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The Traxler Counterattack refers to a variation of the Fried Liver played by Black. It is a risky and hyper-modern opening, usually played by medium/low level chess players. It isn't common to see Grandmasters using the Traxler often.

Moves[]

1. e4 e5

2. Nf3 Nc6

3. Bc4 Nf6

4. Ng5 Bc5

If white goes Nf7, wishing to fork the Rook and the Queen, Black will go Bxf2+.

a b c d e f g h
8 a8 rd b8 nd c8 bd d8 qd e8 kd f8 g8 h8 rd 8
7 a7 pd b7 pd c7 pd d7 pd e7 f7 nl g7 pd h7 pd 7
6 a6 b6 nd c6 d6 e6 f6 nd g6 h6 6
5 a5 b5 c5 bd d5 e5 pd f5 g5 h5 5
4 a4 b4 c4 bl d4 xo e4 pl f4 g4 h4 4
3 a3 b3 c3 d3 e3 xo f3 g3 h3 3
2 a2 pl b2 pl c2 pl d2 pl e2 f2 pl g2 pl h2 pl 2
1 a1 rl b1 nl c1 bl d1 ql e1 kl f1 g1 h1 rl 1
a b c d e f g h
The Traxler Counterattack

After which, White might capture the bishop on f2. This causes Black to go Ne4+. White's only decent move after this is Kg1, all others result in a losing position.

After Qh4, white must play g3 in order to prevent their king from being checkmated. Black sacks their knight with Nxg3, and white can either capture with Nxh8 (resulting in a drawn position) or go recapture on g3. The Black Queen goes g3+, forcing the king to go to f1. Black castles O-O or Rf8, and has a good position.

a b c d e f g h
8 a8 rd b8 c8 bd d8 e8 f8 rd g8 kd h8 8
7 a7 pd b7 pd c7 pd d7 pd e7 f7 nl g7 pd h7 pd 7
6 a6 b6 c6 nd d6 e6 f6 xo g6 h6 6
5 a5 b5 c5 d5 e5 pd f5 xo g5 h5 5
4 a4 b4 c4 bl d4 e4 f4 xo g4 h4 4
3 a3 b3 c3 d3 e3 f3 xo g3 qd h3 3
2 a2 pl b2 pl c2 pl d2 pl e2 f2 xo g2 h2 2
1 a1 rl b1 nl c1 bl d1 ql e1 f1 kl g1 h1 rl 1
a b c d e f g h
After Rf8/O-O


If after Qh4, White plays f3, Black can go Nd4, attacking the queen and putting insane pressure on the King.

If the King goes to e3, the Black Queen will still go to h4, aiming for a check on d4. White usually attempts to kick the Queen out with g3, and Black can sacrifice the knight. If it so happens that after the King goes to e3 and then goes d3, kicking out the knight, Black can play Qf4+, and then Qf2 checkmate.

Potential Counters[]

The Traxler Counterattack can be demolished if you know how it works. It can also be countered once Black plays Bc5, and you take the f7 pawn with Bxf7 instead. This comes at less reward, however.

Trivia[]

  • First played in 1890
  • Also called "Wilkes Barre," the person who first "analyzed and published it."
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