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98_C57_Traxler Counter Gambit
Compiled by whiteshark

"Czech problemist Karel Traxler played <4...Bc5!?> in J Reinisch vs Traxler, 1890. Some decades later, several Pennsylvania chess amateurs, (mainly K. Williams) analyzed the variation and decided to name it after their hometown Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, so today 4...Bc5 is known as both the Traxler Variation and (in the U.S.A. and the United Kingdom only) the Wilkes-Barre Variation. This bold move ignores White's attack on f7 and leads to wild play where a number of long variations have been analyzed to a draw by perpetual check.

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White can play 5.d4, 5.Nxf7, or 5.Bxf7+.
Opening Explorer

After <5.d4 d5!>,

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White's best is to go into an equal endgame after <6.dxc5 dxc4 7.Qxd8+>. Other sixth moves have scored very badly for White.

The usual move used to be <5.Nxf7>, but this is very complicated after <5...Bxf2+>. The current main lines all are thought to lead to drawn or equal positions, e.g. after <6.Kxf2 Nxe4+ 7.Kg1>, or even 7.Ke3. In the year 2000, this last move (which was already considered by Traxler himself) was credited as the 'refutation' of the Traxler variation, after an article in the New in Chess Yearbook series, featuring a cover diagram after White's seventh move. However, computer analysis subsequently showed that Black can probably force a draw after this move as well.

White's best try for an advantage is probably <5.Bxf7+ Ke7 6.Bb3> (although 6.Bd5 was the move recommended by Lawrence Trent in his recent Fritztrainer DVD), as this poses Black the most problems. No grandmasters have regularly adopted the Wilkes-Barre as Black, but Alexander Beliavsky and Alexei Shirov have played it occasionally even in top competition. No clear refutation is known."

Wikipedia article: Two Knights Defense Wikipedia article: Traxler-Gegenangriff

Traxler Counter Attack (Wilkes-Barre) Webliography

Seven Ways to Refute the Traxler: DEAD LINK

6.Ke2 Nd4+ 7.Kd3 b5 8.Bb3 Nxe4 9.Nxd8 Nc5+ 10.Kc3 Ne2+ 11.Qxe2
J Reinisch vs Traxler, 1890  
(C57) Two Knights, 17 moves, 0-1

6.Kf1 Qe7 7.Nxh8 d5 8.exd5 Nd4 9.c3 Bg4 10.Qa4+ Nd7 11.Kxf2 Qh4
B Mikyska vs Traxler, 1896 
(C57) Two Knights, 18 moves, 0-1

W Schiller vs P Leisebein, 1988 
(C57) Two Knights, 16 moves, 0-1

R Fiedler vs L Simchen, 1989 
(C57) Two Knights, 16 moves, 0-1

S Morrison vs S Spencer, 1957 
(C57) Two Knights, 13 moves, 1-0

I Braskin vs K de Smet, 1988 
(C57) Two Knights, 14 moves, 1-0

R B Fickling vs R Hobbs, 1975
(C57) Two Knights, 13 moves, 0-1

G Niemand vs P Keffler, 1970 
(C57) Two Knights, 15 moves, 0-1

Ohla vs Briedel, 1976
(C57) Two Knights, 17 moves, 0-1

Rossolimo vs Prins, 1949 
(C57) Two Knights, 43 moves, 1-0

E Paoli vs Rossolimo, 1949 
(C57) Two Knights, 25 moves, 0-1

C Van de Loo vs M Hesseling, 1983 
(C57) Two Knights, 48 moves, 1-0

M Kovacic vs A Pinter, 1992
(C57) Two Knights, 44 moves, 1-0

E M Sighirdjian vs L Vialaret, 1995 
(C57) Two Knights, 43 moves, 1-0

Mittenthal vs T Crispin, 1974 
(C57) Two Knights, 13 moves, 0-1

Estrin vs I Zaitsev, 1969
(C57) Two Knights, 19 moves, 0-1

Karpov vs Beliavsky, 1983 
(C57) Two Knights, 34 moves, 1/2-1/2

Anand vs Beliavsky, 1991 
(C57) Two Knights, 44 moves, 0-1

Le Blanchy vs D E Rumens, 1975
(C57) Two Knights, 15 moves, 0-1

D Thielen vs A Froemmel, 1990
(C57) Two Knights, 24 moves, 1-0

F Borrmann vs R Andrae, 1990 
(C57) Two Knights, 26 moves, 1-0

Estrin vs M Weiss, 1971 
(C57) Two Knights, 17 moves, 1-0

Gretchuch vs Soloveyv, 1970
(C57) Two Knights, 14 moves, 0-1

F Whitacre vs D Davis, 1982 
(C57) Two Knights, 16 moves, 0-1

V Machala vs Dubrava, 1975
(C57) Two Knights, 24 moves, 1-0

E Paoli vs H Steiner, 1951 
(C57) Two Knights, 14 moves, 0-1

4... d5
A Kazoks vs P Kahn, 1985 
(C57) Two Knights, 18 moves, 0-1

U Plath vs J Roscher, 1989 
(C57) Two Knights, 18 moves, 0-1

P Leisebein vs W Pohl, 1990 
(C57) Two Knights, 22 moves, 1-0

TActicaL TAngO
White Rook Youth Club vs Tal, 1970 
(C57) Two Knights, 28 moves, 1/2-1/2

R Rehfeld vs A Schneider, 1988 
(C57) Two Knights, 15 moves, 0-1

Edelman vs I Mazel, 1928 
(C57) Two Knights, 17 moves, 0-1

Two Knights Defense. Ulvestad Variation
Naiditsch vs Carlsen, 2006 
(C57) Two Knights, 54 moves, 0-1

Ulvestad Variation Kurkin Gambit
F Vallejo Pons vs Naiditsch, 2007 
(C57) Two Knights, 29 moves, 1-0

Soyka vs B Tot, 1948 
(C57) Two Knights, 12 moves, 0-1

D MacMurray vs A S Kussman, 1937 
(C57) Two Knights, 13 moves, 0-1

F Hollingsworth vs R Steensland, 1967
(C57) Two Knights, 9 moves, 0-1

Estrin vs Berliner, 1965 
(C57) Two Knights, 42 moves, 0-1

38 games

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