What can you learn when the defender beats a gambit? The main line Albin Counter Gambit used to be 5.g3 but now everyone plays the recommended 5.a3! Black regains the pawn after 5...Nge7 6.b4 Ng6 7.Bb2 Ngxe5 with a sharp open fighting position. The risk is rewarded with a reasonable 48% score for Black after 5...Nge7.
Luc Harris lists 5...Nge7 as a good choice (along with 5...Be6!?) in his mammoth tome on the opening. Harris notes 5...a5?! is too slow (as is 5...Bg4?!). Ray Haines chooses the logical 5...a5?! It weakens b5 and makes queenside castling impractical, dangerous or fatal. Unfortunately Black finds the position slowly sadly slipping away. White plays well and deserves the win.
Roger Morin beat back the Albin Counter Gambit attack to finish second. Ray Haines took third. The tournament in Houlton was won by Aaron Spencer, currently the third highest rated player in the state of Maine at 2121. According to FIDE Spencer was born the year I published my first chess book on the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit.
Morin - Haines, Houlton, ME (2), 22.08.2015 begins 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5 d4 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.a3 a5?! [Better is 5...Nge7 and maybe 5...Be6!?] 6.g3 Bc5 7.Bg2 Nge7 8.0-0 Ng6 9.Bg5 Be7 [Maybe Black could survive with 9...Qd7 10.Nbd2+/=] 10.Bxe7 Qxe7 11.Nxd4 Ngxe5 12.Nxc6 Nxc6 13.Nc3 Be6 14.Nd5 Bxd5 15.cxd5 Ne5 16.Qa4+ Kf8 17.Qb5 Ra6 [17...Ra7 18.Rac1+-] 18.Qxb7 Rd6 19.Rac1 c6 20.Qxe7+ [20.dxc6+-] 20...Kxe7 21.f4 Ng4 22.Rxc6 Rb8 23.Rb1 f5 24.b4 Nf6 25.Rc7+ Rd7 26.Rxd7+ Kxd7 27.b5 Kd6 28.a4 Kc5 29.Kf2 Nd7 30.g4 Rf8 [30...g6 31.gxf5+-] 31.gxf5 Rxf5 32.Kg3 Rf8 33.e4 Nb6 34.e5 Nxa4 35.d6 Nb6 36.Bc6 a4 37.Rc1+ Kb4 38.e6 1-0
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