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Bird's Opening (A03)
1 f4 d5

Number of games in database: 1835
Years covered: 1836 to 2022
Overall record:
   White wins 31.6%
   Black wins 41.8%
   Draws 26.6%

Popularity graph, by decade

Explore this opening  |  Search for sacrifices in this opening.
With the White Pieces With the Black Pieces
Henry Bird  58 games
Savielly Tartakower  24 games
Maksim Chigaev  17 games
Pia Cramling  8 games
Ivan Farago  8 games
Emanuel Lasker  7 games
NOTABLE GAMES [what is this?]
White Wins Black Wins
Lasker vs J Bauer, 1889
Tarrasch vs Marotti / Napoli / de Simone / del, 1914
Alterman vs Deep Fritz, 2000
Tylkowski vs A Wojciechowski, 1931
NN vs R Crepeaux, 1923
Smyslov vs G Ilivitsky, 1955
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 page 1 of 74; games 1-25 of 1,835  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Saint-Amant vs G Walker 1-0361836Casual gameA03 Bird's Opening
2. Staunton vs Bristol CC 1-0391839Correspondence gameA03 Bird's Opening
3. F Laigle vs Kieseritzky 0-1161843Double Blindfold ExhibitionA03 Bird's Opening
4. P Michaels vs F Laigle  0-1411845Laigle - Michaels MatchA03 Bird's Opening
5. P Michaels vs F Laigle  1-0381845Laigle - Michaels MatchA03 Bird's Opening
6. P Michaels vs F Laigle  1-0341845Laigle - Michaels MatchA03 Bird's Opening
7. E Lowe vs A Simons  1-0331849Ries' Divan TournamentA03 Bird's Opening
8. E Williams vs E Flower 1-0341849Ries' Divan TournamentA03 Bird's Opening
9. E Lowe vs G W Medley  1-0591849Ries' Divan TournamentA03 Bird's Opening
10. E Lowe vs G W Medley  ½-½631849Ries' Divan TournamentA03 Bird's Opening
11. F Deacon vs E Lowe  1-0341851Deacon - Lowe MatchA03 Bird's Opening
12. E Williams vs Loewenthal  0-1261851Loewenthal - Williams MatchA03 Bird's Opening
13. The Hague vs Nijmegen  ½-½511851correspondenceA03 Bird's Opening
14. H Kennedy vs Wyvill 1-0651851LondonA03 Bird's Opening
15. E Williams vs Staunton 1-0461851LondonA03 Bird's Opening
16. Staunton vs E Williams ½-½611851Staunton - Williams MatchA03 Bird's Opening
17. E Williams vs Horwitz ½-½781852Horwitz - Williams mA03 Bird's Opening
18. Horwitz vs E Williams 0-1241852Horwitz - Williams mA03 Bird's Opening
19. E Williams vs Harrwitz ½-½611852Harrwitz - WilliamsA03 Bird's Opening
20. E Williams vs Harrwitz 0-1601852Harrwitz - WilliamsA03 Bird's Opening
21. Hardy vs F G Janssens  0-1241854LondonA03 Bird's Opening
22. Stella vs Staunton 0-1201855Correspondence gameA03 Bird's Opening
23. Speyer vs Carl Friedrich Knorre  0-1351855MykolaivA03 Bird's Opening
24. Cochrane vs Somacarana  0-1281856CalcuttaA03 Bird's Opening
25. Bird vs Falkbeer 0-1311856MatchA03 Bird's Opening
 page 1 of 74; games 1-25 of 1,835  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Dec-22-06  WarmasterKron: I've recently been toying with the Williams Gambit 1.f4 d5 2.e4!?, which seems weird enough to merit further exploration. A little toying around led me to 2...dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.d3!?

Jan-22-07  WarmasterKron: Even strong players can go astray in obscure gambits!

[White "Warmaster Kron"]
[Black "NN"]
[WhiteElo "1708"]
[BlackElo "2074"]

1.f4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Qe2 Bg4
5.Qb5+ Bd7 6.Qxb7 Bc6? 7.Bb5 Qd7 8.Bxc6 Qxc6 9.Qc8# 1-0

Premium Chessgames Member
  suenteus po 147: <WarmasterKron> Very, very nice. Of course the natural looking 6...Bc6 is a terrible blunder.
Premium Chessgames Member
  suenteus po 147: <WarmasterKron> Did you take inspiration from this game?: Myers vs NN, 1985
Jan-22-07  WarmasterKron: <suenteus po> 6...Bc6 is horrible, but I don't think much of 5...Bd7 either. I believe ...Nc6 is considered best.

I'd not actually seen that Myers game before. I picked up the original monograph on the Williams Gambit recently and it makes fascinating reading.

Jan-31-07  Themofro: <Ganstaman> those are all good points. The Bird's is not played by top ranked players, i beleive that the only GM who currently consistently plays it is Henrik Danielsen but not sure about that. However, GM's do play the black side, so that really skews the statistics in black's favor.

I also have been playing online lately with the birds, with 35 minute time controll, i'm i beleive something like +27=2-7.

I strongly beleive that if whites knows what he's doing, then the Bird's is a completely sound, and aggresive opening.

I have posted a mini-opening repertoire of all the major lines on the Bird's at the Henry Edward Bird page, in case anyone is interested in this opening, although that is just a mini-repertoire again. cheers!

Mar-07-07  Themofro: GM Henrik Danielsen has a web site where he teaches kids how to play chess, puts live blitz games with him telling us his thoughts among other things thats free and in different languages. He also has a lot of very interesting stuff recorded on there that goes over the Bird's Opening, himself being a GM that plays the Bird's consistently, which he calls the Polar Bear System, very interesting stuff the website is
Mar-08-07  Themofro: For those worried about the winning statistics, they don't seem to be a bother in many other openings. Case in point, the King's Indian Defense or KID, one of the most respected defenses as black, has the following winning percentages:

White wins 38.9%
Black wins 22.4%
Draws 38.7%

hm... don't seem that good, but the KID is considered completely sound and played at the highest level all the time.

May-27-07  matiz: <WarmasterKron> im going to start that gambit. It seems reasonable enough. Good idea.
Sep-04-07  Judah: Opening of the day...hasn't this been opening of the day before?

So why play f4? Here's one advantage that no other move can get you: it holds open the a1-h8 diagonal (by discouraging e5). Makes a dark-bishop fianchetto a very attractive possibility.

Oct-27-07  rhedrich: Anybody know how well white would be doing if after 1...d4 white plays 2.c4? If black takes the pawn, I play 3.e3 and we have ourselves in a position not unlike one we might find after 1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.e3 except that the pawn is on f4 instead of d4, which works to white's advantage, imo. I find 3.e3 useful because it provides an immediate capture via bishop which developes a piece, and also because it baits black into being greedy. The pawn can be taken back from black by force, so white has everything to gain by 3.e3 - For example, my analysis shows

3...b5? 4.a4
4...a5? 5.axb5
4...c6? 5.axb5 cxb5?? 6.Qf3
4...Bd7? 5.axb5 Bxb5? 6.Nc3
4...Qd7? 5.axb5 Qxb5? 6.Na3
3...Qd5? 4.Nc3 (any Q move) 5.Qa5+
3...Be6? 4.Qf3
4...c6/Nc6 5.f5
4...Bd5 5.e4
4...Qd5 5.Na3
3...c3 4.Nxc3

I think these are the only ways black could hope to hold onto the pawn. In each case, white has superior developement. More pieces out and space, white's following plan in general would be to fianchetto the queen bishop, play Nf3 and 0-0. Black's barely out of the gate and still loses that pawn on c4. If black developes in such a way that white is immediately allowed to play Bxc4, all the better for white, who can now play Nf3, 0-0, Nc3, h3, Kh1, Re1/d1, a3, b5, Bb2 and Qb3 - no particular order, just a general plan. I like white's pieces pointed towards black's kingside, and the center pawn phalanx that still allows either d3 or d4 if wanted/needed.

I'll post my thoughts on 2...d4 later.

Oct-30-07  rhedrich: After 1.f4 d5 2.c4 d4, white's best move here is d3. This stops the advancement of the pawn and prepares e3 with a possible recapture with the bishop instead of the pawn. Black's best move is c5, attempting to solidify his center. 4.b4 is intriguing, like a reversed benko gambit, but may be dubious. After 4.d3 Black should obviously not capture, or else Bxe3 leaves white with clearly better developement. Instead, Nc6 is sensible. White can now play a noncommital, necessary move like Nf3. Black can and will probably reciprocate with Nf6. If at this time black hasn't moved the d-pawn or has already fiachettoed kingside I'd probably look a Na3 thinking Nc2. But I might also play the Be2, 0-0, Kh1, h3 combo. The latter is probably safer. After these I look at a3, Rb8 with a queenside expansion, assuming dxe3 hasn't been played. Most times my kingside is secure, but my queenside is a little cramped, making developement/games slower, which I don't mind. I usually hope for a early Bg5 "pin" after Nf3, so I can play Be2 and if the threat is ignored - Nxe3! netting a pawn. But this 2.d4 variation isn't as clear cut as 2.dxc4, so if anyone has any suggestions as to move orders or plans, I'm all ears.
Nov-27-08  deadlyking: i tried to play the bird, and regretably bought Taylor's book on it which i dont reccomend. it is a dutch with one tempi up, but white cant use the tempi. if both sides play correctly in the opening, white has to fight for the advantage
Nov-27-08  refutor: <deadlyking> the bird's is a fine opening. originally i used it to tranpose into a king's gambit (1.f4 e5 2.e4) while avoiding stuff like the french and the sicilian. here's a win i had in a tournament a couple of years ago, where my opponent (who was about 400 points higher than me) played without a plan, refused a perpetual and got mated :)

Refutor - NN 2004
1.f4 d5 2.Nf3 c5 3.e3 Nc6 4.Bb5 Bd7 5.b3 Nf6 6.Bb2 e6 7.0-0 Qc7 8.Bxc6 Bxc6 9.Be5 Bd6 10.Nc3 Bxe5 11.Nxe5 Nd7 12.d4! 0-0 13.Ne2 Rac8 14.Rc1 Nxe5? 15.fxe5 Qa5 16.a4 c4 17.Nf4 b5?! 18.Nh5! Qc3 19.Qf3 bxa4 20.Qg3 g6 21.Nf6+ Kg7 22.Nh5+ Kh8 23.Nf6 axb3?? 24.Qh3! h5 25.Nxh5 gxh5 26.Qxh5+ Kg7 27.Qg5+ Kh7 28.Rf3 1-0

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Any idea why J Vigus called

<1 f4 d5 2 Nf3 g6 3 g3 Bg7 4 Bg2

<"Beware the <Polar Beer>" >?>

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <whiteshark> Either a parody or typo for the "Polar Bear." See Henrik Danielsen.
Feb-10-09  blacksburg:

watch the live blitz videos. i promise, you will be entertained.

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Thanks <keypusher> (my word play) and <blacksburg> (♗ followed gravity). :D:D
Feb-18-09  WhiteRook48: 1. f4 is my favorite opening move
Aug-01-09  muwatalli: as an aggressive player i don't usually play the bird, but a few lines appeal to me, such as getting to the kings gambit after 1 f4 e5 2 e4 and after 1 f4 d5 2 nf3 g6 3 c4!? white gets a good game, if accepted white's game is similar to queens gambit accepted, and if declined play can follow more interesting lines such as 3 c4!? nf6 4 cxd5 nxd5 5 e4 nxf4 6 d4 Nh5 which follows the gambiteer spirit quite perfectly
Aug-01-09  parisattack: <deadlyking: i tried to play the bird, and regretably bought Taylor's book on it which i dont reccomend. it is a dutch with one tempi up, but white cant use the tempi. if both sides play correctly in the opening, white has to fight for the advantage>

I thought Taylor's book was dreadful. The best book on the Bird's is still the 1950s work by Robinson.

But, alas, I long ago concluded 1. f4 is just a bad move.

Oct-14-09  refutor: does anyone play lines with g3 here?

i'm looking for something to play v. 1.g3 d5 and was thinking that 2.f4 may do the trick (stopping ...e5)

Oct-14-09  nescio: <refutor: i'm looking for something to play v. 1.g3 d5 and was thinking that 2.f4 may do the trick (stopping ...e5)>

I'm sure it is playable but you have to think of something to combat the ...h7-h5-h4 plan. There are several scary examples of White simply being blown away, e.g.

[Event "Andorra op 17th"]
[Site "Andorra"]
[Date "1999.06.27"]
[Round "6"]
[White "Komljenovic,Davor"]
[Black "Campora,Daniel Hugo"]
[Result "0-1"]
[Eco "A03"]
1.g3 d5 2.f4 h5 3.Nf3 h4 4.gxh4 Nc6 5.Bg2 Bg4 6.c4 Bxf3 7.Bxf3 e6 8.cxd5 exd5 9.Qa4 Qxh4+ 10.Kd1 Nf6 11.Nc3 0-0-0 12.d3 Bc5 13.Bd2 Bb6 14.Rc1 Kb8 15.Be1 Qh3 0-1

Oct-15-09  MaxxLange: 2..h5 3 h3!? h4 4 g4
Oct-15-09  Atking: <parisattack: <deadlyking: i tried to play the bird, and regretably bought Taylor's book on it which i dont reccomend. it is a dutch with one tempi up, but white cant use the tempi. if both sides play correctly in the opening, white has to fight for the advantage> I thought Taylor's book was dreadful. The best book on the Bird's is still the 1950s work by Robinson.> I like Soltis's"Bird Larsen attack". Original ideas nevertheless concise. Therefore I have a doubt about his conclusion on From's gambit. Just one line : 1.f4 e5 2.fxe d6 3.exd Bxd6 4.Nf3 g5 5.g3 g4 6.Nh4 Ne7 7.d4 Ng6 8.NxNg6 hxNg6 9.Qd3! Nc6 10.c3 Qe7 11.Bg2 Bf5! 12.e4 0-0-0 13.0-0 Ne5! 14.Qe3! with the idea Rf2 Nd2-Nf1 ("White is consolidating his position and extra pawn" dixis Andrew) But I think 14...Nf3+ is interesting enough 15.BxN gxB 16.exBf5 Rxh2!! looks pretty 17.QxQe7 (17.KxR? Qh4+) 17...Rg2+ 18.Kh1 Rh8+ 19.Qh4 RxQ+ 20.gxR Rh2+ is draw.
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