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Henry Edward Bird vs Berthold Englisch
"Oh, Henry!" (game of the day Jul-13-2005)
London (1883), London ENG, rd 3, Apr-30
Italian Game: Bird's Attack (C53)  ·  1/2-1/2


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  Sally Simpson: Neither were English.

Henry Bird was Scottish..... He was born in Skye.


Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: The stalemate sacrifice with 41...Rh1+!, which solves today's Thursday puzzle, is fascinating.

But for me it's an even more interesting puzzle when you back it up a couple of moves to White's 39th move (39. ?) (diagram below):

click for larger view

Here Bird played 39. Rxe8!? when 39...Rxe8?? 40. Nxf6! loses quickly.

Instead after the saving in-between move 39...Rh5+!, the line 40. Kg1 Rxe8 41. Nxf6 leading up to our Thursday puzzle position (41...?) is forced.

P.S.: Fritz somewhat spoils the beautiful finish by avoiding 39. Rxe8!? and recommending the technically best 39. Ne3 (+0.87 @ 24 depth, Deep Fritz 14).

Earlier in the game, White could have won with 32. Qh5! Qe3 33. Qxg4+ Qg5 34. Qe6+ Kh8 35. Qe7 (+2.45 @ 25 depth, Deep Fritz 14).

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: It's been a while since the last endgame puzzle (also since the last puzzle where one side aims to draw).

A couple of lines came to my head.

The first one was 41...Rh1+ 42.Kh1 Re1+ 43.Kf2, and I'm not sure what's next (I wasn't paying attention to stalemate).

Also there's 41...Rg5 42.Nxe8 Rxg3, and if that g-pawn is somehow won, it's going to be a draw. Of course, 41...Rg5 42.Rh7# 1-0.

The ideal position is 41...Re1+ 42.Kf2 Rhe5, all is saved (except for the king).

On a side note, I've seen I've been here before, as I was about to add this game to my collection of stalemates, but I already have (probably many years ago).

Jul-30-15  saturn2: @FSR After 41...Re1+ 42.Kf2 Rhh1, White should be able to hold the draw without much trouble after 43.Ra8+ Kg7 44.Ne8+. I'd rather be Black, but I don't think he has many winning chances.

It was also my opinion. But white can go a different way 43: Rh7+ Rxh7 (forced) 44KxRe1 . Its an endgame R vs N+2P and should be good for white. (The pawn g3 can be protected by the knight.)

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <saturn2> As <Cheapo by the Dozen> pointed out, after 41...Re1+ 42.Kf2 Rhh1 43.Rh7+?? Rxh7 44.Nxh7, 44...Re5! wins. So White <must> play 43.Ra8+! Kg7 and now either 44.Ne8+ or 44.Nh5+.
Premium Chessgames Member
  LucB: <Sally Simpson: Neither were English. Henry Bird was Scottish..... He was born in Skye.


That one went way above my head.


Jul-30-15  Imran Iskandar: Thanks, <Abdel Irada>!
Jul-30-15  CHESSTTCAMPS: <FSR: <saturn2> As <Cheapo by the Dozen> pointed out, after 41...Re1+ 42.Kf2 Rhh1 43.Rh7+?? Rxh7 44.Nxh7, 44...Re5! wins. So White <must> play 43.Ra8+! Kg7 and now either 44.Ne8+ or 44.Nh5+.> Hold it, after 43.Rh7+ Rxh7, don't we have simply 44.Kxe1?
Jul-30-15  saturn2: @FSR cant white play 44 KxRe1 instead of 44NxRh7?
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: White is about to win a rook...but succumbs to a threepenny stalemate trap. easy as a Monday puzzle!

The rooks wave bye-bye as the king is stalemated!

Jul-30-15  shivasuri4: <saturn2>, yes, that holds for White comfortably.
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: <offramp: Two players but only one is English.>

The other is a bird?

Jul-30-15  Nosnibor: According to the tournament book every one in the room spectating this game thought the finish amusing except Mr.Bird,
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Bad Englisch>
Jul-30-15  Tiggler: Black draws in three moves: Rh1+; Kxh1 Re1+; Kh2 Rh1+; Kxh1 stalemate.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <CHESSTTCAMPS> <saturn2> Woops! You are right - in that line, 44.Kxe1! holds easily. In light of that, 41...Re1+ 42.Kf2 Rhh1 doesn't give Black real winning chances.
Jul-30-15  dfcx: Black's rooks are being forked by the knight. The black king can't move.

In order to save the rooks or game, the choices are

1. trade a rook
2. check
3. stalemate

There is no way to trade the rook right now, so check first

41...Re1+ 42.Kf2

this does not work

41...Rh1+ 42.Kxh1 Re1+ 43.Kh2 Rh1+ 44.Kxh1 stalemate!

If white plays 42.Kf2? Rf8 wins for black

Jul-30-15  chespir: Re1+ followed by Rf5+ is a theoretical draw too.
Jul-30-15  mruknowwho: Couldn't Black try to win with 41...Re1+ 42. Kf2 Rhh1 (threatening Rhf1#)? If White tries 43. g4??, then 43...Ref1+ wins the knight. So the only way White can prevent losing is by 43. Rh7+!, which leaves him off with a knight and two pawns against a Black rook. Does the game draw anyway?
Jul-30-15  gars: Many years ago I read a small book by Fred Reinfeld in which he stated that Englisch liked drawing his games more than winning them. Is it true? This book was published at the "Colección Escaques" by Martinez Roca, Spain
Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: <FSR: <agb2002> As others have previously noted, on 41...Rh1+, 42.Kf2??, Black wins with 42...Rf8! 43.Ra6 Rh6.>

Thank you. It seems I was too attracted by 42... Ree1.

Jul-31-15  ahmadov: Saw this puzzle on facebook and found in a matter of seconds. So I could be a GM in the late 19th century :-)
Jul-25-17  newzild: Edward Winter said that Bird played a game at Hastings that Pillsbury "declared was too beautiful to annotate".

I wonder if this was that game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: <newzild: Edward Winter said that Bird played a game at Hastings that Pillsbury "declared was too beautiful to annotate".

I wonder if this was that game.>

Games that are too beautiful to be annotated should remain a-notated.

Wouldn't the "natural defense" 39. Kh3??? have been the blunder of the century!

May-15-18  Albion 1959: Bird must have been as "sick as a parrot" here? No pun intended!
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