Members · Prefs · Collections · Openings · Endgames · Sacrifices · History · Search Kibitzing · Kibitzer's Café · Chessforums · Tournament Index · Players · Kibitzing

register now - it's free!
Wilhelm Steinitz vs Henry Edward Bird
"Cuckoo Bird" (game of the day Mar-20-14)
London m (1866)  ·  French Defense: Rubinstein Variation (C10)  ·  1-0
To move:
Last move:

Click Here to play Guess-the-Move
Given 169 times; par: 16 [what's this?]

explore this opening
find similar games 31 more Steinitz/Bird games
PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

TIP: If you missed a Game of the Day, you can review the last year of games at our Game of the Day Archive.

PGN Viewer:  What is this?
For help with the default chess viewer, please see the Pgn4web Quickstart Guide.

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 5 OF 5 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Premium Chessgames Member
  thomastonk: <ajax333221: did this game actually happened?> Yes, it was part of match.

But why you are disappointed: it was Bird who lost. He was an amateur player who had a longer break from chess, and when the match was stopped (because of Bird's urgent business reasons) he was only slightly behind his strong opponent (+5, -7, =5).

Mar-22-12  SAM WOLFE: It might be possible for Black to survive after 4...Nf6 5.Nxf6+,Qxf6, and maybe even to have a reasonably playable game, but I think 4...Be7 followed by 5...Nf6 would have spared him a lot of problems. Black's key error was in failing to defend f6 properly before he put a knight onto it;protecting f6 with the Q was a bad idea.
May-28-12  LoveThatJoker: Guess-the-Move Final Score:

Steinitz vs Bird, 1866.
Your score: 15 (par = 17)


Jul-09-12  The Last Straw: I think 8...Qg4 gets a question mark.
Mar-21-13  ACEchess: True. 6...h6 was required to prevent 7.♗g5.
Premium Chessgames Member
  PawnSac: <The Last Straw: I think 8...Qg4 gets a question mark.>

Lets put it this way..
After Qg4 the queen is lost. Qa5+ instead gave black a little more squirming room, but the error came on move 6. Black had to play either Qd8 or h6

May-11-13  Mendrys: My guess is that when he decided on 8...Qg4 Bird had expected or considered 10. Rg2 Qxh3 instead of the text. In this case he may be doing fine, at least according to Houdini but I would not be feeling the least bit comfortable being up 2 pawns in this position:

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  Zhbugnoimt: Bird got creamed! Really a terrible game for him
Premium Chessgames Member
  Zhbugnoimt: Nice how he got his queen trapped so early on
Sep-27-13  tuskerking: miniature or mikniestature :D
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: There's a famous quote from Bird that goes something like this: "Place the contents of the chessboard into your hat, shake thoroughly, drop them onto the chessboard from a height of two feet--and you have the style of Steinitz."

Much the same could be said for the mind of Bird. Some days, he could produce games of great artistry and power. Other days, he goes into the weird and wonderful byways nobody else dares to explore. He may come out on his shield rather than carrying it, but but it's always fascinating.

And some days he just plays like a total beginner.

i would be willing to believe he played 11...Nxd4 deliberately to set up the cute finish. There seems little other reason to prolong the game for even a single move.

And just to highlight the Enigma that is Bird, he won the next two games of the match: Bird vs Steinitz, 1866 and Steinitz vs Bird, 1866. Go figure.

Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: Although I have never had any respect for 3...dxe4 in the French, objectively the first truly bad move was 4...Nf6?; 5.Nxf6!,Qxf6; 6.Nf3, and the results in the CG database support my contention.
Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: One of the great mysteries of the universe, right up there with Easter Island, Stonehenge and the Pyramids, is how such poor chess games like this get selected for "Game of The Day"


Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: I think the clue here is the date. This was played in 1866 when the French defence was barely 32 years old. It was first played seriously in 1834 in a correspondence game between Paris and London - hence the name.

When this game was played in 1866, Players of the black pieces were still experimenting with ways to meet each of the main white moves after 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5.

We also need to remember that Akiba Rubinstein who did much to popularise and develop the 4. Nxe4 line (aka the Rubinstein variation) wasn't born until 1882 and didn't learn how to play chess until 1898.

In other words, this game is Racquel Welch in a deer skin bikini in One Million Years BC, it's a Ford Model T, it's Harold Lauder or Charlie Chaplin. It's one of Thomas Edison's less successful light bulb prototypes.

It's a little bit of 'istory. Of course, today we can scoff about black not knowing that that the Rubinstein doesn't really sit well with early queen moves by black, but that would be a bit like criticising Star Trek for not predicting the internet.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Castleinthesky: Very nice miniature-"A Bird On A Wire"?
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Bird-brained opening.
Mar-20-14  ndg2: Lol, I had exactly the same position after 6.Nf3 last Sunday. I played 6..h6 though to prevent the bishop move to g5.

Still very bad position for black, I was lucky to get a draw.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <ndg2> I used to find that the Rubinstein French was easier (and safer) to play as black if you play 4...Nd7 before 5...Ngf6.
Premium Chessgames Member
  fm avari viraf: One that flew away from the "Cuckoo's Nest".
Mar-20-14  ndg2: < <once><ndg2> I used to find that the Rubinstein French was easier (and safer) to play as black if you play 4...Nd7 before 5...Ngf6.> Certainly true. I somehow forgot theory and feared 5.Ng5 after 4...Nd7, which is of course nonsense.
Mar-20-14  Sho: Once again, correct: Racquel Welch...deer-skin bikini.
Mar-20-14  celtrusco: It was a bad day to play chess for someone, who was a very strong player. In somehow, this kind of games makes me feel a bit better in front of my mistakes. And I say me:-"I'm not the only one".
Mar-20-14  Gottschalk: Bad game. Bird blundered here!
Steinitz was a great tactician and bequeathed magnificent games. Is incedible how some people might choose this as one of his best
Jun-17-14  unrankedandmisfiled: Why does Black not simply block the White bishop check with his pawn, his own white-square bishop, or take the white-square bishop with his remaining Knight?
Premium Chessgames Member
  greed and death: <unrankedandmisfiled: Why does Black not simply block the White bishop check with his pawn, his own white-square bishop, or take the white-square bishop with his remaining Knight?> After 12... Nc6, 13. Qd8#

After 12... Bd7, 13. Bxd7+ Kxd7 14. Qxd4+ Bd6 (not Ke8? 15. Rd1 Bd6 16. Qxg7 or 14... Kc8?? 15. Qd8#) white can force a trade of bishops black has two rooks agains a rook, a queen, and a knight.

After 12... c6 (black's best move) 13. Qxd4 f6 (preventing Qd8#) 14. Bxf6 gxf6 15. Qxf6 Bb4+ 16. c3 Rf8 blacks position is still lost, although it will take longer for white to win.

Jump to page #    (enter # from 1 to 5)
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 5 OF 5 ·  Later Kibitzing>

A free online guide presented by
NOTE: You need to pick a username and password to post a reply. Getting your account takes less than a minute, totally anonymous, and 100% free--plus, it entitles you to features otherwise unavailable. Pick your username now and join the chessgames community!
If you already have an account, you should login now.
Please observe our posting guidelines:
  1. No obscene, racist, sexist, or profane language.
  2. No spamming, advertising, or duplicating posts.
  3. No personal attacks against other members.
  4. Nothing in violation of United States law.
  5. No posting personal information of members.
Blow the Whistle See something that violates our rules? Blow the whistle and inform an administrator.

NOTE: Keep all discussion on the topic of this page. This forum is for this specific game and nothing else. If you want to discuss chess in general, or this site, you might try the Kibitzer's Café.
Messages posted by Chessgames members do not necessarily represent the views of, its employees, or sponsors.
Spot an error? Please submit a correction slip and help us eliminate database mistakes!
This game is type: CLASSICAL (Disagree? Please submit a correction slip.)

Featured in the Following Game Collections [what is this?]
joniefidelino's favorite games
by joniefidelino
diya kapur's favorite games
by diya kapur
French Rubinstein Var (C10) 1-0 Q gets snarred pawn grabbing
from Trapped Units, Q Sacs, Dble Sacs by fredthebear
from PLEIADESBOX1's favorite games by PLEIADESBOX1
Quick games
by Hugo pawn
Best Games of All Time
by dull2vivid
vinodmenonk's favorite games
by vinodmenonk
Rubinstein Variation.
from MKD's French Defense by MKD
Bird plays the French defense
from Special Games Part 3 by Brit
French defense
by Polihistor
19th Century
by rea
ahmed883's favorite games
by ahmed883
Isamaru's favorite games
by Isamaru
12 moves
from French Disasters by cappanegra
Queen Trap
by Trephine
traps and queen sacs by maheshml
by maheshml
allam's favorite games
by allam
French Rubinstein Var (C10) 1-0 Q gets snarred pawn grabbing
from Fight or Flight: Let's Test Their Metal by fredthebear
by Imaginator
Game collection: old
by tomo6
plus 53 more collections (not shown)

home | about | login | logout | F.A.Q. | your profile | preferences | Premium Membership | Kibitzer's Café | Biographer's Bistro | new kibitzing | chessforums | Tournament Index | Player Directory | World Chess Championships | Opening Explorer | Guess the Move | Game Collections | ChessBookie Game | Chessgames Challenge | Store | privacy notice | advertising | contact us
Copyright 2001-2016, Chessgames Services LLC
Web design & database development by 20/20 Technologies