Albin Countergambit, Lasker Trap

The Lasker Trap is a chess opening trap in the Albin Countergambit, named after Emanuel Lasker, although it was first noted by Serafino Dubois (Hooper & Whyld 1996, p. 219).[1] It is unusual in that it features anunderpromotion as early as the seventh move.

Analysis

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1. d4 d5 2. c4 e5

The Albin Countergambit.

3. dxe5 d4

The black pawn on d4 is stronger than it appears.

4. e3?

Careless. Usual and better is 4.Nf3.

4… Bb4+ 5. Bd2 dxe3! (see diagram)

Now White’s best option is to accept doubled pawns with 6.fxe3.

6. Bxb4??

Blundering into the Lasker Trap. In an 1899 consultation game in Moscow, Blumenfeld, Boyarkow, and Falk playing White against Lasker tried 6.Qa4+?, but Black wins after this move also. The game continued 6…Nc6 7.Bxb4 Qh4 8.Ne2 Qxf2+ 9.Kd1 Bg4 10.Nc3 0-0-0+ 11.Bd6 cxd6 12.e6 fxe6 13.Kc1 Nf6 14.b4 d5 15.b5 Ne5 16.cxd5 Nxd5 17.Qc2 Nb4 18.Nd1+ Nxc2 19.Nxf2 Rd2 White resigned.
Position after 7…fxg1=N+!
The Encyclopedia of Chess Openings (volume D) gives 6.fxe3 as the best move. Black gets a slight advantage, but White has avoided the worst and can defend.

6… exf2+

Now 7.Kxf2 would lose the queen to 7…Qxd1, so White must play 7.Ke2.

7. Ke2 fxg1=N+! (see diagram)

Underpromotion is the key to the trap. (If instead 7…fxg1=Q, then 8.Qxd8+ Kxd8 9.Rxg1 is okay for White.) Now 8.Rxg1 Bg4+ skewers White’s queen, so the king must move again.

8. Ke1 Qh4+ 9. Kd2

The alternative, 9.g3, loses the h1-rook to the fork 9…Qe4+.

9… Nc6

White is hopelessly lost. After 10.Bc3, 10…Bg4 followed by 11…0-0-0+ is crushing.
Notes

  1. Jump up^ Hooper & Whyld 1996 say that Dubois pointed out the trap in 1872 (p. 219). Although they don’t specify where Dubois published the trap, it could refer to the three-volume work on the openings that Dubois published from 1868 to 1873 (p.116). Elsewhere they state that the Albin Countergambit was not introduced until 1881 (p. 6), which seems to be a contradiction. It isn’t clear if the trap discovery date 1872 should perhaps instead be 1882, or if 1881 was the tournament introduction of an opening that had been published in 1872 or earlier
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