice here. White can play 1.Nf3 2.a3 4e4. All three options have highlighted in the picture below.

Let’s talk about choices that white can play.

A3 variation

The first move is a3, the a3 move is slow and it’s against the opening principles, and if we talk about white’s side, it’s preventing move for bishop’s check and if white plays a3 that means in future white will play b4 and will fianchetto his queenside bishop and will attack your pawn on d4.

Again if white succeeds in his plan of a3, then he will get the advantage, but black will not wait and sit. In short a3 move is not so good for white.

E4 variation

The 2nd move is e4, which can lead to an endgame without a queen. White will have the extra pawn but in long run, black will recapture his pawn back.

Nf3 Variation [Best move]

In short, white’s best move is Nf3, and you will play Nc3. There are two purposes of playing Nc3, One is to develop our piece so we can castling on the long side, 2nd is to defend our d4 pawn and attack on our opponent’s pawn on e5. Now you will get this position on the board.

Nc6 in Albin counter gambit

There are many chess games in this position. We will see some of the games in order to understand the position. Here are top chess players who played this position and this gambit.

Top Chess Players Who Played the Albin Counter Gambit

  1. Alexander Morozevich
  2. Rustam Kasimdzhanov
  3. Emanuel Berg

You will watch 3 games for the above-mentioned chess players. And you should watch these games deeply, and you should get opening ideas and middle game plans of this Albin counter gambit.

Chess Games in Albin Counter Gambit

Here you will watch 3 chess games. Let’s watch these chess games played in Albin Counter Gambit.

Albin Counter Gambit Game:1

Please flip the board to the black side for a better view.


Albin Counter Gambit Game:2


Albin Counter Gambit Game:3



Middle Game Plans and Ideas in Albin Gambit

As I discussed earlier, there is less theory in Albin Counter Gambit. So in the opening, you just need to develop your queenside pieces first and then castle long. This is the general scheme in Albin Counter Gambit.

You may castle on the short side as well in some variations. But we are focusing on the direct approach to the opening.

Let’s talk about the middle game plan.

In the middle game plan, Firstly, you have to castle on the queenside, Secondly, you have to attack the e4 pawn and Thirdly, you have to launch an attack on the opponent’s king by playing h5,h4, etc.

In short, our middle game plan is very clear, First, you sacrifice a pawn and in return, you will get quick development of your pieces.

Then you will attack in the center and on the kingside. Please make sure that you don’t have a second chance in the Albin Counter gambit. And if you want success in this gambit, you should attack every move.

The bottom line is Attack, Attack, and win. You should not care about the pawn when you have a clear target on your mind which is white’s king.


Now I want to conclude the topic of the Albin Counter Gambit. I have given you the shortest repertoire against d4 and c4. And I hope that I cleared all the basic questions related to Albin Counter Gambit. My next article will cover all the possible variations of this gambit. And you will receive a notification when I will post my next article on Albin Gambit.

If you have any questions, you can ask in comment section.


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