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Bird, Henry Edward

Henry Edward Bird (1830-1908) was an accountant and strong amateur player from England.   In 1851, at the age of 21, he was invited to the first international chess tournament, held in London.  In round 1, he was knocked out by Bernhard Horwitz.  In 1858, he lost a match with Paul Morphy. losing all three games.  He won the first brilliancy prize ever awarded (a silver cup) for his victory over James Mason, New York 1876.  He favored the opening 1.f4, now called Bird’s Opening. A variation of the Ruy Lopez 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nd4 and of the Italian Game 1. e4 e5 Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. c3 Nf6 5. b4 both bear his name as "Bird Variations." He played chess at the London coffee house, Simpson’s Divan, for over 50 years, from 1846 until it closed in 1903.  He wrote booklets on railroad finance and wrote six books of chess.

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