Vienna Gambit (Max Lange) | PLAY THIS FUN LINE! 😁

Vienna Gambit (Max Lange) | PLAY THIS FUN LINE! 😁

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#vienna #maxlange #viennagambit #knightsac #doublecheck #brilliancy 

Those of you who follow my channel will know that I love the Vienna Game and the Vienna Gambit, and that recently, I've been playing the Vienna Gambit in the Max Lange Defense (1. e4 e5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. f4) as well. Historically, I've followed the advice of the big YouTubers like Levi Rozman and have played (3. Bc4) against the Max Lange Defense. The logic here is if Black plays the "copycat variation" with (3... Bc5), you get a fantastically fun and winning game with (4. Qg4), and potentially entering the Meitner-Mieses Gambit one of my absolute favourite lines in chess!

However, at the intermediate level, more often than not Black will avoid the "copycat" and enter the Bishop's Opening: Berlin-Vienna Hybrid positions and I simply didn't really like playing those lines.

It seems that few chess YouTubers explore the Max Lange Vienna Gambit, but I can strongly recommend it for Vienna lovers. It a romantic line that will typically result in bombastic, tactical, and interesting games! According to Lichess, the line is great with White winning at (54%) to Black (43%), and that's maintained with all of Black's responses! The Falkbeer Vienna Gambit has a better overall win ratio, but with an Achilles heel; if Black enters the Main Line, the win ratio is equalised.

One of the things about the Max Lange Vienna Gambit is that at the intermediate level, Black will often be completely unfamiliar with it. In this game, my mid-1300s rated opponent immediately made a mistake with (4... f6). American GM Ben Finegold's admonition applies here; you should never play f6 in the opening! I could see what they were trying to do; double defend the g5 square to prepare for g5, but that's a mistake. Black's logic is that they'll push g5 with the goal of trapping White's king's knight.

However, the counterattack that White had (and you should know this if you play the Max Lange Vienna Gambit), is that the king's knight can be sacrificed to damage to Black's kingside defences, especially along the light square diagonal to the king on the f7 square. This is almost always good for White, even with the loss of material!

Two moves later, I sacrifice my knight with (6. Nxg5!!). I was really gratified to see that the analytic engine rated this a brilliancy! Black got spooked by the move and opted to not capture my knight (6... f5??), a blunder! In fact, there was a [+M5], though I didn't realise this in the game.

The killer move now is (7. Qh5+) and Black's troubles can be easily understood. The black king is completely exposed with the forward movements of their e-, f-, and g-pawns. Their investment in pawn moves in the opening meant that they had no piece development. White now has the opportunity to chase Black's king with checks and weave a checkmate net.

I didn't find the quickest checkmate, as I wasn't sure that there was one. I ended up playing unnecessarily conservatively; in the game, I was worried that I would end up trapping my queen if I didn't give it mobility to escape. Nonetheless, I drag Black's king into the centre of the board, and it makes a merry journey in front of his army, and then seemingly manages to escape and hides back on the back rank on their queenside. However, Black's spirit was broken, and they couldn't resist a second knight sacrifice, falling into a trap! Some double and discovered checks later, I grab a very nice checkmate on move 24. Fascinatingly, FOUR of Black's pieces never had the opportunity to leave their starting square, GG!

The big takeaway from this game is to consider and try the Max Lange Vienna Gambit, if you are a Vienna Game player! Although the big YouTubers don't promote it, it's a very winning opening gambit that is easily as fun as the more mainstream Falkbeer Vienna Gambit!


Hi!  I'm vitualis, the chess noob (aka chessnoob64), and I run the "Adventures of a Chess Noob" YouTube channel and blog.  I'm learning and having fun with chess! 

I restarted playing chess recently after my interest was rekindled by the release of "The Queen's Gambit" on Netflix.  I mostly play 1 or 2 games a day, and am trying to improve (slowly!).  I document some of my games and learning experiences on my blog and YouTube channel from the perspective of a beginner-intermediate player!

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