1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Bc4

4......Nf6

This is usually given as black's best move. It leads to a lot of very equal positions if played properly

(a __big__ if).

5.0-0

Now black has an important choice:

(a) 5.....Nxe4 or (b) 5.....Bc5

(a) 5.....Nxe4

The Anti-Max Lange. This leads to a well-known crowd pleasing sequence.

6.Re1 d5

7.Bxd5!

(Worth a look is 7.Bb5 which should definitely get black out of the book. M.Illescas-D.Garcia went 7.....Be7 8.Nxd4 Bd7 9.c4 Nxd4 10.Bxd7+ Qxd7 11.Qxd4 0-0?? 12.Rxe4. This is the only game I can find with this line. Obviously black's 10th move was garbage - but this line is probably o.k. anyway because Illescas is a decent player.)

7......Qxd5

8.Nc3

Now black has to decide where to stick his queen. The 3 usual candidates are:

(i) 8.....Qd8

(ii) 8.....Qh5

(iii) 8.....Qa5

(i) 8.....Qd8

9.Rxe4+ Be7

(Here black could well play Be6 automatically as it is the usual move in most other lines. Basman showed how to continue spectacularly in a game that went 9.....Be6 10.Nxd4 Nxd4 11.Rxd4 Qc8 12.Bg5 f6 13.Bxf6 gxf6 14.Qh5+ Bf7 15.Re1 Be7 16.Rxe7 Kxe7 17.Qc5+ Ke8 18.Re4+ Be6 19.Nd5 wins quickly)

10.Nxd4 f5

11.Rf4 0-0

12.Nxc6 Qxd1+

13.Nxd1 bxc6

14.Rc4 Bd6

15.Nc3

Black has 2 bishops in an open position but has weak c pawns.

(ii) 8.....Qh5

9.Nxe4 Be6

10.Bg5 Bb4

(If 10.....Be7 11.Bxe7 Nxe7 12.Nxd4 Qxd1 13.Raxd1 0-0-0 14.Ng5! gives white a slight edge.

If 10.....h6 11.Bf6! Qa5 12.Nxd4 gxf6 13.Nxf6+ Ke7 14.b4! Nxb4 15.Nxe6! Kxf6 16.Qd4+ wins. If 10.....Bd6 11.Nxd6+ cxd6 12.Bf4 0-0 13.Nxd4 and white has a small advantage due to the black pawn weakness)

11.Nxd4 Qxd1

12.Rexd1 Nxd4

13.Rxd4 Be7

14.Re1 Rd8

15.Ra4

With a slight advantage to white.

(iii) 8.....Qa5

Probably the best.

9.Nxe4 Be6

10.Bd2

The other options 10.Bg5 and 10.Neg5 are no better.

Now black's choices are:

(x) 10.....Qf5 (y) 10.....Bb4 (z) 10.....Qd5

(x) 10.....Qf5

11.Bg5 Bd6

12.Nxd4 Nxd4

13.Qxd4 0-0

14.Nxd6 Qxg5

is about equal.

(y) 10.....Bb4

Basman thinks this is black's most energetic line. It does allow another of those fake sacs for white though.

11.Nxd4! Nxd4

12.c3 0-0

"a sound move which should equalize". [ The other likely move is 12.....Be7. The main line goes 12....Be7 13.cxd4 Qd5 14.Bb4 Bxb4 15.Qa4+ Qc6 16.Qxb4 0-0-0 17.Nc5 Bd5 18.Rac1 Qg6 19.g3 now Smith & Hall give 19....Qb6 20.Qa3 as slightly better for white due to the half-open c-file. Black can try 19....Bc6 or 19....Qg4(Fritz) here though.]

13.cxb4 Qd5

14.Rc1 b6

15.Rxc7 Rad8

16.Bc3 Nb5

17.Qf3 Nxc3

(17.....Nxc7 18.Nf6+ gxf6 19.Qxf6)

18.Qxc3 Rc8

Black's active pieces are supposed to compensate for the pawn.

(z) 10.....Qd5

This is the most common move.

11.Bg5 Bd6

12.Bf6 0-0

13.Nxd4 Nxd4

14.Qxd4 Qxd4

15.Bxd4 Rfd8

16.Nxd6 Rxd6

A good time to agree a draw - the bar awaits.

Back to the position after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Bc4 Nf6 5.0-0

(b) 5......Bc5

6.e5

The Max Lange Attack - pass me my sunglasses! One of the most over-analysed lines in chess theory and the jury is still out. Very complicated in places, so the following is only a taster.

6.....d5

7.exf6

(There is always the reasonable move 7.Bb5 if your opponent plays 6....d5 with suspicious speed, or you just can't be bothered with the complications.)

7.....dxc4

8.Re1+

(This is thought to be the best line - though 8.fxg7 gets played as well)

8.....Be6

(This is what usually happens. The alternative 8.....Kf8, which is dismissed by Basman as a consistant failure, can continue 9.Bg5 gxf6 10.Bh6+ Kg8 11.Nc3 Bf8 12.Bxf8 Kxf8 13.Ne4 f5 14.Ng3 when white's lead in development and the wrecked black king-side are meant to more than make up for the 2 pawn deficit according to Smith & Hall. BCO2 gives it as equal. I haven't got a clue, but Fritz5 agrees with BCO2 that the best line is 12.Nxd4 Bxh6 13.Nxc6 Qxd1 14.Ne7+ Kg7 15.Raxd1. So, in the style of much recent chess literature, lets just gloss over that one)

9.Ng5 Qd5

(9.....Qxf6? 10.Nxe6 fxe6 11.Qh5+ wins the bishop.)

10.Nc3 Qf5

11.N3e4 0-0-0

(Black has at least four other playable options here. This is thought to be best.......so that's them dealt with then.)

12.g4! Qe5

(Kostas Domoras - a hard drinking club member - reckons there's a line here where black plays Qg6, sacking a piece, and wins - I can't find this anywhere so I remain to be convinced.)

13.Nxe6 fxe6

14.fxg7 Rhg8

15.Bh6! d3!

16.c3

Now black has 3 main options.

a).16.....Bd6

b).16.....Be7

c).16.....d2

a). 16.....Bd6

This allows white to activate his king-side pawns.

17.f4! Qd5

18.Qf3 Be7

Fritz plays 18.....e5 here but after 19.f5 white's kingside pawns are starting to mass in the penalty box.

19.g5 Qf5

20.Ng3 Qf7

21.Qg4 Rde8

Smith + Hall say 21.....d2 is a better try but don't follow it up, so all we have to go on is the game we're looking at here - Marshall v Tarrasch. The rest went 22.Re4! b5 23.a4! a6 24.axb5 axb5 25.Kg2! Nd8 26.Qf3 Qg6 27.Rd4! c6 28.Rxd8+ Kxd8 29.Qxc6 1-0

b). 16.....Be7

17.f4 Qd5

18.Qd2 Rd7

19.Re3 Nd8

20.b3! Nf7

21.bxc4 Qa5

22.Rh3 Nxh6

23.Rxh6 Rxg7

24.h3!

and white has a small plus.

c). 16.....d2

When people say of the Max Lange that the player who knows most will win, they have lines like this in mind. You can see how one slip by either side could be TFTBB (time for tubby bye-byes - a teletubbies reference, if you haven't heard of them don't worry, you're not missing anything).

17.Re2 Rd3

18.Qf1! Qd5

19.Rd1 Ne5

20.Qg2!

On 20.Nf6 Qf3 21.Nxg8 Qxg4+ 22.Kh1 Qf3+ is perpetual, as 23.Qg2 loses the rook on e2.

20.....Nf3+

21.Kf1 Be7

22.g5 Qf5

23.h3 Nh4

24.Ng3 Qf3

25.Qxf3 Nxf3

26.Ne4 Kd7!

(So that 27.Nf6 Bxf6 28.gxf6 Ke8 and the king blocks the pawn)

27.Re3 Rxe3

28.fxe3 Ke8

29.Ke2 Nh4

30.Nf6+ Bxf6

31.gxf6 Kf7

32.Bg5 Nf5

33.e4! 1-0

That's enough Max Lange or we'll be here all day.

Back to Scotch Gambit Intro & Part 1

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