The Traxler Trap is a tactic that occurs in the Two Knights Defense, a chess opening that starts with the moves 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6. The trap is named after the Czech player Wilhelm Traxler, who was the first to demonstrate its effectiveness in the late 19th century.
The trap occurs when Black plays the move 5…Ng4, threatening to capture the white pawn on e4 with the knight. White, in turn, may play 6.h3, allowing Black to capture the pawn with 6…Nxe4. However, Black’s knight is now exposed to attack and White can play 7.Ng5, attacking the knight and forcing Black to capture the pawn with their king, leaving the king exposed to attack.
The main refutation to the Traxler Trap is the move 6.d4, which allows white to keep the pawn and open the center, making it difficult for Black to attack the white king. This move is considered safer and more solid than the move 6.h3, and it’s a preferred move by many grandmasters. Another refutation to the Traxler trap is 6.h3 d5, 7.exd5 Nxd5 8.Nxe5 and the knight is not hanging anymore.