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
a8 white queen
g7 white king
e5 black king
e4 white knight
f4 white knight
f3 black pawn
f2 white pawn
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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