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Emanuel Lasker vs Henry Bird
Lasker - Bird (1890), Liverpool GRB, rd 8, Feb-24
Formation: Hippopotamus (A00)  ·  1-0

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Aug-10-04
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: This is an excellent attack conducted in a very closed position. Bird's terrible 13th move gave Lasker a free hand on the King's side, but look how little space Lasker had for his manouvers! Nonetheless, despite his pieces' tripping over each other, he gets them to work together under difficult circumstances. Moves 15 through 30 show Lasker's genius in closed positions. BTW, is this the earliest example of the Hippopotamus in this database?
Nov-25-05  Pawsome: And a belated good evening to you <Englishman>. Since Tartalower dubbed black's defense "the Hippopotamus" after a trip to the London Zoo, it must have had another name when this game was played. I suspect Louis Paulsen was the first strong player to essay it.
Nov-25-05  Dudley: This is very interesting- the Hippo(what would we do without Tartakower) is still being played by players of the Bird type. I have run into it several times and although I despise it and would never play it, it tries my patience. I think that it is way too defensive and a "come and get me" type of opening. Still, it takes some positional skill to break it down. Probably as good of a chance as any other opening vs. Lasker!
Nov-26-05  Pawsome: It appears I was wrong about the provenance of the Hippo. It was the naming of the orangutang (1. b4) that was inspired by Tartakower's Zoo visit. My apologies. The hippo reached the highest levels when Spassky attempted to confound Petrosian with it in one of their WC matches. (It should be in this database) The name hippo or frog (as I understand it is known in Eastern European circles) seems to stem from the resemblance this configuration bears to the eyes of a subaqueous creature peeking out of the water of some fetid swamp. It was favourite of recently deceased blitz phenom Genrikh Chepukaitis, five time Leningrad and one time St. Petersburg blitz champ. who calls it the Ujtelki Defense after another hippo afficianado, Max Ujtelki. For a fine Chepukaitis ride on the hippo check out "Chess Philosopher Genrikh Chepukaitis" by Misha Savinov in the Skittles Room archive of ChessCafe.com.
Apr-04-08  Knight13: Lasker does not rush. He just slowly set up the best position he could for a king-hunt and waited for Bird to trip up! Very instructive.
Mar-29-12  Anderssen99: Isn,t 11. ...,d5 a bad move as it blocked the diagonal of his bishop?
Mar-28-15  shallowred: I like the positioning of the Bishop with 14.Bb1; it sits back (way back) and waits to contribute to the removal of Black's defenses with 21.BxN.

I also like 24...f5! (Bird pinned the e5 pawn to the Queen on his 22nd move.)

32.h5! is a pawn-sac followed by a Knight-move that reminds me of Lasker's game against Capablanca in 1914 at St. Petersburg.

And Lasker finishes with a combination. He saw himself as a combinational player, but in most of his games his combinational threats steered the contest rather than finishing it.

May-20-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: After 37.Kxg2


click for larger view

Bird's 37th move looks clever, but really it just makes a bad situation worse. Cf. 28.Nf4 in Tinsley vs Lasker, 1899. Clearly this sort of trappy play bespeaks a flaw in the late-19th century English chess character. :-)

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