Main Line Bird
2 weeks ago, (by request) I wrote an article on the Froms gambit, 1. f4 e5!? I was then requested to examine the main line bird (by the same member). I decided to take a week off of the bird last week, but this week I will go back and use the main line bird. 1. f4 A rare move in top play d5 With white’s first move, he takes control of the e5 square but weakens the e4 square, so black’s first move makes sense.
Here is the basic theory:
The Bird never really appealed to me, but I was surprised to see so many variations ending in an advantage for black.
Time for some examples:
So black emerged from the opening much better, but he failed to take advantage of white’s weak pawns and allowed his king to come under attack.
Even though the above game was a draw, Svidler was dominating before time-trouble blunders swept away his advantage.
So, in our final example, black didn’t just wait passively for the easy draw and instead reacted energetically with 17...h5!? and later pressure down the c file gave black the win.
Before I looked at this line, the Bird (1.f4) never really appealed to me, and after writing this I can say I respect it even less. It amazed me how many opening lines ended with positions better for black, which explains why the only top level games I found to use as examples were a blindfold game, a blitz game, and an internet game. Putting all of that aside, this opening does appeal to many amateurs (and that’s who I’m writing this for) because it is a simple opening to play. The game will usually turn into a battle between white’s attack on the kingside to get to the king, and black’s positional play in the center and queenside. Although black’s play tends to be the strongest, some players feel most comfortable when attacking, so this opening is a viable choice.