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Henry Bird vs Wilhelm Steinitz
"Caged Bird" (game of the day Aug-21-2008)
Bird - Steinitz (1866), London ENG, rd 6, Sep-??
Bird Opening: From Gambit. Mestel Variation (A02)  ·  0-1



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Premium Chessgames Member
  playground player: Gotta give Bird credit for playing his pet openings against the best... Can't give him many wins, though.
Aug-21-08  Riverbeast: Bird was highly overrated....I think if he played today he would have difficulty breaking 2200
Aug-21-08  Jim Bartle: Aw, come on, I’ve been hearing Bird’s overrated since he entered the league. Can’t run, can’t jump, can’t play defense...
Aug-21-08  Riverbeast: The scouting reports are true in his case
Aug-21-08  micahtuhy: The Steinitz Bird Match in 1866 went +7 -5 =5 in favor of Steinitz. This is one of the reasons why Bird (whom Morphy crushed) considered Steinitz Morphy's inferior.

In the end, who can say who would have won, esp after Steinitz really got the new modern school going. But one thing is for sure, Steinitz in 1866 could not have beaten Morphy in 1858.

Aug-21-08  PinnedPiece: <sneakypete: It's the same game, played in round 6 of their 1866 match, with moves 8 and 9 reversed. 8.Bxf6 gxf6 9.Bb5 0-0-0 was played, so the other version Bird vs Steinitz, 1866 is the right one.>

So, since the other game is gone, did remove the wrong one?

Aug-21-08  waustad: <JB> It's caged Bird not cager Bird. ;-)
Oct-01-08  JonathanJ: another very pretty old game where noone has kibitzed on yet.
Oct-01-08  Shams: I guess 2..d6 is From's gambit and 2...d5 is this, the Duras gambit. Here white captures e.p. but I'd just hang on to the pawn, if it were me.
Jan-16-10  Knight13: 7. g3 followed by Bg2 maybe and then castle.

8. Bxf6 sucks. Can't Bird tell his king's not feeling comfortable and the last thing he needs is opening up a rook file on the kingside?

Aug-20-11  Tigranny: Did Bird play his own opening to many times?
Aug-20-11  whiteshark: <Tigranny: Did Bird play his own opening to many times?> Well, make up your mind: :D
Aug-23-11  Tigranny: Sorry whiteshark.
Feb-24-13  TheTamale: Except for the en passant capture, isn't this just the exact same game as this?

Bird vs Steinitz, 1866

Feb-24-13  Calli: <TheTamale> There is also Bird vs Steinitz, 1866

So there is a choice of three. Most likely it's 2...d3 3.exd, but will try to find the earliest publication to confirm,

Feb-25-13  thomastonk: <Calli: will try to find the earliest publication> The game is published in Staunton's "Chess-World", Volume II, p 264. Black's second move is 2.. d6 ("P. to Q.third"), and it has the following comment (note that Bird begun the game, but he played the Black pieces): "White's first move in reply to P. to K.B. fourth was invented by Mr. Staunton ; his second, we hear, was first introduced by Mr. Burden. It looks hazardous, but is a very clever conception."
Feb-25-13  TheTamale: Thanks, <Calli> and <thomastonk>.
Feb-25-13  JimNorCal: <thomastonk>: "note that Bird begun the game, but he played the Black pieces"

Wait. They had not yet standardized on "white moves first" in 1888?

Feb-25-13  thomastonk: <JimNorCal: They had not yet standardized on "white moves first" in 1888?> You see from the other contributions that two of three copies are dated 1866, and since it was published by Staunton (among others), 1888 is out of question. The "Chess-World" appeared from 1865-1869.

But even 1866 is a late date for a game begun by Black.

Feb-28-13  Calli: Shortly after posting on the 24th, I did find the Chess World publication, but may have submitted too many corrections and confused things. I wanted to keep Bird vs Steinitz, 1866 because it was GOTD. However I noticed it had moves 8 and 9 reversed, so I submitted a correction. Then noticed the location was wrong. Another correction. Then two deletion requests for the other games. Will wait about a week and see if anything happens.
Feb-28-13  JimNorCal: <thomastonk> "even 1866 is a late date for a game begun by Black."

Looking around the net, I see that Black moving first persisted many decades into the 1800s. Quite a surprise! Here's a snip of chess history for those of us who have not ever read about it. In the Immortal Game (Anderssen-Kieseritzky, offhand game, London 1851), one of the most famous games in history, Anderssen had the Black pieces but moved first. He also took the Black pieces but moved first in the sixth, eighth, and tenth games of his famous 1858 match against Paul Morphy. ...

As late as the mid-to-late 19th century, the practice of White moving first had not yet become standard. George Walker in his popular treatise The Art of Chess-Play: A New Treatise on the Game of Chess (4th edition 1846), set forth the rules of London's St. George's Chess Club promulgated in June, 1841.[8] "Law III" provided that the player who moved first had the choice of color; if the players played more games at the same sitting, the first move would alternate, but each player would continue to use the same colored pieces as he had in the first game.[9] Staunton observed in 1871 that "many players still cultivate the foolish habit of playing exclusively with one colour."

Mar-01-13  Calli: <JimNorCall> Game play was not affected. They merely replaced the white pieces with black ones. Black: Queen at d1, King at e1, White: Queen at d8, King at e8. Most publications seemed to stop reporting piece color, but Staunton usually did. In the Morphy-Harrwitz match, for instance, Harrwitz had the Black pieces in every game, but this detail is usually not in books about Morphy.
Mar-01-13  thomastonk: <JimNorCal> Almost a year ago the subject was also discussed here: George Walker.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Puzzle-solving follies. position after 13.Qd1:

click for larger view

It's pretty obvious that (either) Rook to e8 is part of the solution, that after Bxe8 Rxe8+ the king must go to f2 so that the White queen remains protected, and then you have to hunt the king down at his new address. As you work through the problem, ...Bxf3 at some point looks helpful.

Steinitz solved the puzzle perfectly: 13....Rde8+ 14.Bxe8 Rxe8+ 15.Kf2 Qe3+ 16.Kf1 Bxf3! 17.gxf3 (17.Qxf3 Qe1#) Bc5! (a little tricky, because not a check) and mate shortly is inevitable. 15....Bc5+ 16.Kg3 Qh6! also works.

I was struggling a little bit to calculate this out, so I decided to start with BxN instead. It went like clockwork!

13....Bxf3 14.gxf3 (the Queen is pinned!) Rde8+ 15.Bxe8 Rxe8+ 16.Kf2 Bc5 (with check!) 17.Kg3 Rg8+ 18.K-any Qh6#. 17.Kg2 doesn't help because after ...Rg8+ 18.Kf1 leaves her majesty high and dry: 18....Qxd1#.

But if you have a room-temperature IQ or above, you probably spotted what I missed: 13....Bxf3???? allows White to just take Black's queen.

Premium Chessgames Member
  jnpope: [Source "London Field, 1866.10.13, p298"]
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