The Gambiteers Guild

Hall of Fame

Albin, Adolf (1848-1920)

by Karsten Fyhn

Adolf Albin was born September 14, 1848 in Bucharest.

Albin started to play tournaments rather late. His best result was second place in New York 1893 behind Emanuel Lasker (Lasker made a perfect 13-0 score!), but ahead of Showalter, Delmar, Pillsbury, and Pollock. Albin played in many European top tournaments but without any top results, but he was a dangerous player able to beat the very best on the day.

Adolf Albin greatest achievement was his innovations to opening theory. But strangely enough Albin did not invent Albin's Counter Gambit! The ACG was first played in the Italian Championship in 1881 by Cavalotti. Albin did however introduce the opening to international top level in New York 1893 in the game against the tournament winner Lasker. After this the opening became quite popular, also Lasker played it from time to time. Albin wanted the opening to be named after him and wrote angry letters to chess editors, if they didn't used his name for the opening!

Albin made other attributions to opening theory; the most important was in the French main line 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.e5 Nfd7 6.h4. This line called the Alekhine-Chatard attack was actually invented by Albin.

Albin also invented the Albin-Blackburne gambit 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Bg4 4.dxe5 Nd7 in an attempt to rehabilitate the Philidor defence. The opening was later often played by Joseph Henry Blackburne and was therefore named the Albin-Blackburne gambit.

Albin wrote the first Romanian chess book "Amiculu Jocului de Schach" in 1872.

Two games are presented in Palview. The game against Lasker in New York 1893 where Albin first played the ACG. And Albin's fine win against Tarrasch in Dresden 1892.
Games in Palview

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