How NOT to play the Bird Opening

Dec 16, 2010, 4:17 PM |

I've had a great week.  This game doesn't change that.  My first experience with the Bird Opening, and my first serious human game since returning.  1.  f4  f6

I would later discover that's database of master games has almost 5,000 occurences of 1. f4.  Not once did Black respond as I did.  The reason for this will become obvious.  The idea was to deny White any advantadge for their first move.  It's a flank attack against the center, striking at e5.  If I exchange my f-pawn for White's f-pawn, he's gained nothing. 

What I did not do, and this is the theme of this miniature, was evaluate the position after the exchanges took place.  I just assumed I would be ok, wrongly.  The correct approach -- the failure of which is the key to all of my errors in this loss -- would have been to evaluate the position after the expected variation to see what the plans would be then.

2.  e4  e5

3.  fxe5  fxe5

4.  Qh5+!

Impressively, I have already achieved an objectively lost game in only three moves.








There are only two legal moves:  g6 and Ke7. 

4 ... g6

Ke7 leads to a forced mate in four:  5. Qxe5+ Kf7  6.  Bc4+  Kg6  7.  Qf5+ Kh6  8. d4 #.  I didn't calculate all that out in the game, but I didn't need to see it would be a total disaster. 

5.  Qxh5+  Be7








Moving the king was not an option for the same reason as before, but interestingly I never really considered Qe7, which turns out to be the best response. 

6.  Qxh8  Kf8

7.  Bc4 Ke8


Showing how incorrect the previous move was, I’ve done exactly nothing the last two moves.  White’s threat was of course Qxg8 mate, but a better(but still overwhelmingly losing) response was d5 … which I considered and rejected because again, I did not properly evaluate the position AFTER each variation was played.  d5 would have led to losing my queen(8.  Bxd5 and there is no other way to defend the mate threat than 8. ... Qxd5, perhaps after playing the pointless delaying check Bh4+), after which the material imbalance is obscene.  However that would still have been better than what I played, which loses even more quickly. 









8.  Qxg8+  Bf8

9.  Qf7 #  1-0









This is almost certainly the ugliest beat-down I've ever received, but it certainly shows a big flaw that I can significantly improve by correcting in my thought process.