The Max Lange Attack – Part 1

1. e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.d4 



The four central squares are the most important squares to control on the chess board because the quickest route from one sector of the board to another is through the center.

 Commonly you want your pieces to have access to the central squares while preventing your opponent from using them.  


This is the only good way to meet white’s aggression.  Dubious is 4…Ne4?

As leads to a position where white’s pawns are especially good at preventing black pieces from occupying the central squares.  

White keeps serious positional pressure, for example losing immediately is

6…Bc5? (Better is 6…Nc5).

White’s access to the most important center squares and attack over the weak f7 square decides the game.

7. Qd5! A typical idea – white is aiming at e4 and f7 all together, so after   7…Bf2+ 8. Ke2 white wins at once.  


Last time we were analyzing the outcome of 5. Ng5 d5, nevertheless later analysis showed that after 5…Ne5 black could achieve a fairly good game.

5… Bc5!?

This move is characterize the starting point of the Max Lange Attack.

Black defends the center pawn d4 and gets ready to contradict white’s aggressive pawn assault with his own powerful counter attack.     

Being one of the stormiest opening systems for more then 50 years in the 19th Century, The Max Lange Attack is a rare guest in the recent practice.  

The reason could be a very practical one: After 5…Bc5 we get into unbalanced positions which you have to know extremely well, otherwise one inaccurate move could cost you the game.

This elaborate opening system has been analyzed by many well known strong chess players of the 19th Century such as Staunton, Chigorin, Tarrasch, Rubinstein and others. 

6. e5 d5!


This is the key of the variation. Black allows white to destroy his Kingside pawns, but is getting a tremendous center pawn pair which should be a great compensation for the ruined King’s Safety.  

7. ef dc  

Now after  

8. Re1+

Black has two options : 8…Kf8 and 8…Be6


9 Responses

  1. I think there are some moves missing here:

    “This is the only good way to meet white’s aggression. Dubious is 4…Ne4?

    As leads to a position where white’s pawns are especially good at preventing black pieces from occupying the central squares.

    White keeps serious positional pressure, for example losing immediately is

    6…Bc5? (Better is 6…Nc5).”

    What is move 5 … and move 6 in the above sequence?



  2. Qd5! is he move missing, double attach on f7 and e4

  3. Anon, I assume by Qd5! you mean 6. Qd5! What was Black’s move on 5 … ?



  4. it sounds like move 5…was Bc5 he just got the numbers mixed up

  5. Hi Boris,

    I see your gambit guide on ICC. In defending against the following e4 e5 nf3 nc6 d4 ed bc4 nf6 oo :
    the max lange attack continues if black plays bc5
    From a black point of view, ne4 looks much better but i cannot find any analysis of this in your series on ICC. you mention it briefly but there’s where do i get the analysis.

    also, is it reasonable for black to avoid all the max lange stuff by playing the following: e4 e5 nf3 nc6 bc4 bc5 oo AND NOW INSTEAD of nf6 d4, for black to play d6 instead of nf6. d6 seems to avoid all the confusing stuff after nf6 d4 ed4 e5 d5 etc.
    what do you think?

    please answer both of my question

    Vinod Puri FM

    • Dear Vinod:

      Q1: Opening Repertoire for The Attacking Player-Keene/Levy-1991
      Koltanowski: Blindfold Games-1990
      Trends in the Italian Game-1989
      500 Italian Minitures-1987
      The Italienische Partie-Estrin-1985
      Practical Play of the Max Lange-Koltanowski-1973
      Koltanowski Blindfold Genius-1990
      Guioco Piano & Max Lange Attack-Soltis-1991
      The Italian Game-Botterill/Harding-1977
      Schaak 28
      Romantic Chess Openings-Zagorovsky-1982
      Open Gambits-Botterill-1986

      GM Alterman’s great Gambit Guide series has some info on the above line and he calls 5…Nxe4! the best move at that point. It may be in the Two Knights-Morphy Attack Lectures (which doesn’t cover the lines in the ICC blurb but the rather the more interesting Open Two knights). Soltis calls this line the Anti-Max Lange in his book.

      I met GM Koltanowski at a simul in San Antonio 51 years ago and 3 of us teenagers got to linger privately with him for about 3 hours. He explained that he used the Max Lange Attack frequently in simuls & blindfold exihibitions because there are so many ways for the opponent to go wrong wit hdevastating effect. I really liked it and played it as often as possible but finally had to resort to playing the black side in order to get to use any of my opening preparation on the Max Lange! At first I found it difficult to play against even though I had a reasonable knowledge of the lines and traps from the white side.

      Hope the bibliography for Q1 and the ref: for Q2 help you.


      Gary Zintgraff

  6. in the max lange attack..1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.d4 exd4 5. 0-0, what if the 5th move of black is Nxe4?? what is the best reply of white??

  7. in max lange attack..1. e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 .. what if black moves Bc5?? instead of Nf6.. should i continue d4?? and still following the lines.. what is the line after i move d4?? and the Bc5 captures d4??.. do white still have attacking tactics??or black reputed it already??

  8. The easiest way to get started and to create your blog, go
    to Blogger It is also a great idea to use WordPress to sign up and create your blog and keep it going on a regular basis.
    Answer the question: What would you do if you ruled the world.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s