The Max Lange Attack is a fascinating chess opening, dynamic and aggressive, that gives both sides ample opportunities for creativity and tactical combinations.
This opening, named after the German master Max Lange, can arise from several different opening lines, reflecting its flexibility and adaptability.
This article will delve into the rich world of the Max Lange Attack, providing a detailed exploration of its move order, theory, strategy, and purpose, variations, history, suitability for beginners or intermediates, and its frequency of use at the grandmaster level.
Move Order of the Max Lange Attack
The move order in the Max Lange Attack is crucial as it sets up the basis for the intense tactical battles to come.
The opening can arise from numerous different opening lines such as the:
Two of the most commonly seen move orders are:
- 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 (the Two Knights Defense) 4.d4 exd4 5.0-0 Bc5 6.e5, and
- 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Bc4 (the Scotch Gambit) Bc5 5.0-0 Nf6 6.e5.
Theory, Strategy and Purpose of the Max Lange Attack
The Max Lange Attack is designed to put early pressure on Black by rapidly developing the pieces and fighting for central control.
The strategy involves sacrificing a pawn in the center to gain rapid piece development and control over the central squares.
After the pawn is captured, White seeks to destabilize the black knights using their central pawn at e5, leading to a complex position that provides chances for both sides.
Variations of the Max Lange Attack
In the Max Lange Attack, Black has two main replies after 6.e5.
The move 6…Ng4 is playable but rarely seen.
More common is 6…d5, where the game can develop in different ways. In the main line, White can play 7.exf6 dxc4 8.Re1+ Be6 9.Ng5 Qd5, which results in a complex, tactical game.
Another critical variation comes after 6…d5 when White can play 7.Bb5.
White also has the option of 8.fxg7 Rg8 9.Bg5, which leads to an interesting position that has been analyzed by Lev Gutman and Stefan Bücker, and is considered favorable for White.
Evaluation of the Max Lange Attack
The Max Lange Attack is generally evaluated at around +0.40 to +0.70 for white.
Theory & Continuation Lines of the Max Lange Attack
Below we have some common theory and continuation lines from the Max Lange Attack starting move order 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. d4 exd4 5. O-O Bc5 6. e5 that you would see at the highest level of play.
(Note that many move orders are possible, as mentioned above).
6… d5 7. exf6 dxc4 8. fxg7 Rg8 9. Re1+ Be7 10. Bg5 Be6 11. Bxe7 Qxe7 12. Nxd4 Rd8 13. c3 Rxg7 14. Qf3 Nxd4 15. cxd4 c6 16. Nc3 Rg6 17. Re4 Qf6 18. Rf4 Qg7 19. g3 Rxd4 20. Qe3 Rg4 21. Rxg4 Qxg4 22. Re1 Qg7 23. Ne4 Rd3 24. Qxa7 Qxb2 25. Nc5
6… d5 7. exf6 dxc4 8. fxg7 Rg8 9. Re1+ Be6 10. Bg5 Be7 11. Bxe7 Qxe7 12. Nxd4 Rd8 13. c3 Rxg7 14. Qf3 Nxd4 15. cxd4 c6 16. Nc3 Rxd4 17. Rad1 Qd8 18. g3 Rg5 19. Qe3 c5 20. Qf3 b6 21. b3 Rg6 22. Nd5 cxb3 23. Rxd4 cxd4 24. axb3
6… d5 7. exf6 dxc4 8. Re1+ Be6 9. fxg7 Rg8 10. Bg5 Be7 11. Bxe7 Qxe7 12. Nxd4 Rd8 13. c3 Rxg7 14. Qf3 Nxd4 15. cxd4 c6 16. Nc3 Rxd4 17. Rad1 Qd8 18. g3 Rg5 19. Qe3 c5 20. h4 Rf5 21. Qh6 Ke7 22. Qg7 Rd3 23. Qxh7 Kd7 24. g4 Rf4 25. Rxd3+ cxd3 26. Qxd3+ Kc8 27. Qxd8+ Kxd8 28. Re4 Rxg4+ 29. Rxg4
6… d5 7. exf6 dxc4 8. fxg7 Rg8 9. Bg5 f6 10. Re1+ Kf7 11. Bh6 Re8 12. Nbd2 Rxe1+ 13. Nxe1 Qd5 14. Nxc4 Kg6 15. Bf4 Kxg7 16. Nd2 Bb6 17. Nd3 Be6 18. b3 Bf7 19. Nc4 Re8 20. Qd2 Bg6 21. f3 Ne5 22. Ndxe5 fxe5 23. Bg3 d3+ 24. Kh1
6… d5 7. exf6 dxc4 8. fxg7 Rg8 9. Bg5 Be7 10. Bxe7 Kxe7 11. Re1+ Kf6 12. c3 d3 13. Nbd2 Be6 14. Re4 Kxg7 15. Nxc4 Qf6 16. Qd2 Kh8 17. Rf4 Qh6 18. Re1 Rad8 19. g3 Rg4 20. Rxg4 Qxd2 21. Nfxd2 Bxg4 22. f3 Be6
6… d5 7. exf6 dxc4 8. fxg7 Rg8 9. Re1+ Be7 10. Bg5 Be6 11. Bxe7 Qxe7 12. Nxd4 Rd8 13. c3 Rxg7 14. Qf3 Nxd4 15. cxd4 c6 16. Nc3 Rxd4 17. Rad1 Qd8 18. g3 Rg5 19. Qe3 c5 20. h4 Rf5 21. Qh6 Kd7 22. Ne2 Rxd1 23. Rxd1+ Rd5 24. Rxd5+ Bxd5 25. Nc3 Bc6 26. Qxh7 Qf6 27. Qh5 Kd6 28. Qd1+ Ke7 29. Nd5+ Bxd5 30. Qxd5
How To WIN FAST with the MAX LANGE
History of the Max Lange Attack
The Max Lange Attack is named after the German chess master Max Lange, who suggested the line in 1854.
Over the years, it has evolved and developed with changing chess theory, with many interesting and combative games being played using this opening.
Is the Max Lange Attack Good for Beginners or Intermediates?
The Max Lange Attack is a good choice for both beginners and intermediate players due to its aggressive nature and the early confrontations it provokes.
For beginners, it provides an excellent platform to learn about the importance of piece development, central control, and pawn structures.
For intermediate players, the tactical complexity offers an excellent arena to improve calculation and positional understanding.
How Often the Max Lange Attack Is Played at the Grandmaster Level
At the grandmaster level, the Max Lange Attack is not seen as often as some other openings.
Many grandmasters prefer openings that offer a bit more solidity and less risk.
However, it is still occasionally used as a surprise weapon or in situations where a player wants a complex and unbalanced game.
FAQs – Max Lange Attack
1. What is the Max Lange Attack in chess?
The Max Lange Attack is a chess opening that can occur from several different opening lines such as the Two Knights Defense, Petrov’s Defense, Scotch Gambit, Bishop’s Opening, Center Game, and Giuoco Piano.
Named after the German chess master Max Lange, this opening was proposed by him in 1854.
Two of the most frequent move sequences are 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 (the Two Knights Defense) 4.d4 exd4 5.0-0 Bc5 6.e5, and 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Bc4 (the Scotch Gambit) Bc5 5.0-0 Nf6 6.e5.
2. What are the main replies to 6.e5 in the Max Lange Attack?
Black has two main responses to 6.e5 in the Max Lange Attack. One is 6…Ng4, which is playable but seldom seen.
The more common response is 6…d5, with the main line continuing 7.exf6 dxc4 8.Re1+ Be6 9.Ng5 Qd5.
It should be noted that 9…Qxf6?? would lead to a notorious trap of 10.Nxe6 fxe6 11.Qh5+ followed by 12.Qxc5.
3. What are the critical responses for White to try in the Max Lange Attack?
After 6…d5, White has a couple of critical responses to consider.
One is 7.Bb5, which brings robust ideas for both sides and often results in a slight advantage for White.
Another alternative is 8.fxg7 Rg8 9.Bg5, which has been analysed by Lev Gutman and Stefan Bücker in Kaissiber.
They propose this line to be good for White. In response to this, Black usually plays 9…Be7 10.Bxe7 Kxe7.
4. Who was Max Lange and why was this attack named after him?
Max Lange was a German chess master who proposed this particular sequence of moves in 1854.
The attack was subsequently named after him as the “Max Lange Attack.”
He contributed significantly to the development of opening theory in chess during his time.
5. What are some traps to avoid when playing the Max Lange Attack?
A well-known trap in the Max Lange Attack occurs when Black responds to 9.Ng5 with 9…Qxf6.
This leads to a sequence of 10.Nxe6 fxe6 11.Qh5+ followed by 12.Qxc5.
Another possible trap occurs if Black responds to 10.Nc3 with 10…dxc3, leading to 11.Qxd5. In both cases, a misstep by Black can result in substantial material or positional advantage for White.
6. How does the Max Lange Attack compare to other chess openings in terms of complexity and strategy?
The Max Lange Attack is recognized for its tactical complexity and aggressive style.
It requires a solid understanding of chess principles and tactical themes to navigate its numerous lines successfully.
Compared to other openings, it can lead to open positions with chances for both sides and potentially early decisive results.
7. Can the Max Lange Attack be used in high-level play, such as in tournaments?
Yes, the Max Lange Attack can be used in high-level play, including tournaments.
However, due to its complexity and the precise knowledge required, it is often more popular among club-level players and those studying the game.
As with all openings, success with the Max Lange Attack relies heavily on a player’s understanding of the specific lines and themes involved, as well as their overall chess ability.
The Max Lange Attack is a dynamic, aggressive opening that caters to players who love combative and tactical chess.
While it may not be the most frequently seen opening at the highest level, it provides many intriguing strategic and tactical ideas that can be beneficial for players of all levels.