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Henry Bird vs Wilhelm Cohn
London (1899), London ENG, rd 11, Jun-13
Scotch Game: Classical Variation (C45)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Feb-25-08  Knight13: Good use of Steinitz principle "The way to beat knights is to take away their advanced support points."
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Bird managed here to obtain a dead-lost game as White in only 11 moves in what was in effect a Scotch Game.

Bird's 7. Be2 (instead of 7. Qf3) forfeited any edge he may have had as White. His 8. Na3 was horrible, and allowed Cohn the pleasant choice of wrecking Bird's pawn structure (by exchanging on a3) or simply winning a pawn (as Cohn elected to do).

Even after losing a pawn, Bird could have obtained some counter-play with 11. Nb5. After his actual 11. Qd2 and Cohn's answering 11...0-0, Bird had a lost game.

Is this really the best Bird could do with the White pieces in the opening?

Premium Chessgames Member
  WorstPlayerEver: <KEG>
So what's YOUR opening?
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: I rarely play the Scotch (with White I usually play the Ruy Lopez or the Giuoco Piano if Black plays 1...e5 against my usual 1. e4). When I have played the Scotch, I have never played the horrendous 7. Be2 line Bird saddled himself with here.

How about you?

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Cohn played very well in this encounter. He exploited his edge and never let Bird back in the game after the latter's poor opening play.

As the Tournament Book notes, Cohn's 20...c5 was pretty. Had Bird played 21. Rxc5, Cohn would have played 21...RxN and after 22. RxR the Queen sacrifice 22...QxR would have been a winner.

Bird's actual 21. Qxe4 was no better than the above line.

Bird decided to play on for a while, but his 33. Rd2 was a blunder. He needed to try 33. b4 if he wanted to fight on. After 33. Rd2, Cohn's 33...Re3 was crushing, and Bird's Queen was lost.

A fine performance by Cohn.

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