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Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Two Dr. Max Langes

Max Lange, the Stronger
     Dr. Max Lange (August 7, 1832, Magdeburg – December 8, 1899, Leipzig) was a German player and problem composer. Lange attended Grammar school in Magdeburg and later studied at the universities at Jena, Berlin, Halle and Heidelberg where he studied law and philosophy , obtaining his doctorate in both. While still a schoolboy, in 1849 he founded his school's chess club (named "Sophrosyne") and a Magdeburg chess magazine; the magazine lasted only one year. 
     From 1858 to 1864 he was, first with Anderssen, then with Hirschfeld and Suhle, and later by himself, the editor of a chess magazine founded by the Berlin Club. He also conducted the Sontagsblatt (Sunday newspaper) and a chess column in the Leipsic Illustrated Journal. Somewhere around 1862 he founded the West German Chess Association and first first in its tournament at Dusseldorf three years in a row. He also finished first in tournaments in Aix la Chapelle in 1867 and Hamburg in 1868. 
     Lang was one of the original members of the German Schachbund and upon the death of the director, Lang took over, but his arbitrary rule lead to a temporary split in the organization. The split lead to holding two rival Masters' tournaments in Germany in the same year. 
     For the last thirty years Lange withdrew almost entirely from tournament and match play, but continued his interest in the game.   As a chess writer, his works were known for their brilliance and attractive style and he was a major contributor to opening theory of the day. He contributed to the theory of the Evans Gambit, King's Gambit and Bishop's Gambit. But, he did NOT invent the famed Max Lange Attack and the opening is NOT named after him; it is named after the other Dr. Max Lange. 
     Lange was an honorary member of several German chess clubs.  In his day he was known as "a fertile inventor of new modes of play in several openings and a valuable contributor to chess literature." 
     Chessmetrics estimates that Lange was one of the top ten players in the world in the 1860s. After his sabbatical from tournament chess from 1868 he made his final appearance in the German Championship at Nuremberg in 1883. Lange finished in a tie for 17th–19th which was last. Even so, according to Chessmetrics he was still among the top 40 to 50 players in the world in the 1880s. 
     Dr. Max Lange (1883–1923) was the other one and less is known about him. At least one source said they were not related, but one, the more reliable, I think, claimed they were father and son. See the article in Sarah's Chess Journal HERE
     This Dr. Max Lange's best known tournaments were Hilversum 1903 and the 14th DSB-Congress at Coburg 1904. This Lange was also an author and published Lehrbuch des Schachspiels (Textbook of Chess Games, Halle 1856), and Handbuch der Schachaufgaben (Handbook of Chess problems, Leipzig 1862). This one was the inventor of the variation of the Two Knights Defense called the Max Lange Attack. 
     This Max Lange was born in Stettin, Germany (now Szczecin, Poland). He was a mathematician and a friend of the Laskers, Emmanuel and Edward. He played in some "minor" tournaments, i.e. lower sections of major tournaments between Hannover 1902 and Mannheim 1914. 
     In 1920 he moved to Japan in order to play Go, which he found more interesting than chess. He died in the Kanto earthquake of 1923. 
     The following game was played by the "better" Max Lange that was first published in his Sammlung Neuer Schach Partien (Collection of New Chess Games) in 1857.

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