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Henry Edward Bird vs James Mason
"And this Bird You Cannot Change" (game of the day Oct-04-06)
New York m (1876)  ·  French Defense: Classical. Delayed Exchange Variation (C11)  ·  1-0
To move:
Last move:

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Given 24 times; par: 65 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: "Free Bird" -- Henry B. and Ronnie Van Zandt must both be turning in their graves!

Great choice,

For anyone who has the book (and if you don't have it, what are you waiting for?), this game is annotated in Tartakower and Du Mont's <500 Master Games of Chess>.

Oct-04-06  rookattack: Why doesn't black play 34...Qxa6
Oct-04-06  sneaky pete: If 35... Nxc6 36.Rxe8+ Qxe8 37.Rxc6 Kh7 black should win.

34... Qxa6 35.Nxe7+ Kh7 36.N5g6 .. is very dangerous. The threat is Nxd5 .. with Re1-e8-h8#. 34... Re8 is safer and should refute the attack.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: How about:Mason Jarred...?

What a sad finish for Mr. Mason-even Perry Mason couldn't save his case after: 50...♔g7 51 ♘xe7+ ♔-f8 52 ♘xc8 and white is up a mere two rooks and a knight!! Other moves are even worse-but they do put him out of his misery. 51...♔xh6 52 ♖g6#;or ♔h8 52 ♖xh7#

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jack Kerouac: Charlie Parker,"Who looked like Buddha."
He was also known as 'Bird'.
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: <Gowe>: So, if I follow you, black can draw with 35...Nxc6. That was my conclusion.

Probably black didn't play that because he thought he was winning.

Oct-04-06  blakjak: omg that was one of the most brilliant games i've ever seen. the queen sacrifice, the genius postional play truly a classic
Oct-04-06  WarehouseMan: If I were black, I would of tried:

25. ...Rxe5 26. dxe5 Nf3+

So you've won back the material invested,
doubled whites pawns (at the cost of developing a rook) but you've removed the dangerous knight on e5. Anyone ?

Mar-05-07  Themofro: Beautiful! Strong aggressive play early on in the middle game, the offered rook, the queen sacrifice, the subtle almost gentle play after that point all culminate to make a brilliant game played masterfully by Bird.
Jul-29-07  sanyas: <fred lennox> <TrueFiendish> What are you guys talking about? A mistake is a mistake, and the idea in chess is to try and play good moves, not bad ones, Of course in that sense every move in chess is a risk, a gamble on your own abilities, but if a move loses by force then it is fair to say that you were mistaken in playing it, if there was a better alternative. One must not play bad moves and 'risk' the fact that the opponent may find the correct reply. We cannot blame Bird for missing the tactic, but we cannot advocate the move either, any more than we can advocate Mason's 43...♕e4+ (43...♖e7 was winning). You have to play the best move you can, but if analysis shows you were wrong, you have to take it in good grace. Here for example 29.♕d3 might have been the right move, though even better was 28.f4.

<WarehouseMan> 25...♖xe5 26.dxe5 ♘f3+ 27.♔h1 ♘xe1 28.♘f5 (28.♖xe1 ♕e8 29.♕xe8 ♖xe8 Δ ...g5 holds things up) 28...♕c7 29.♖xe1 ♔h8 30.e6 ♖g8 31.♘xh6 gxh6 32.♕xg8+ ♔xg8 33.e7

Premium Chessgames Member
  Knight13: This game won Bird the Brilliancy Prize in 1876.

Fantastic indeed.

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: It is said that the Brilliancy Prize given for this game was the first ever in chess history.
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: Instead of 52.Nc8, White can mate with 52.Rg6#.
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: Source: CN 1062 Edward Winter, "Chess Explorations", Cadogan 1996
Dec-08-08  eightbyeight: Hey everyone, if 30. ... Qxa5 31. Nxc6?? Qc7+ loses. The correct continuation after 30. ... Qxa5 is 31. Ng6!, winning the knight on e6.
Jan-04-09  WhiteRook48: what a Bird!
May-22-09  WhiteRook48: 50. Ng6+!
Jun-15-09  LaFreak III: like a birdgin..
Premium Chessgames Member
  brankat: Certainly J.Mason could have defended better, but still a wonderful game by H.E.Bird!
Premium Chessgames Member
  wwall: After 50.Ng6+, the sequence would have been 50...Kg7 51.Nxe7+ Kxh6 52.Rg6 mate (not 52.Nxc8 as Andy Soltis pointed out in his Book of Lists, 1st edition, but did not comment on any moves after 50.Ng6+ in the second edition).
Feb-02-11  Whitehat1963: WOW!! What an unbelievable game! What do the Rybka 4s of the world have to say about it, I wonder.
Mar-11-12  reilouco: Mr. Mason missed the winning 29...Bxd4.

He was better than Bird the entire game even though he practically didn't play the any "best moves", only "good moves".

But at 43... Qe4+, he gave away all of his advantage and Houdini calls it a draw.

And at 44...Nh7 he lost the match.

Apr-03-12  Anderssen99: Black wins after: 35....,Nxc6. 36.Rxe8+,Qxe8. 37.Rxc6,a5!! (Overlooked by Tartakover). 38.Rc8!,Qxc8. 39.Ne7+,Kh7!! (Not: 39....,Kf7??. 40.Nxc8,a4. 41.Nd6+!,Kf6. 42.Nb5 preventing the further advance of the "a" pawn and winning easily). 40.Nxc8,a4. 41.Nb6,a3 and White cannot prevent Black from queening his pawn.
Apr-28-12  chessavatar: Impressive line, Anderssen99. The game might still go on after: 38. Ra6 a4. For example, 39. Kg3 Qb8+. 40. Kg4 and the check mate threat by the white rook keeps the black queen freedom restricted.
May-02-12  Anderssen99: Chessavatar, 39. ...,Qb8+ is not compulsory. Black has a better line: 39. ...,Kh7. 40.Ne5,Qc8. 41.Rxa4,Qxc3+. 42.Kg2,Qd2. 43.Nf3,Qf4. 44.Ra3,Qg4+. 45.Kf1,h5. 46.f6.gxf6. 47.Rd3,h4 and Black's win is a matter of time.
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