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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

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

5.O-OO-O 6.d3d6 7.Be3Bg4 8.Nf3Nd4 9.Nbd2Bb6
E M Sighirdjian vs L Vialaret, 1995 
(C57) Two Knights, 43 moves, 1-0

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

4... d5
U Plath vs J Roscher, 1989 
(C57) Two Knights, 18 moves, 0-1

2NDef. Ulvestad Variation
Naiditsch vs Carlsen, 2006 
(C57) Two Knights, 54 moves, 0-1

2NDef. Ulvestad Variation Kurkin Gambit
F Vallejo Pons vs Naiditsch, 2007 
(C57) Two Knights, 29 moves, 1-0

2NDef. Ulvestad Variation
Klementiev vs Mikhalchishin, 1974 
(C57) Two Knights, 27 moves, 0-1

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

W Schiller vs P Leisebein, 1988 
(C57) Two Knights, 16 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

6.d4Nxd4 7.c3Nc6 8.Bb3Rf8 9.Be3Bxe3 10.fxe3d6
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

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

6.Bd5 d6 7.c3Rf8 8.d4exd4 9.Bxc6bxc6 10.O-Odxc3
Estrin vs I Zaitsev, 1969
(C57) Two Knights, 19 moves, 0-1

6.Kf1 Qe7 7.Nxh8 d5 8.exd5 Nd4 9.h3 Qc510.Kxf2 Nxc2+
Estrin vs L Endzelins, 1965
(C57) Two Knights, 40 moves, 1/2-1/2

6.Kf1 Qe7 7.Nxh8 d5 8.exd5 Nd4 9.h3 Bg3 10.c3 Nf5
Estrin vs Jiri Nun, 1965 
(C57) Two Knights, 16 moves, 0-1

6.Kxf2 Nxe4+ 7.Ke3Qe7 8.Kxe4Qh4+ 9.g4d5+ 10.Bxd5Bxg411.Bxc6+
A Froemmel vs W Schneider, 1989 
(C57) Two Knights, 16 moves, 0-1

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

6.Kf1 Qe7 7.Nxh8 d5 8.exd5 Nd4 9.d6 cxd6 10.c3 Bg4
Tarakanov vs S Naftalin, 1971 
(C57) Two Knights, 19 moves, 0-1

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

6.Kf1Qe7 7.Nxh8d5 8.exd5Bg4 9.Be2Bxe2+ 10.Qxe2Nd4 11.Qxf2O-O-O
E Reichmann vs H Ullrich, 1961 
(C57) Two Knights, 19 moves, 0-1

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

6.Kxf2 Nxe4+ 7.Kg1 Qh4 8.g3 Nxg3 9.hxg3 Qxg3+ 10.Kf1Rf8
Edmund Adam vs H Schild, 1987 
(C57) Two Knights, 14 moves, 0-1

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

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

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

6.Kf1Qe7 7.Nxh8d58.exd5Nd49.c3Bg410.Qa4+Nd7
Smirnov vs Ulanov, 1955 
(C57) Two Knights, 16 moves, 0-1

Friedrich vs P Leisebein, 1987 
(C57) Two Knights, 13 moves, 0-1

6.Kf1Qe7 7.Nxh8d58.exd5Nd49.h3Bg310.c3Nf5
S Kurkin vs Estrin, 1966 
(C57) Two Knights, 25 moves, 0-1

6.Kf1Qe7 7.Nxh8d58.Qf3Bh49.Bxd5Nd410.Qa3Nxd5
Apartsev vs I Zaitsev, 1963 
(C57) Two Knights, 17 moves, 0-1

5...Kf8? 6.Bb3 d5 7.exd5 Nxd5 8.Ne4 b6 9.Qf3+ Nf6
Jensen vs Bruckert, 1988 
(C57) Two Knights, 12 moves, 1-0

6.d4 Nxd4 7.c3 Ne6 8.Bxe6 dxe6 9.Qe2 Qe8 10.Be3 Bd6
Rossolimo vs Prins, 1949 
(C57) Two Knights, 43 moves, 1-0

6.Bd5 Nb4 7.d4 exd4 8.O-O Nbxd5 9.exd5 Re8 10.Qd3h6
Estrin vs M Weiss, 1971 
(C57) Two Knights, 17 moves, 1-0

6.Bd5 Rf8 7.O-O d6 8.h3 Qe8 9.c3 Qg6 10.d4 Bb6
Estrin vs Jiri Nun, 1973 
(C57) Two Knights, 48 moves, 1/2-1/2

6.Bb3 Rf8 7.O-O h6 8.Nf3 d6 9.h3 Qe8 10.c3 Qh5 11.d4 Bb6
Ohla vs Briedel, 1976
(C57) Two Knights, 17 moves, 0-1

6.Bd5 Qe8 7.d3 d6 8.Bxc6 bxc6 9.Be3 Qg6 10.Nf3 Bxe3 11.fxe3Qxg2
Anand vs Beliavsky, 1991 
(C57) Two Knights, 44 moves, 0-1

6.Bb3 d5 7.exd5 Nd4 8.d6+ cxd6 9.Nf7 Qf8 10.Nxh8
Mittenthal vs T Crispin, 1974 
(C57) Two Knights, 13 moves, 0-1

6.Bb3 Rf8 7.O-Od6 8.Nc3Qe8 9.Nd5+Kd8 10.Nxf6gxf6 11.Nxh7
G Niemand vs P Keffler, 1970 
(C57) Two Knights, 15 moves, 0-1

6.Bd5 Rf8 7.O-O d6 8.Bxc6 bxc6 9.Nf3 Bg4 10.d3 Qe8 11.Be3Qh5
K Asrian vs A Minasian, 2007 
(C57) Two Knights, 23 moves, 1-0

6.Bd5 d6 7.c3 Qe8 8.d4 exd4 9.cxd4 Nxd4 10.Nc3 Qh5
Karpov vs Beliavsky, 1983 
(C57) Two Knights, 34 moves, 1/2-1/2

6.Bb3 Rf8 7.Qe2 d6 8.Nc3 Qe8 9.Nd5+ Nxd5 10.Bxd5 Bxf2+11.Kd1Nd4
R B Fickling vs R Hobbs, 1975
(C57) Two Knights, 13 moves, 0-1

6.Bd5 Rf8 7.Rf1 Qe8 8.Nc3 d6 9.h3 Qg6 10.d3 h6 11.Nf3 Qxg2
I Efimov vs Shirov, 1991 
(C57) Two Knights, 15 moves, 0-1

6.Bb3 d6 7.c3 Rf8 8.O-O Bg4 9.Qe1 h6 10.h3 hxg5 11.hxg4
Sils vs L Schmid, 1971 
(C57) Two Knights, 14 moves, 0-1

Team White vs Team Black, 2017 
(C57) Two Knights, 55 moves, 1-0

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