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Roger Pernet vs Colin A Costello
"Hey Abbott!" (game of the day Feb-08-2011)
Be'er Sheva (1982), Be'er Sheva ISR
Italian Game: Two Knights Defense. Traxler Counterattack Knight sac line (C57)  ·  0-1


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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: In the Traxler Black often gets away stuff that surpasses belief, but this is going too far. Did White think 16...Nxh2 was check or something?

And the pun wasn't even worth it.

Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: So, what happens after 15. Kxg4 ?
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: This pun will go over the head of 90% of the readers, Bud Abbot and Lou Costello go waaay back. Lets just say they are 'pre-MTV'.
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: I know of those comedy lads--they gave the best explanation of the American sport of baseball I have ever heard.
Feb-08-11  BalaKKa: And what if 17.Kxh4 or 17.Qh5+ - g6 18.Qxh4?
Premium Chessgames Member
  YouRang: Who's on g3?
Premium Chessgames Member
  nezhmet: rubbish game
Feb-08-11  Mendrys: <Sneaky> Does white really go wrong somewhere in all this? As al Wazir points out what happens after 15. Kxg4 as well as 15 Ne4? As impressive as it looks with all his pieces around the black king he sure has a lot of them en prise
Feb-08-11  AllTheHype: First thing I thought of with the pun:
Feb-08-11  cyclemath: Weird choice of GOTD. Black was lost at move 4, then white let him off the hook, but by move 16 black was again lost, and it was perverse not to have resigned some moves earlier. Black's only hope was that white would not play out the routine win, but would now play a very silly move, allowing black to mate in one. And that's what white obligingly did.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <cyclemath> Black was not lost at move four. The Traxler Variation introduced with <4...Bc5> is a respectable line for Black, even if White plays the best move of 5.Bxf7+.

However, it is horrifically complicated for both players, and one misstep leads to disaster. Here, Black starts going off the rails with 10...Bh4; instead, 10...Nxe2 11.Nxe2 Ne4 keeps up the pressure. See, for example, Cosling vs P Murray, 1958. Though hardly forced, that's an example of how devastating the line can be against inexact defense.

Feb-08-11  newzild: Another really poor GOTD - the second in a row. In this case, White allows a mate-in-one with 17.Rxh2??. Apart from the defences already mentioned, White could try 17.Kxh4, or better still 17.gxh4!, when Black's queen and knight are unable to construct a mating net by themselves (and the knight is dropping off in any case).
Premium Chessgames Member
  playground player: <Phony Benoni> I wish I had the nerve to play the Traxler, but I don't. Give me the Polerio Defense any day (4...Na5).
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Whether or not his opponent was named Costello,white did NOT know who was on first!
Feb-08-11  YetAnotherAmateur: <YouRang>No, Who's on a8, What's on g3, and I Don't Know is on h4.
Feb-08-11  Deathstroke: I've never had the nerve to play the Traxler (Wilkes-Barre) in a tournament match. But I've wanted to... oh, so very badly.

The utter chaos that ensues is just a marvel to behold. The fact that Black has, in effect, said "Material doesn't matter; it's my rapid development that will win the game!" is just too gutsy not to admire.

That being said, this is <not> a good example of this variation in action. Black leaves way too many options for White at every stage of the attack. Everything up until Black's 8th move was standard Traxler. After that, I think he got desperate.

Was this, perhaps, a lightning match? It's the only way I can think that so many obvious escapes were missed by White.

I do not know whether the Traxler is considered sound today, or not. But if you're facing an opponent who's never seen it before, it can sure be fun to see the look on their face when you start it.

Feb-08-11  jovack: Black is left stranded after white simply plays 17. gxh4 (among other moves)
Feb-08-11  cyclemath: <Phony Benoni> Fair enough. I was just taking Fritz's word for it, which puts White 3 points up after Black's 4th.

White stays 3+ points up until his 9th move, when he finds a move poor enough to cancel his advantage. However, Black gives the 3-point advantage back on move 10, and by move 16 he is down 17 points. Fortunately, White then offers him the mate in one. :-)

Feb-08-11  theodor: <<BalaKKa>: And what if 17.Kxh4 ? > I think 1-0!
Feb-08-11  David2009: Pernet vs C Costello, 1982: Feeding the position at move 9 into Crafty End Game Trainer,

click for larger view

after 9 Nc3 the EGT continues 9...Qf1 10 Be2 Bh4 11 Kg1 Bf2+ draw by repetition. Link:

Can White avoid the draw?

I agree with <Sneaky>: IMO 5 Bxf7+ gives more practical OTB winning chances but Black still does well.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Willber G: I'm obviously missing something, but what is wrong with 6.Kxf2?
Feb-08-11  WhiteRook48: what is wrong with 17 gxh4?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <Willber G> 6.Kxf2 is possible, though 6...Nxe4+ gives Black a very strong attack. This entire Traxler attack has been very deeply studied, and the analysis is too long, complicated, and uncertain to go into here.

You can look at some of the lines resulting from 6.Kxf2 by using this link: Opening Explorer

Premium Chessgames Member
  Willber G: Thanks PB, I'll check it out. I noticed Nxe4+ but didn't follow it very far.
Feb-11-11  zealouspawn: Sneaky... I was referring to black's sacking so many pieces unsoundly... not either players opening choice!
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