The Traxler is a variation of the Italian-Two Knights Game. It’s not quite the Fried Liver attack but shares the move Ng5 which also characterises the Fried Liver. It’s one of the first variations beginners learn and is popular as an attacking move at a junior level.

Technically the Fried Liver is 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 (Two Knights) 4. Ng5 d5 5 . exd5 Nxd5 6. Nxf7. You’ll notice that d5 is the response to Ng5 to block the most dangerous elements of the Fried Liver attack.

In the Traxler the first three moves from both sides are the same with white playing Ng5 on move four. But instead of replying with d5 black responds with Bc5. d5 is by far the most common move at professional level but Bc5 is the other possible response and is a counter attack that leads to a fun game. It’s also known as the Wilkes-Barre Variation.

Bxf7+ is then the most common move which wins a pawn but Nxf7 forks the queen and the rook so wins more material but watch out for the counterattack! After Nxf7 black can respond with his own threat of Bxf2+ which is the natural move and white has a choice now of Kxf2 winning a bishop or Kf1. If Kxf2 then Nxe4 with another check and the King should retreat to g1 or he is in trouble.

If the king goes to e2 then Nd4+ and black is winning.

Below is a game I played as black and losing to the Ng5 move.

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. Ng5 Bc5 5. Nxf7 Bxf2+ 6. Kf1 O-O 7. Nxd8+ Kh8 8. Nf7+ Rxf7 9. Bxf7 Ng4 10. Qxg4 d6 11. Qf3 Bd4 12. Be8 d5 13. Qf8#