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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
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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 5 OF 5 ·  Later Kibitzing>
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:

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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.
Mar-20-14  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?
Aug-06-14  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.

Oct-23-16  KIDHarish2003: nice game
Oct-23-16  morfishine: What the flock was Bird thinking?????


Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Bird, like his avian counterpart, was just a big sack of @#$%.
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