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Ruy Lopez, Bird's Defense (C61)
1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 Nd4

Number of games in database: 681
Years covered: 1851 to 2019
Overall record:
   White wins 48.3%
   Black wins 24.4%
   Draws 27.3%

Popularity graph, by decade

Explore this opening  |  Search for sacrifices in this opening.
PRACTITIONERS
With the White Pieces With the Black Pieces
Efim Geller  6 games
Simon Winawer  5 games
Garry Kasparov  5 games
Henry Edward Bird  24 games
Viktor Kupreichik  19 games
Jiri Jirka  19 games
NOTABLE GAMES [what is this?]
White Wins Black Wins
S Pencil vs G Goltsoff, 1976
Kasparov vs Khalifman, 2002
Kasparov vs A Roizman, 1978
Anderssen vs M Lange, 1859
V Kahn vs Hartlaub, 1916
S Boden vs Bird, 1873
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 page 1 of 28; games 1-25 of 681  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Anderssen vs Dufresne 0-1131851BerlinC61 Ruy Lopez, Bird's Defense
2. H Kennedy vs Staunton 0-1541856LondonC61 Ruy Lopez, Bird's Defense
3. Owen / Barnes vs Staunton  0-1321858London m6C61 Ruy Lopez, Bird's Defense
4. Anderssen vs M Lange 0-1191859AnalysisC61 Ruy Lopez, Bird's Defense
5. R Lichtenscheidt vs M Rossy  0-1551863WSB-03.Kongress prelC61 Ruy Lopez, Bird's Defense
6. G Schnitzler vs C W Vitzthum von Eckstaedt  0-1441864WSB-04.KongressC61 Ruy Lopez, Bird's Defense
7. De Vere vs Bird 1-0431866LondonC61 Ruy Lopez, Bird's Defense
8. de Riviere vs E D'Andre ½-½601867ParisC61 Ruy Lopez, Bird's Defense
9. Winawer vs De Vere 1-0211867ParisC61 Ruy Lopez, Bird's Defense
10. S Boden vs Bird 0-1191873LondonC61 Ruy Lopez, Bird's Defense
11. J Wisker vs Bird 1-0431873London m1C61 Ruy Lopez, Bird's Defense
12. S Boden vs Bird / Dobell 0-1201873LondonC61 Ruy Lopez, Bird's Defense
13. J Wisker vs Bird 1-0271873London m4C61 Ruy Lopez, Bird's Defense
14. Gelbfuhs vs Bird 0-1651873ViennaC61 Ruy Lopez, Bird's Defense
15. Anderssen vs Bird 1-0311873ViennaC61 Ruy Lopez, Bird's Defense
16. Anderssen vs Blackburne 0-1311873ViennaC61 Ruy Lopez, Bird's Defense
17. M Fleissig vs Blackburne 1-0331873ViennaC61 Ruy Lopez, Bird's Defense
18. H Hosmer vs H Kennicott 1-02918743rd American Chess CongressC61 Ruy Lopez, Bird's Defense
19. H Davidson vs J Mason  0-16118764th American Chess CongressC61 Ruy Lopez, Bird's Defense
20. H Davidson vs Bird 0-12518764th American Chess CongressC61 Ruy Lopez, Bird's Defense
21. J Elson vs Bird ½-½3818764th American Chess CongressC61 Ruy Lopez, Bird's Defense
22. E Schallopp vs E Flechsig  1-0591877LeipzigC61 Ruy Lopez, Bird's Defense
23. Winawer vs C T Goering 1-0371877LeipzigC61 Ruy Lopez, Bird's Defense
24. Englisch vs C T Goering  0-1601877LeipzigC61 Ruy Lopez, Bird's Defense
25. Anderssen vs W Paulsen  1-0521877LeipzigC61 Ruy Lopez, Bird's Defense
 page 1 of 28; games 1-25 of 681  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 5 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Aug-12-04  Helloween: Spassky vs Barua, 1987 Is my favorite Bird Defence slaughter. Spassky plays a beautiful mating attack and ignores Black's "threats".
Aug-12-04
Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: <Helloween> Thanks! What a scorcher! But White seems to have better play with 6. Bc4 than 6. Ba4, then can choose d3 or c3 as per taste. Here Black never gets out of the opening = Short vs B Kimber, 1975
Aug-12-04  myratingstinks: I would never have the nerve of Spassky in that circumstance.
Aug-12-04  Helloween: <tpstar> I believe you are referring to the 5...c6 variation, when 6.Bc4 is in fact better than 6.Ba4, but in the 5...Bc5 variation that Barua played against Spassky, 7.Ba4 is actually the main line and is better than 7.Bc4. White's semi-closed structure of d3-e4-f4 with a Kingside attack is very powerful.
Aug-12-04  Shah Mat: i dont see whats so bad about this opening. yah yah doubled pawns, moving same piece twice yakayakayaka. Playing mechanically is for beginners who don't know that those axioms are guidelines, NOT hard and fast rules. only difference with this defense is that black decides when and he wants to double his pawns rather than worrying about white transposing into Ruy Lopez exchage. and even if he does double his pawns, hes got a pawn right in whites craw for awhile.
Aug-14-04  Helloween: <only difference with this defense is that black decides when and he wants to double his pawns> I wouldn't consider Black's doubled pawns to be a problem at all in this opening. I'd consider his horrible lag in development and White's excellent piece activity and attacking chances the main problem.
Aug-15-04  tintin: I have decided that my last post was incorrect, and i disagree with most of you who are bagging this out. For the last 5 games i have played this with i have scored 3.5. Therefore, for me, this opening is fairly good.My opponents were all around my standard or better as well. For players of a higher standard, perhaps not though. From my experience, the doubled pawns are an asset (good promotion possibilities), and i have never experienced any problems coming from bad development or piece activity, and it most of my games i got in a decent attack before white did. I like this opening because you make whites B b5 pretty pointless. All these supposed problems you guys are pointing also depend on what lines you play, and what playing style you have. I just thought i would stick up for the Bird, one of the two defenses to the Ruy Lopez in my opening repetoir, the other being the Schielmann.
Aug-15-04  HailM0rphy: <titnit> It comes down to "WHY would you play this" Not "You CAN play this" It's the worst 'official' option against the Ruy and it'd make a lot more sense to play somthing like the Morphy variation than somthing that you'd find floating in the sewer
Aug-15-04  ughaibu: The main reason to play it is that it's good fun, here's one I played by internet a while ago: 1.e4 e5 2.Ng1f3 Nb8c6 3.Bf1b5 Nc6d4 4.Nf3xd4 exd4 5.0-0 c6 6.Bb5c4 Ng8f6 7.Rf1e1 d6 8.c3 Nf6g4 9.h3 Ng4e5 10.Bc4b3 d3 11.f4 Qd8h4 12.fxe5 Bc8xh3 13.Re1f1 d5 14.Qd1f3 Bf8c5 15.Rf1f2 Bh3g4 16.Qf3f4 0-0-0 17.exd5 Rh8e8 18.dxc6 Re8xe5 19.cxb7 Kc8xb7
Aug-15-04  tintin: I have no idea who the user you direct your comments to is <HailM0rphy>, however, in response to your comments, firstly, do you think many people will have done much preparation to face the bird compared to the Morphy? Also, people's stlyes of play demand different oppenings. I find this suits me fine. I don't care if you miss out on playing this great defense.
Nov-21-04  ruylopez900: Does anyone have any ideas or tips for removing the annoying d4 pawn black gets? I find the most annoying thing about this opening is how cramped my centre gets. Thanks.
Nov-21-04  drukenknight: dont worry about the pawn, ruy. Usually white gets a strong attack, through the cramped K side. If you use the explorer function on this site, you can pull up lots of games. Often white will get diagonal attackers into the K side and black cannot. ALso check out the gambit style plan for black that I proposed earlier in this thread (I hope the thread is still there).
Nov-22-04  ruylopez900: <druken> Thanks.
Nov-23-04  Poisonpawns: There is a nice Birds game by black! Bacrot vs Morozevich 2004
Nov-23-04  drukenknight: The lost Bird's. Hey I found that Bird's defense w/ 4...c6 that we played here, all the way back in Sept 2002 (see p. 22/23 of Kibitzers Cafe). We didnt have computers in them days. I was black and white is in the capable hands of Sneaky and Pawntificator:

1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. Bb5 Nd4
4. Nxd4 c6
5. Nxc6 dxc6
6. Bc4 Qd4
7. d3 Bc5
8. Be3 Qxb2
9. Nd2 Bxe3
10. fxe3

Only one game in the chesslab database has 4...c6 Delatrie/Gislain corr. 1993 0-1 (I think that is the year).

6...Qd4 is the novelty in our game. Chesslab computer rates our game dead even after 10 moves! Woo hoo, I didnt have benefit of a metal monster then.

So I definitely think Bird's is playable. What say YOU?

Dec-01-04  RisingChamp: I think there are some very dogmatic people with an attitude problem here.it is difficult to explain how an opening can be so denigrated if 2700+ players can be defeated with it.
Dec-01-04  Poisonpawns: Short vs Ivanchuk, 1989 Here is a perfect example of this opening standing the test at super GM level competiton! The Birds Defense is alive and well!
Dec-07-04  tintin: Thankyou <RisingChamp> and <Poisonpawns>! Finally some support for this great defense. Do you guys actually play it like i do, or just think it is playable. What do you play (or suggest) after 4.Ba4?
Dec-08-04  Poisonpawns: <tintin> 4.Ba4 in Birds Ruy lopez is nothing to worry about.Reti vs Spielmann, 1913 Black is = immediately and can play for a better game. There are other examples but this is the one that set it off!
Dec-23-04  tintin: Thanks again <Poisonpawns>. What do you guys think about e4 e5 nf3 nc6 bb5 nd4 bc4 h5 ?! I have looked at a few lines after nxe5 qg5 and i mostly come out better. What do you guys think?
Dec-24-04  Poisonpawns: G Marco vs Bird, 1895 There are a few games with this h5 idea arising at different points, there are a few on this site. When white plays 4.Bc4 just play Bc5. 4.h5 is too early in white has not even castled yet.5.Nxe5 is an error on whites behalf so dont expect that move from strong players. White will play 5.Nxd4 here and black is ok but his early h5,and the doubled d pawns may be too much of a weakness to handle later in the game.There is a book on the birds authored by a correspondence Gm Gheorge Rotariu, if you really wish to learn this defense this is the book to get, it is by S1 editrice correspondence chess yearbook.
Dec-25-04
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: drukenknight, in your 4...c6 line, how well does 6.Be2,Qd4; 7.d3,Bc5; 8.0-0 work? Or if you prefer development, 7.0-0,Qxe4; 8.Nc3.
Dec-25-04  tintin: I am not too good a good player by any standards, but yet i managed to beat the Bird profile on Chessmaster 9000 using the h5 line as black! He took the pawn. Even the lines where white doesn't play Nxe5 black turns out fairly well. However, i still don't think that i will play it in a comp or rated game yet. Merry Xmas to all.
Dec-25-04  tintin: By the way, as i can't afford premium membership, i can't find games in certain lines myself. Also the book you suggest <Poisonpawns> is not in my local chess shop. :(
Dec-25-04  tintin: Also, the game you give is not actually the exact line that i give, changing the whole position.
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