Thursday, April 15, 2010

Henry Bird

The creator of the Bird's Opening, Henry Bird was one of the great players of his day and a true chess enthusiast.  He loved the game because he thought of it as a "free fight".  Henry Bird also authored many great chess books.

In the following game, Bird relentlessly pushes his f pawn down his opponent's world champion's throat.

New Orleans, 1866
Ruy Lopez Opening

1. e4, e5
2. Nf3, Nc6
3. Bb5 ......

So far, standard Ruy Lopez opening.

3. ..... Nf6

Usually this move comes later in the Ruy Lopez, but it is completely playable now.

4. d4 .....

This move is so sharp it drifted the game into unclear territory.

4. ..... exd4
5. e5, Ne4
6. Nxd4 .....

A centralized Knight so powerful it cannot be driven away by pawns.

6. ..... Be7
7. 0-0, Nxd4

This move hastens White's development.  Black would have been wise to castle instead.

8. Qxd4, Nc5
9. f4, b6
10. f5, Nb3

The reason for Black's 9th move.  In addition to the fork, he threatens a pin on White's Queen.

11. Qe4, Nxa1
12. f6!, Bc5+
13. Kh1, Rb8

Black defends his Rook and plans to develop his Bishop at b7.

14. e6!! .....

A brilliant move that takes advantage of the pinned Black's d pawn.

14. ..... Rg8
15. Qxh7, Rf8
16. exf7+, Rxf7
17. Re1+, Be7

Forced, it is the only move that does not result in immediate checkmate.

18. Qg8+, Rf8
19. f7 mate.

A beautiful finish.

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