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Henry Bird vs James Mason
"Bird, From, New York City" (game of the day Sep-02-2021)
Bird - Mason (1875/76), New York USA, rd 9, Dec-31
Bird Opening: From Gambit (A02)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: An energetically played game by Mason who first delays Bird's castling, and then breaks open the defences of the stranded monarch. 20.Nd5? gives Mason the opportunity to show his combinational talent. 20.0-0 was the only move.

22.Qd2? is the natural move Bird relied on, but it has a flaw. He had to bite the bullet and play 22.c3 Nxd3+ 23.Kf1 Nxf2 24.cxb4 Nxh1 25.Rc1

22...Nxd3!+ wins the Q: 23.cxd3 Re8+ 24.Kf2 Qxd2+

Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: <Chessical> 20.0-0 doesn't look good if Black replies with 20...♖f6.

What can White do after this?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: <Benzol> Thank you for looking at 20.0-0. <20...Rf6!?> is an interesting move. White has to avoid it's nasty mate threat:

21.Qe1 <Ne2+!> 22.Kh1 Ng3+ 23.hxg3 Rh6+ and then R to h file mate.

I think, howver, White can survive by attacking Black's Queen and driving it away from <c5> and the black diagonal.

20.0-0 <Rf6!?>, the only move seems to be: <21.Na4> Qb4 (if 21...Qd6 then simply 22.Qe1) 22.Qg3 Rxf1+ 23.Kxf1 Qxa4 24.Qxe5 and White is still in the game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: <Chessical> Thanks mate. Following your line 20.0-0 ♖f6 21.♘a4 I was thinking of 21...♘e2+ 22.♗xe2 ♖xf2 23.♘xc5 ♖xe2 but then White can reply with 24.♖f2 and challenge the aggressive Black Rook. Can Black get more with your line 21...♕b4 22.♕g3 ♖xf1+ 23.♔xf1 ♕xa4 24.♕xe5? It doesn't look like it, 24...♘e6 25.c3 ♕a6 26.♗c2 and White is OK. So What should Black do after 20.0-0? Well it is an interesting position to look at.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: <Benzol> I think that after 20.0-0 your move <20...Rf6!?> is Black's strongest option, with compensation for the pawn as White's K-side is still insecure.
Mar-17-06  hugoespinel: Isn't 12. Nd1 the root of White's problems? 12. O-O-O looks promising, it seems to me there is no compensation for Black at all.
Aug-19-06  Tommy Jensen: <Benzol> After 20.O-O the best practical chances seem to lie in actually trying something like 20... Rf6 21.Na4 Qd6 22. Qe1 Rh6 threatening 23... Rxh2, though it seems that after a white answer like 23.Qg3 Rg6 24.Qe3 Rh6 25.g3 there is only little compensation.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: <hugoespinel>; <Tommy Jensen> Interesting thoughts. Thanks.
Apr-01-08  Knight13: 12. O-O-O looks better.
Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: Black to Play and Win after 22. Qd2.

I wonder how Black would have responded had White simply repeated the position with 17. Qf2 instead of going for more with 17. Nc3. Perhaps the tournament situation made Bird play for a win.

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: is this a reference to the rock group <The Yardbirds>?
Sep-02-21  goodevans: I haven't got a clue about the pun but I'm guessing that the peculiar punctuation is somehow relevant.

Enjoyable GOTD though. BIrd came out of the opening with a nice advantage that he gradually frittered away. Suggested improvements such as 12.O-O-O and 20..O-O seem very plausible and I bet he regretted playing 20.Nd5 as soon as he saw Black's reply.

But he was still in the game - just - until the absolute howler that was <22.Qd2??>. As <tpstar> said, this leaves a puzzle-like position, a midweek one at best.

Sep-02-21  Brenin: The only link to the Yardbirds I can find is their "New York City Blues", and I doubt whether the pun is based on that. However, it was good to be reminded what an excellent group they were:
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: I assume the pun references The Girl From New York City. White had several opportunities to castle and lost because he didn't.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <goodevans: I haven't got a clue about the pun but I'm guessing that the peculiar punctuation is somehow relevant. Enjoyable GOTD though. Bird came out of the opening ...>

It's the Bird opening, From gambit.
Charlie "Bird" or "Yardbird" Parker's career flourished and he died in New York. Poor git. That's where the game took place.

Sep-02-21  goodevans: <offramp> Hence the punctuation. See, I knew that would come into it somehow. Very good!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Teyss: Look in the sky, it's a Bird, it's a plane, it's... <offramp>!

Great pun, good game, interesting comments. Instead of 22.Qd2? if White plays as suggested by <Chessical> 22.c3 Nxd3+ 23.Kf1 Nxf2 24.cxb4 Nxh1 25.Rc1, Black is only slightly better: the Nh1 is lost so it will be R+N+6Ps vs R+B+6Ps. The c7 P is weak but so are White's Qside Ps.

Bird's own opening wasn't very successful for him, he scored +39 -45 =11 in his career and +0 -2 =0 in that match.

Sep-02-21  Cheapo by the Dozen: What was Bird's objection to castling long?

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