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Henry Edward Bird vs Ernst Falkbeer
London (1856), 7
Bird Opening: Sicilian Bird (A02)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Oct-27-05  who: After 28.Nxe6 Fritz thinks white's advantage is overwhelming. 28.Nxe6

28...fxg5 29.Bxf5 where white has all sorts of discovered threats, and a trade of queens is coming.

28...Qxe6 29.fxe6 Rh8 (29...Kf7 30.Bxf5 Qc6 31.Rh2) 30.f7+ Kxf7 31.Rxf5 freeing f2 as an escape route for the king.

Oct-27-05  EmperorAtahualpa: 28.Nxe6 is difficult to see though. I'm loving this game by the way! High aesthetic value.
Dec-28-05  nsteinme: 29. f7+? How about 29. Bb5+ instead? Looks like it wins the queen to me, with a cost of maybe both bishops - is there any refutation?
Premium Chessgames Member
  akiba82: <nsteinme> If 29. Bb5+ Kf7 30.Qd4 then 31...Rg5+ and eventually Rh8#. White can only delay three moves by interposing pieces which get taken. Black was the originator of the Falkbeer Countergambit, so you know he was full of tricks!
Apr-01-08  Knight13: <4...Bh4+> This move is done to provoke g3, weakening White's king. But did Falkbeer really did it for this reason? It wasn't the era of positional play.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: After 32.Bxd2...

click for larger view

... the position looks level and it is not immediately obvious that white is totally lost. Hook, line and sinker!

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <offramp>: Not sure why; my impression on looking at the diagram would be that White's king position is rather airy and I would be seeking ways and means of exploiting that circumstance.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Black begins with 32...Kh7+ and then the odd thing is that black threatens the simple ...Rc5 and ...Rh5 mate, and the black bishop controls the crucial f3 square so preventing a rook interposition on h3. That same dastardly bishop also prevented 33.Kh1.

This is a really good game: I am baffled by Bird's totally irrational 31.Bg6+.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <Me: I am baffled by Bird's totally irrational 31.Bg6+.>

I was a bit harsh, there. This is the position after Falkbeer played 30...♕d4x♕d2:

click for larger view

White would prefer to play 31.Bg5xd2, but of course he can't because the bishop is pinned. But if he plays the only other recapture, 31.Rf2xd2, then 31...Rg8xg5+...

click for larger view

...causes real problems. The ♗f5 is lost and there are mate threats as well.

So Bird came up with an inventive idea; an interference. He played, in that first diagram, 31.Bg6 double check. Black cannot capture with the rook, as it is double check. So he plays 31...Kxg6 and now the ♗g5 is NOT pinned and can recapture: 32.Bxd2.

The trouble is that after just a few moves,

click for larger view

...white cannot reasonably prevent checkmate. That bishop on b7 is very powerful.

But in that first diagram, before Bg6+, Bird DID have a viable defence. Can you see what it is? This is a two-star problem.

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