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Egon Reichmann vs Heinz Ullrich
"Horsepower" (game of the day Apr-24-2014)
Berlin (1961), Berlin GER
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
  Sneaky: Yes, it's called the "Two Knight's Defense" because Black throws two knights out there in romantic, swashbuckling style.

I've heard that 4.Ng5 is not quite correct, but clearly every Two Knights player needs to be booked up on those lines, since they are very very tricky...

Feb-28-03  Spitecheck: For those interested in the Two Knights defence, check out Tim Harding's archives at the Oh and Van der Wiel v Spassky in some Italian tournie if you can find it.
Mar-01-03  dippel: If White plays 4.Ng5 the "duffer's move" as
Tarrasch called it, Tim Harding recommends the amazing counter-attack, 4 Nxe4!? Have a look here:
Oct-26-03  drukenknight: A nice game that dippel shows here.

Again it seems whites problem is that he is ahead in material and he insists on grabbing more material! Well duh, it's hard enuf in chess to gain material, if you accomplish this and then send your forces out on the same mission what do you think the enemy is busy doing?

I thought 8 Bxd5 was better since it encourages exchanges.

I thought 14 QxR would be okay to trade down.

after 15...Qg3 its obvious black is trying to attack, but how? 16 Rf1 encourages exchanges and it just so happens to stop the next check...


Oct-26-03  John Doe: is that counter-attack completely sound? It doesn't look like it. But then again I don't play against very good players so it should do.
Oct-26-03  Diggitydawg: <John Doe> Yeah it's pretty sound. You can look at the original game here: Reinisch vs Traxler, 1890 DK gave me some good advice about playing out a position before coming to a conclusion about a move. Use the opening explorer and you'll see that black wins over 75% of the games with 5.Bxf2+. The whole idea is to offer up material for an attack on the white K. In the above game, Black should have played 15. Nxg3 to step up the attack on the K. The h-pawn cannot take because QxR+ is mate. The Q cannot take because then the black Q checks at e4, forking the K and R (and it's a mate in 3).
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: Are you saying 4...Bc5 doesn't look sound? I would say it looks utterly insane!! How you can ignore the threat on f7? ANd yet I've heard from good sources that it's 100% sound. Although to play it, you've got to be willing to part with your queen in some lines and go in for a minor-piece mate while the White King wanders the open fields. (See the original game above for merely one example of that kind of play.) Scary stuff!
Oct-26-03  drukenknight: I'm surprised Sneaky is skeptical. Have you guys looked at the w/l/draw record in those lines? I was shocked to see that black is winning in something like 60%....oh wait, a second....

IN this line, where white takes w/ N, Nxf7 black is winning 75% of the time!

1 e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. Ng5 Bc5 5. Nxf7

WHen he takes 5 Bxf7 black is still at 53% or so.

Oct-26-03  drukenknight: Here i pulled out some of my old notes on this, here is an amusing one, worth playing out:

1 e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. Ng5 Bc5 5. Nxf7 Bxf2+ 6 Kxf2 Nxe4+ 7 Kg1 Qh5 8 g3 Nxg3 9 hxg3 Qxg3+ 10 Kf1 Qf5+ 11 Kg2 d5 12 Bxd5 Rf8 12 Bxc6+ bxc6 13 Qh5 g6 14 Nd6+ cxd6 15 Qxh7? Qf2# Aaaaaagh! I hate that.

Okay so it loses, but you can still learn stuff from these miniatures. Look at the pattern formed by the pieces around whites K on about move 12, one can see the basis for a way to defend the K w/ pieces, if white was in that frame of mind, sadly he was not.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: DK I'm not skeptical that ...Bc5 is a good move, I trust the correspondence nuts who say that White can't win against it. I'm just saying it *looks* insane. Win percentages mean absolutely nothing in lines like this: whoever is booked up the best, and is more tactically alert, will win, even if "bad moves" have been played already.
Oct-26-03  drukenknight: you speak the truth.
Jul-05-04  trogdor: Well, it is true that white can get a slight advantage, but that happens in a lot of openings. White can't force a win at all though.
Feb-19-06  MorphyMatt: Beautiful!
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: My favourite move is 12...♖f8. Black ignores the White Knight on h8 in order to gain control of the f-file.
Mar-26-14  SpiritedReposte: Wow odd checkmate. Not sure about Two Knights theory these days but I always hated facing 4. ...d4 5. exd4 Na5!?

Black ends up with the initiative and White is holding on to the pawn for dear life.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: The Traxler is sort of a modern-day Rice Gambit, except it's more an opening of the People rather than the Elite. I do get tired of seeing all those stereotyped attacks, but the mate in this game more than compensates for that.
Apr-24-14  morfishine: Striking Finish! Here's another Italian Game that Black wins in about the same # moves: Michigan vs W Curran, 1876


Apr-24-14  Masterful Artisan: A form of political arrest, the black bureaucratic Knights are acting as the Aldermen, the Rook a mere brute brought along to facilitate the main proceedings. Further, this wonderful game forces us to consciously challenge the changing natures of masculinity and femininity in the modern libertarian West. The final checkmate scene testifies to the reversed position of the Monarch and Marquess, a satiric irony is achieved as they find their traditional roles usurped. The White King is trapped from afar as he cowers in the Queens bedchamber, while the White Queen stands between the invading assailants, but alas to no avail.
Apr-24-14  SpiritedReposte: "Development, not material!"
Apr-24-14  kevin86: A glorious mate! A queen is sacrificed so that a pair of steed can mate, aided by a pinning rook on the adverse queen.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <Masterful Artisan> Interesting ... do you have more of these quasi-political tactical analyses?
Apr-24-14  psmith: 14. Qxf8+! is better.

Lovely mate at the end, though.

Apr-24-14  stingray0104: black, still facing (just about) white's entire army, mates with his last 3 pieces.
Aug-16-14  ColeTrane: ouch yozer
Mar-08-23  Gaito: While theoretically it might be said that the Traxler is not altogether sound, in practice it gives Black good results, especially in rapid games or blitz, just because attacking is easier than defending for most players. Many players love to attack, but defend poorly. In addition it has a psychological added value: if White has played 4.Ng5, it is a sign that he intends to attack, but you turn the tables with 4...Bc5!?, and then it is Black who will be attacking and White will have to defend accurately.
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