Welcome to my Italian Game ECO (C53-C56)games page!

On this page I display links to my chess games in which I played either side of the Italian Game.

The games include analysis and diagrams. I will place the actual games on separate pages listed by the opponent played. The Italian Game was originally know as the Giuoco Piano. But, variations of the Italian Game include the Max Lange Attack (one of my favorites) and the Moeller Attack. The Italian Game also includes the Evans Gambit. When I play the Italian Game I am almost always trying to play the Max Lange (pronounced long a) Attack. I will give an example of the Max Lange Attack below:

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4

Italian Game after 3. Bc4.

Italian Game after 3. Bc4.

This is the typical beginning of the Italian Game. Black usually plays either 3… Nf6 or 3… Bc5 here. Both moves allow me to continue with the Max Lange Attack.

… Nf6 4. d4

Italian Game after 4. d4.

Italian Game after 4. d4.

Here Black has the choice of capturing the pawn on d4 with the Knight, capturing on d4 with the pawn on e5, or capturing on e4 with his Knight on f6. The main line continues with 4… exd4.

… exd4 5. O-O

The Italian Game after 5. 0-0.

The Italian Game after 5. 0-0.

If Black captures the e pawn with 5… Nxe4 White plays 6. Re1 pinning the Knight to the Black King. This leads to wild play but can become equal with accurate play from both sides. The main line continues with 5… Bc5.

… Bc5 6. e5

Max Lange Attack after 6. e5.

Max Lange Attack after 6. e5.

Black can move his Knight on f6 to a safe square, but that is considered to be inferior to counter attacking with d5.

… d5 7. exf6 dxc4 8. Re1+

Max Lange Attack after 8. Re1+.

Max Lange Attack after 8. Re1+.

White has sacrificed a pawn for an attack in the Center and on the  Kingside. Black is in check and most either move his King, which is inferior, or block the check by playing his Bishop the e6.

… Be6 9. Ng5 Qd5

Max Lange Attack after 9... Qd5.

Max Lange Attack after 9… Qd5.

D5 is the best square for the Black Queen because if Queen to d7 White can play 10. Nxe6 fxe6 11. fxg7 Rg8 12. Qh5+ and then 13. Qxc5.

10. Nc3

The Max Lange Attack after 10. Nc3.

The Max Lange Attack after 10. Nc3.

Black cannot capture the Knight with 10… dxc3 because then White plays 11. Qxd5 and the Black Bishop is pinned to the Black King. Thus, Black loses his Queen if he captures on c3 now.

… Qf5 11. Nce4 O-O-O 12. g4 Qe5 13. Nxe6 fxe6

The Max Lange Attack after 13... fxe6.

The Max Lange Attack after 13… fxe6.

Here White has a choice between 14. Fxg7! and 14. Bg5. I will show what happens after 14. Fxg7!

14. fxg7! Rhg8 15. Bh6! d3!

The Max Lange Attack after 15... d3!

The Max Lange Attack after 15… d3!

Black expands in the Center before White can get his Kingside attack going. White’s passed pawn on g6 is a big thorn in Black’s side. Also, Black’s Queen is still guarding the Black Bishop on c5 form White’s Knight on e4.

16. c3 d2 17. Re2 Rd3 18. Qf1!

The Max Lange attack after 18. Qf1!

The Max Lange attack after 18. Qf1!

Although I didn’t go off on all of the minor lines and sub variations of this opening, you can see from the main line here that both sides get some interesting play here and whomever knows this opening best is the one who will win. White’s last move prepares to put the Queen on g2 and to bring the Queen’s Rook over to d1.

… Qd5 19. Rd1 Ne5

The Max Lange Attack after 19... Ne5.

The Max Lange Attack after 19… Ne5.

For many years Black last two moves were considered to be the equalizer here. These two moves were suggested by Frank J. Marshall. If White were to play 20. Nf6 Black can get a perpetual check with 20… Qf3 21. Nxg8 Qxg4+ 22. Kh1 Qf3+ OR 22. Qg2 Qxe2.

20. Qg2! Nf3+ 21. Kf1 Be7 22. g5

The Max Lange Attack ater 22. g5.

The Max Lange Attack ater 22. g5.

“Some have described the above position as messy. According to Andrew Soltis, White is beginning to consolidate and make threats of Nf6 or g5-g6”. I think that you can see why this is still one of my favorite openings for White. However, there are many points in the opening where Black can simply avoid the Max Lange Attack and transpose into another variation of the Italian Game.

Chess Video – Max Lange Attack

This is a brief overview of the Max Lange Attack with some analysis.


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