Why is it called the Max Lange attack and not simply the Lange attack? After all, we don't have openings called the Richard Reti opening or the Wilhelm Steinitz defense or the Frank Marshall attack. Is the Max Lange the only opening with a first and last name?

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    Ruy Lopez. But it's still an interesting question, though it's going to be hard to get a non-speculative answer. Jul 30, 2017 at 22:25
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    Ruy Lopez is his first name. My guess is that he's not as well known. You don't need to say the last name of Madonna, Cher, or little Richard. Jul 31, 2017 at 4:37
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    Warning: this is pure speculation from my side, I have no idea if this played any role. If the opening were named 'Lange Attack', its German translation would be 'Lange Angriff'. This sounds very similar to the translation of 'long attack', which is 'langer Angriff'.
    – Glorfindel
    Jul 31, 2017 at 7:51
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    More speculation: "Max Lange" is reasonably short. Compare "Evgeny Sveshnikov" for example. On top of that, "Lange" would have to be present regardless, so the additional text is just "Max".
    – 11684
    Jul 31, 2017 at 8:37
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    The use of the first might be a joke due to the double meaning of "Max." I do like Glorfindel's theory. Jul 31, 2017 at 10:23

1 Answer 1


Well, they don't have an explicit protocol on whether to use the first name, the last name, or both the first and last name. Though admittedly, the Lange Attack sounds more right than the Max Lange attack.

There is a completely different story for how an opening gets its name. There are a couple openings that are named after people that didn't even play the opening or come up with the opening itself. Furthermore, there are openings named after animals or whatever; the Sicilian dragon, the Halloween gambit, the English opening, the French defense, the Hedgehog, the King's gambit, etc.

It might be based on the individual. They try to come up with a formal name of a variation based on the person's name, but to some people, it is more formal to use only the last name or the other way around (Grandmaster Tarjan instead of Grandmaster James or Grandmaster James Tarjan). On top of that, if you are lesser known or not famous, then it is considered more formal to use both the first and last name.

You have the Ruy Lopez, but not many other openings that use the first name. It is likely a result of the guy's preference. Again, an individual story for every opening, and it is cultural and normal to use only the last name, but there is ought to be a line that uses the first and last name too.

  • How did I overlook the Ruy Lopez. There is also the Ghulam Kassim Gambit 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.Bc4 g4 5.d4.
    – bof
    Aug 1, 2017 at 6:04

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