Karel Traxler

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Karel Traxler

Karel Traxler (1866 in Vlachovo Březí – 1936 in Volyně) was a Czech chess master and composer of chess problems.

He is best known for the hyper-aggressive variation named after him, the Traxler Variation in the Two Knights Defense,[1] which was first shown in the following game against Reinisch, played in Hostouň in 1890:

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 Bc5!? 5.Nxf7?! (modern theory suggests that 5.Bxf7+! is better) Bxf2+! 6.Ke2 (Traxler recommends 6.Kf1! Qe7 7.Nxh8 d5 8.exd5 Nd4, where Black has a strong attack but White may nonetheless hold) 6...Nd4+ 7.Kd3? b5! 8.Bb3 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#

Here is his victory over Oldřich Duras in Veselí nad Lužnicí in 1902:

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.c3 Nf6 5.d4 exd4 6.cxd4 Bb4+ 7.Bd2 Bxd2+ 8.Nbxd2 Nxe4 9.d5 Nxd2 10.Qxd2 Nb8 11.d6 O-O 12.Rc1 Nc6 13.dxc7 Qxc7 14.O-O Qa5 15.Qd6 Qb4 16.Bxf7 Rxf7 17.Rxc6 Qxb2 18.Re1 Qf6 19.Qd5 1-0

Because Traxler was a Roman-Catholic priest, he rarely played chess in serious competitions. As a composer of chess problems he pursued the style of Bohemian school. He wrote under a number of pseudonyms: Anonymus z Tábora, Karel Kaplan, Vis Maior und Karel Zboněk.[2] From 1896 to 1899, he edited, in part, the journal České listy šachové (Czech chess letters). He composed over 900 chess problems, mainly 2-, 3- and 4-move problems, but also multiple move ones, and more rarely, selfmates. With his brother-in-law, Jan Kotrč, he published a selection of 247 problems that he'd composed by 1910.[3]

Karel Traxler
Illustrirte Zeitung (Illustrated News), Leipzig, 1906
a b c d e f g h
a8 white queen
g7 white king
e5 black king
e4 white knight
f4 white knight
f3 black pawn
f2 white pawn
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Mate in 3 moves, White to move


1. Qf8! Kxe4
2. Kf6 Kxf4
3. Qb4# Ideal mate

2. … Kd4
3. Qb4# Model mate

1. … Kd4
2. Qe8 Kc4
3. Qa4# Model mate


  1. ^ "The Traxler Counter Attack". ChessBase. 2004-06-13. Retrieved 2009-10-30. 
  2. ^ Anders Thulin: Chess Pseudonyms and Signatures. An Electronic Edition, Malmö, preliminary 22. June 2008 (PDF; 307 kB)
  3. ^ Jan Kotrč and Karel Traxler, Schachprobleme aus den Jahren 1884–1910 [Chess problems from the years 1884-1910] (Vienna, Austria: (self-published), 1910).

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