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Bird's Opening (A02)
1 f4

Number of games in database: 3257
Years covered: 1620 to 2023
Overall record:
   White wins 35.0%
   Black wins 41.4%
   Draws 23.6%

Popularity graph, by decade

Explore this opening  |  Search for sacrifices in this opening.
With the White Pieces With the Black Pieces
Arne Bryntse  42 games
Jiri Pelikan  41 games
Henry Bird  41 games
Blackburne  12 games
Gerard Welling  9 games
Raymond Keene  8 games
NOTABLE GAMES [what is this?]
White Wins Black Wins
Fischer vs Smyslov, 1970
Tarrasch vs K Satzinger, 1914
Bird vs O Gelbfuhs, 1873
NN vs Du Mont, 1802
Bird vs Steinitz, 1866
Bird vs Blackburne, 1886
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 page 1 of 131; games 1-25 of 3,257  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Greco vs NN 1-0101620Miscellaneous gameA02 Bird's Opening
2. NN vs Du Mont 0-161802UnknownA02 Bird's Opening
3. Saint-Amant vs W Fraser 1-0261836MatchA02 Bird's Opening
4. G Spreckley vs E Williams  0-1321842Casual gameA02 Bird's Opening
5. E Williams vs W Henderson 1-0151845BristolA02 Bird's Opening
6. R Schurig vs M Lange 1-0241849LeipzigA02 Bird's Opening
7. E Lowe vs H Kennedy 1-0401849MatchA02 Bird's Opening
8. E Williams vs H Buckle 0-1531849Ries' Divan TournamentA02 Bird's Opening
9. E Lowe vs G W Medley 0-1611849Ries' Divan TournamentA02 Bird's Opening
10. G W Medley vs A Mongredien 1-0441850MatchA02 Bird's Opening
11. F Deacon vs Anderssen 0-1381851London Chess Club tA02 Bird's Opening
12. E Williams vs Loewenthal 0-1391851Loewenthal - WilliamsA02 Bird's Opening
13. E Williams vs Loewenthal  ½-½521851Loewenthal - WilliamsA02 Bird's Opening
14. Horwitz vs Staunton 0-1511851LondonA02 Bird's Opening
15. Loewenthal vs H Buckle 1-0561851Buckle - LoewenthalA02 Bird's Opening
16. H Buckle vs Loewenthal 1-0411851Buckle - LoewenthalA02 Bird's Opening
17. Staunton vs E Williams 1-0321851Staunton - WilliamsA02 Bird's Opening
18. Staunton vs E Williams 1-0331851Staunton - WilliamsA02 Bird's Opening
19. E Williams vs Staunton 0-1371851Staunton - WilliamsA02 Bird's Opening
20. Cochrane vs Somacarana  0-1261855CalcuttaA02 Bird's Opening
21. Cochrane vs Somacarana 0-1271855CalcuttaA02 Bird's Opening
22. Cochrane vs Somacarana  1-0441855CalcuttaA02 Bird's Opening
23. T Barnes vs Zytogorski 1-0591855Kling's Coffee HouseA02 Bird's Opening
24. de Riviere vs Harrwitz 0-1211856MatchA02 Bird's Opening
25. J Laroche vs de Riviere 1-0311856Paris m2A02 Bird's Opening
 page 1 of 131; games 1-25 of 3,257  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 14 OF 14 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Mar-05-10  drukenknight: A pretty good From Gambit, white outplays me for 26 moves until violating a basic principle. lots of pins here starting w/ white’s Q

1. f4 e5
2. fxe5 d6
3. exd6 Bxd6
4. Nf3 Bg4
5. g3 Qe7 (according to crap pc this is a novelty believe it or not, but I try on principles, pinning the pawn, as I have no tactical ability)

6. Bg2 Nf6
7. O-O Nc6
8. c3 O-O-O
9. d4 Qd7
10. Bg5 h5
11. Nbd2 Be7
12. e4 Nh7
13. Bxe7 Qxe7
14. Re1 (14 h3 also leads to =)

14…. h4 (about this pt. I began to get ahead on the clock 4 min to 3 so it was fun to play this attack and hope he runs out of time before I mess it up)

15. gxh4 g5
16. h3

after 16 h3 I mess this up here:

click for larger view

16...Bh5?! (what do you think?)
17. d5 Ne5
18. Qa4 Qc5+?!crap pc suggest 18….Nd3 but white stll has an advantage

19. Qd4 Nxf3+
20. Bxf3 Qxd4+
21. cxd4 g4
22. hxg4 Rhg8
23. g5 Bxf3
24. Nxf3 f6
25. Kf2 fxg5
26. hxg5 Rdf8

after 26…Rf8

click for larger view

27. Rg1?? dude? duh.

May-04-10  rapidcitychess: Try the Stonewall against littlechess partner. Or Jester for that matter. This seeming junk really cracks them.
Jul-21-10  jbtigerwolf: All this stuff about the From Gambit is interesting, but you may find it hard to come across if you play 1.f4.

According to Wikipaedia, the most common replies to 1.f4 are: d5 49%, Nf6 15%, e5 11%, c5 9%, g6 8%, d6 2%, others less than 0.5%

OK, so in half your games expect to play against 1...d5. Then it's 1...Nf6 as well, bringing us to 66% with no From... in fact, only 1 out of 9 games can you expect 1...e5 and then it from someone who knows the From (otherwise, 1...e5 looks bizarre, if you didn't know about the gambit).

What to do against 1...d5? Someone said "I hate it when they play that." Playing a risky opening hoping against the most common reply (half!) can't be good.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: I don't think opening a diagonal towards your king is a good idea sometimes.

click for larger view

Dec-27-10  parisattack: <Penguincw: I don't think opening a diagonal towards your king is a good idea sometimes. >

At least not on the first move. While its undoubtedly playable, Bird's just commits white to too much, too early. The weakness at e3 is another problem with it.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: <parisattack> Well d4 is OK but there's a line in the King's Gambit that forces the white king to move early on which goes : 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 Qh4+ 4.Kf1 and looks like this :

click for larger view

Dec-27-10  Shams: <PenguinCW> Bah, white's king is fine on f1. Real men bring it to e2, e.g. 1.e4 e5 2.f4 d6 3.Nc3 ef 4.d4 Qh4+ 5.Ke2:

click for larger view

Game on!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: <Shams> I guess you're like maybe after something like this ...5. Bg4+ 6. Nf3 Qh5 7.h3 Bxf3+ 8.gxf3 I see no real harm for the white king.

click for larger view

Dec-28-10  Shams: <Penguincw> Well, the rook is loose on h1 7.h3 doesn't threaten much. White should definitely grab the f4 pawn if black allows it. I'll be honest I have next to no experience in this line.
Feb-07-11  meppi: hi everyone, what do you think of this opening scheme I have been using in the birds opening.

i try to go into birds opening via transposition like this;

1. d4 d5
2. Nc3 Nf6
3. Bg5 Nd7 - (or e6 both common)
4. f4

This is the start of the set up.

After this black usually plays something like 4. Bb4 or Be7

and then 5. e3
6. Nf3
7. Bd3
and 8. 0-0

And I have the position set up that I want in birds opening. I use the 2 Bg4 transposition to keep the dark square bishop outside the pawn chain, sometimes i trade it off for the knight on f6 or move it back to h4 if black plays h6.

May-22-11  jbtigerwolf: What do you folks make of the Fred Defense? 1.e4 f5. Is it playable for Black?

I just wanted to put this out there in a thread like this, with lateral thinkers.

Jun-23-11  Everyone: Every time a <Bird> poops on my chessboard, I eat a plate of scrambled eggs on my porch, just to show them what I'm capable of... :D
Jun-24-11  nanobrain: My bird lands on my chessboard whenever I play standing up, naked.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Eat my's just a swallow!
Premium Chessgames Member
  beenthere240: Ask <Iplaythefred>. He (or she for all I know) may have an opinion.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Opening of the Day

Bird's Opening

click for larger view

Jan-17-12  parisattack: Interesting (at least to me) the Opening of the Day seldom garners much attention from'ers.

Bird's was the first opening I played and I had good success with it. But I think it is a little to 'stiff' to make it into the big leagues today.

Robinson's A Guide to Bird's Opening is still my favorite book on it.

Dec-14-12  Conrad93: The bird irritates theoretical players. They prepare countless lines for the Sicilian or Ruy Lopez, but never expect this...!
Jul-25-15  pajaste: "Chess, so much better with f4!", anonymous.
Sep-07-15  parisattack: Bird's Opening Books

The first opening I played, encouraged by Lasker vs J Bauer, 1889. I lost a lot of bishops trying for that 2B mate until Fine’s Middlegame in Chess set me straight.

Deppe – From’s Gambit

Hodgson - Trends in the Bird's Opening

Lakdawala – Bird’s Opening: Move by Move *

Lonsdale - The Strum Gambit

Lonsdale - Wagner-Zwitersch Defense

O'Connell - Bird's Opening *

Picket - A Modern Approach to Bird's Opening

Robinson - 1. P-KB4 (A Guide to Bird's Opening) *

Schiller - How to Play the From's Gambit

Schwarz – Bird Eroffnung *

Soltis - Bird's Opening *

Soltis - Winning with the 1. f4

Soltis: Bird-Larsen Attack

Taimanov – Hollandisch bis Bird ‘bis’ v10

Taylor - Bird's Opening

Warzech - Das Froms Gambit

'*' denotes a personal favorite.

There are quite a few Leningrad Reversed in the three Gerzadowicz books.

Others, please?

Mar-16-16  Judah: (Opening of the Day again)

Bird's opening is an old favorite of mine. Admittedly, it gives White a smaller edge than other first moves, but it leads to asymmetrical games that are a lot of fun to play, IMO.

Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: Still waiting for someone to play 1.f4 in a World Championship match - would the player with the Black pieces develop normally, or try and refute it with with From's Gambit?
Aug-25-18  WorstPlayerEver: Fromm's Gambit does not refute the Bird FYI.
Feb-12-21  Poisonpawns: Compilation of this opening played against GM`s
Aug-17-21  Bartleby: From Larry Evan's "Chess Catechism", his definition Bird's Opening:

"Named for a strong but near-sighted master who frequenty reached for the wrong pawn."

(in the spirit of Bitter Bierce's "Devil's Dictionary")

My love of the Dutch Defense (A91) (the classical line advocated by Simon Kim Williams is the reason I have a soft spot for this slightly inaccurate opening, and I often try to adopt a similar setup as white with an extra tempo.

Against the most ambitious black try to blow white off the board, 1. ...e5!, I actually think it's best to transpose, believe it or not, to the King's Gambit with 2. e4.

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