Henry Edward Bird (1830 – 1908) was an English chess player. He was born in Portsea in Hampshire.
Bird was invited to the first international tournament in London at the age of 21. He also participated in tournaments held in Vienna and New Jersey. He lost a match to Paul Morphy at the age of 28 (1858), yet he played chess for another 50 years.
In 1874 Bird proposed a new chess variant, which played on an 8x10 board and contained two new pieces, guard (rook+knight) and equerry (bishop+knight). Bird's chess inspired Capablanca to create another chess variant, Capablanca chess, which differs from Bird's chess only by starting position.
Bird was also an outstanding author and accountant. He wrote a book on chess entitled Chess History and Reminiscences. He also wrote a book entitled An Analysis of Railways in the United Kingdom.
It was Bird who popularized the chess opening now called "Bird's Opening" (1. f4), as well as Bird's Defense (3...Nd4) to the Ruy Lopez (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5). Bird's opening is considered sound, though not the best try for an opening advantage. Bird's Defense is regarded as slightly inferior, but "trappy".
Wikisource has original works written by or about:
- Bird, Henry Edward. The Chess openings Considered Critically and Practically (London: Dean, 1877)
- Bird, Henry. Chess Masterpieces (London: 1875)
- Bird, Henry. Chess History and Reminiscences (London: 1893)
- Bird, Henry. Modern Chess
- Bird, Henry. Chess for Beginners
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