The Wilkes-Barre/Traxler Variation
Karel Traxler (1866-1936) was a Roman Catholic priest and Czech chess master best known for the Traxler Variation of the Two Knights Defense (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 Bc5). He first played it in 1890. Around 1920, members of the Wilkes-Barre Chess Club (headed by Ken Williams and John Menovsky) in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania started analyzing this variation. Analysis, under the heading of The Wilkes-Barre Variation, appeared in Chess Review magazine in 1934, written by John Menovsky. The opening itself can be traced back to Greco’s time in the 1600s.
Here are a few of my games with this variation and some early games.
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 Bc5
5.Bxf7+ [perhaps better than the more common 5.Nxf7] 5…Ke7 6.Bb3 [6.Bd5] 6…Rf8 [6…Qe8] 7.O-O [7.f4] 7…h6 8.Nf3 d6 [8…Ng4] 9.Nc3 [9.c3] 9…Bg4 10.h3 Bh5 11.d3?! [11.Bc4] 11…Nd4 [11…Qc8] 12.g4 Nxb3 13.axb3 Nxg4 Pio-Wall, Internet 1996
5.Bxf7+ Kf8 6.Bb3 d5 7.O-O h6 8.exd5 hxg5 9.dxc6 e4 10.d3 Qd6 11.g3 Bg4 12.cxb7 Rb8 13.Qd2 Qxg3 14.hxgf3 Bf3 0-1, MacMurray-Kussman, NY 1937
5.Nxf7 Qe7 [5…Bxf2+] 6.Nxh8 Bxf2+ [6…Qf8; 6…Nxe4 7.Qh5+ g6 8.Nxg6] 7.Kxf2 Nxe4+ [7…Qc5+] 8.Ke1?! [8.Kf1] 8…Qh4+ 9.g3 [9.Ke2?? Qf2+ 10.Kd3 Nb4+ 11.Kxe4 Qf4 mate] 9…Nxg3 10.Bf7+? [10.hxg3 Qxh1+ 11.Bf1 Nd4] 10…Ke7 11.Kf2 Ne4+ 12.Ke3 Qf2+ 13.Kxe4 d5+ 14.Kd3 e4+ 15.Kc3 Qc5+ 16.Kb3 Qb4 mate. Ellena-Wall, San Antonio 1979
5.Nxf7 Bxf2+ 6.Ke2 Nd4+ 7.Kd3? [7.Kf1] 7…b5! 8.Bb3 [8.Nxd8 bxc4+ 9.Kxc4 Ba6+] 8…Nxe4 9.Nxd8 Nc5+ 10.Kc3 Ne2+ 11.Qxe2 Bd4+ 12.Kb4 a5+ 13.Kxb5 Ba6+ 14.Kxa5 Bd3+ 15.Kb4 Na6+ 16.Ka4 Nb4+ 17.Kxb4 c5 mate Reinisch-Traxler, Hostoun 1890
5.Nxf7 Bxf2+ 6.Kf1 Qe7 7.Nxh8 [7.d3? Rf8 8.Bg5? [8.Kxf2 d5] 8…Bb6 [8…b5 9.Bd5 Nxd5] 9.c3? [9.Nc3] 9…Rxf7 [or 9…Na5!] 10.Bxf7+ Qxf7 with advantage for Black. Wolford-Wall, Dayton 1982] 7…d5 [7…Bb6 8.Bf7+ Kd8 9.d3 Qf8 10.Bb3 Qxh8 11.Bg5 looks good for White, Beginor-Wall, Internet 1998; 7…Qc5 8.d3 Qb6 9.Bb3 favors White, Schmo-Wall, Internet 2000] 8.Bxd5?? [8.exd5 Bg4 9.Be2 Bxe2+ 10.Qxe2 and White is winning. Katsampes-Wall, San Antonio 1996; 8.Qf3 Bh4 9.Bb5?! Bg4 10.Qb3? Nxe4 11.Be2 Bxe2+ 12.Kxe2 Nd4+ 0-1. Hothead-Wall, Internet 1996] 8…Bg4 and Black wins. Murtaugh-Wall, Okinawa 1972
5.Nxf7 Bxf2+ 6.Kf1 Qe7 7.Nxh8 d5 8.exd5 Nd4 9.c3 Bg4 10.Qa4 Nd7 11.Kxf2 Qh4 12.Ke3 Qg5 13.Kf2 Qf5 14.Kg1 O-O-O 15.cxd4 Rf8 16.h3 Qf2 17.Kh2 Bxh3 18.Kxh3 g5 0-1, Mikiska-Traxler, Corr. 1896. This game was first published by Schlechter and was included in the 8th edition of Bilguer’s “Handbuch.”
5.Nxf7 Bxf2+ 6.Kxf2 Nxe4+ 7.Ke1? Qh4 8.g3 [8.Ke2 Qf2+ 9.Kd3 Nb4+ 10.Kxe4 Qf4 mate Qwaserdf-Wall, Internet 1998] 8…Nxg3 9.Rg1 [9.Nxh8 Ne4+ 10.Ke2 Qf2+ 11.Kd3 Nc5+ 12.Lc3 Qd4 mate.
Idaman-Wall, Internet 1996] 9…Nf5+ [or 9…Ne4+] and Black wins. Tsteeb-Wall, Internet 1996.
5.Nxf7 Bxf2+ 6.Kxf2 Nxe4+ 7.Ke2? Qh4 8.Nxh8?? [8.Qe1] 8…Qf2+ 9.Kd3 Nb4 10.Kxe4 Qf4 mate. Breh-Wall, Internet 1996.
5.Nxf7 Bxf2+ 6.Kxf2 Nxe4+ 7.Ke3 Qh4 Qe7 8.Kxe4 [8.Nxh8 d5 9.Bxd5? (9.Qh5+) 9…Qc5+ 10.d4 Qxd5 and Black wins. Unixcow-Wall, Internet 1997] 8…d5 9.Bxd5 Qh4 10.g4 Bxg4 11.Qe1 Bf5 12.Kf3 Nd4 13.Kg2 Bh3 14.Kg1 Qxe1 mate K. Williams – Haegg, Los Angeles 1928
5.Nxf7 Bxf2+ 6.Kxf2 Nxe4+ 7.Ke3 Qh4 8.g3 [8.Qf3?! Ng5 9.Nxg5 Qxg5+ with advantage for Black. DJP-Wall, Internet 1996] 8…Nxg3 9.hxg3 Qd4+ 10.Kf3 d5 11.Nxh8? [11.Kg2] 11…Bg4+ and Black wins. Gameboy-Wall, Internet 1996.
5.Nxf7 Bxf2+ 6.Kxf2 Nxe4+ 7.Kf1?! Qh4 [8…Rf8 9.Ke1?? Qh4+ 10.Kd3 Nc5+ 11.Kc3 Qd4 mate. Hacker-Wall, Internet 2001] 8.Qf3? [8.Qe1 Ng3+ 9.Qxg3 Qxc4+] 8…Ng3+ [or 8…Nd4!]. Rblecter-Wall, Internet 1996
5.Nxf7 Bxf2+ 6.Kxf2 Nxe4+ 7.Kg1 Qe7 [7…Qh4] 8.Nxh8 Qc5+ 9.d4 Qxc4 10.Qf3 [10.c3] 10…Nxd4 11.Qf7+? [11.Qh5+ Kf8 12.Nc3] 11…Qxf7 12.Nxf 7 Nxc2 13.Nxe5?! Nxe1 with advantage for Black. Sanchez-Wall, SC 1970
5.Nxf7 Bxf2+ 6.Kxf2 Nxe4+ 7.Kg1 Qh4 8.g3 [8.Nxh8?? Qf2 mate] 8…Nxg3 9.d4? [9.Nxh8; 9.Qe1? Qxc4 10.Nxe5 Ne2+ 11.Kf2 O-O+ 0-1, Paperino-Wall, Internet 1996] 9…Ne4 10.Be3 Rf8 [10…exd4! 11.Nxh8 dxe3 is best] . Katsampes-Wall, San Antonio 1994.
5.Nxf7 Bxf2+ 6.Kxf2 Nxe4+ 7.Kg1 Qh4 8.Qf1 Rf8 9.d3 Nd6 10.Nxd6 cxd6 11.Qe2 Nd4 12.Qd2 Qg4 13.h3 Nf3 14.Kf2 Nxd2 0-1. Soyko-Thoth, Vienna 1948