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Wilhelm Steinitz vs Henry Bird
"One Flew Over the Steinitz Nest" (game of the day May-07-2015)
Hastings (1895), Hastings ENG, rd 8, Aug-14
Semi-Slav Defense: Accelerated Move Order (D31)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Jun-01-04  fred lennox: After move 17 a quick glance might seem to favor white - spatial advantage and bishop pair. Bird seems to understand that a cramp position is not necessarily weak with a mobile pawn center.
Jul-06-05  Knight13: 28... Kg7! good move.

I don't understand the bishop sac with 26. Rad1?!. Few moves after that it's like the bishop sacrifice is worth nothing.

Again, another good game by Bird with good use of Knights.

Jan-19-07  Calli: 34.h4?? Herr Steinitz wants to defend against Ra8-Ra1# so he gives the King a little luft but doesn't see the other threat of Rg8 which needs to be met with g3. Therefore 34.Nc6 Ra8 35.Na5 was better.
Sep-27-07  RookFile: Ah yes. Well, easy come, easy go, with Steinitz's pieces.
Jun-07-08  percyblakeney: <34.Nc6 Ra8 35.Na5 was better.> Indeed, looks like decent winning chances for white, or a bit over +2 in Shredderspeak. 34. Nc6 Nxc4 35. Na7 Nb6 36. Rg7+ Kf6 37. Nxc8 Nxc8 38. Rxh7 also looks tricky to save for black.
Apr-26-15  Amarande: For 34 Nc6 Tarrasch in the Tournament Book gives the following continuation: 34 ... Kf6 35 Na7 Rg8 36 g3 f4 37 c8Q Rxc8 38 Nxc8 f3, 'and wins.'
Apr-27-15  morfishine: Spectators flocked to Bird's table to watch him play. The ultimate "Bird-watching"

And here at Hastings 1895, Bird was 66, well past the beak of his powers


Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <morfishine> for that joke you should only be checkmated! Not really. I liked that joke a lot good one!
Apr-30-15  Nina Myers: Insignificance loves a good joke!
May-07-15  mruknowwho: Unfortunately, the bishop sacrifice (26.Rad1?) doesn't work out for Steinitz. I don't think he anticipated the problem after 27...g5. Well founded, but overlooked. Funny, I actually played a game tonight with White pieces where I made an overlooked sacrifice with that same bishop. Fortunately for me, my opponent didn't understand what was going on when he responded to it.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Bird defeats Steinitz! An upset?
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: but maybe not much so, Bird won 8 more times, although Steinitz won 2/3 of the time.
May-07-15  oxxo: Interestingly enough, 26. Re1 works for white according to Fritz. Who could have guessed that attacking a knight that can easily retreat in response would be better than doubling rooks on an open file with queening threats to follow? Such is chess..
May-07-15  shivasuri4: <oxxo>, that's not a very accurate representation of the move. 26.Re1 attacks the knight in response to White's bishop being attacked, whereas 26.Rad1 leaves the attacked bishop just for an open file.
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: I don't care for the so-called pun.
May-07-15  celtrusco: Birdman.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: Steinitz is probably homophonic to "bird" or something in German.

The other implication might be to Steinitz's later 'madness' (via the "reference" to 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' which I saw years ago but have forgotten the details of, but it is set in a looney bin) but I think he was suffering from some form of dementia. But like Morphy and Fischer he more or less went mad.

I've just been playing over the old World Champ games and while Steinitz (and Tchigorin and others) all played some great combinative games and positional - if we can really separate these things - they both made some really bad blunders - Tchigorin blundering from a won position and missing an easy win, and yet both were great players. Gunsberg wasn't that far away from winning either...

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