Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Ruy Lopez Bird's Defense (C61) Update

I published a Bird's Defense Bibliography (C61) back in 2008, but there have been a number of developments since, so it seemed time to post a supplement.  I think we are poised to see a revival in this interesting opening, which begins 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nd4!?  While theory's view of the Bird now treats 4.Nxd4 exd4 5.O-O Bc5 as the "main line," I think the biggest development from the Black perspective is the renewed interest in older ideas, especially 5...h5, 5...g6, and 5...c6 followed by 6...Nf6 -- the last of which does quite well in practice and was well-analyzed by Jonathan Tait (2005), as mentioned in my first bibliography.   As always, I welcome reader suggestions and additions.

Bibliography Supplement

Tim Harding (December 2012).  "Adventures in the Aviary: Bird's Defense." (PDF). Kibitzer #199 at ChessCafe.  Offers a very nice survey of the opening as seen mostly through the author's recent correspondence games.  Discusses 5...Bc5 but mostly focusing on older ideas, such as 5...h5, 5...g6, and 5...c6 followed by Nf6.  I especially like the idea of 5...c6 6.Bc4 g6!?  A useful addition to theory and a great place to start if you are looking for an overview.

Sam Shankland (June 2012).  C61 Ruy Lopez, Bird's Defence.  Chess Informant #114.  The author offers his own repertoire vs. the Bird's Defense, focused around 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nd4 4.Nxd4 exd4 5.O-O Bc5 (other moves are also treated) 6.b4! which is a sharp gambit, used effectively by Naiditsch, which Shankland thinks must be accepted. This article can be purchased separately (including both PDF and PGN) direct from the Chess Informant Store for $6.59.

Mihail Marin (February 2012).  "Ruy Lopez, Bird's Defense." ChessBase Magazine #146.  Superb coverage of 5...Bc5 lines, offering a complete repertoire against the Ruy Lopez.  Main annotated games include Plachetka -Stoica, Stary Smokovec 1974; Lane - Gaprindashvili, Vrnjacka Banja 1961; Wang - Ioseliani, Shanghai 1992; Korneev - Llaneza Vega, San Sebastian 2010; Short - Ivanchuk, Linares 1989; Semeniuk - Malaniuk, Sverdlovsk 1987; Azarov - Jirka, Czechia 2009; Zagrebelny - Barle, Budapest 1989; Kamsky - Ivanchuk, Tilburg 1990; Szabo - Papp, Szombathely 2010; Kraemer - Hirneise, German qualifier 2008; Ljubojevic - Salov, World Cup 1989;  Anand - Tseshkovsky, Calcutta 1986;  Filipenko - Najer, Pardubice 1996; Beliavsky - Tseshkovsky, Kiev 1986; Jackson - Knox, BCF-ch 1988;  Kostin - Rodin, Voronezh 2008; Monn - Droz, Corr. 1993; Westerinen - Regan, Baerum 1980; Gavrilov - Jirka, Olomouc 2005; Dolmatov - Tukmakov, Minsk 1987; Brende - Binder, Germany 1994; Houssain - Abdulla, Dhaka 2006; Lanc - Vrana, Trnava 1990; Grodzensky - Skotorenko, Corr. 1976; Kasparov - Kupreichik, Daugavpils 1978.

Michael Goeller (2011).  "Bird Defense Fishing Pole."  Analyzes one of my games with ...h5 where the "fishing pole" sequence Ng4 hxg4 hxg4 led to a deadly attack along the opened h-file.

Chess OK (2011).  Bird's Defense.  A useful "book" look at 5...c6 6.Bc4 Nf6.

Glenn Flear (2010).  "The Bird's Defence According to Bird." Secrets of Opening Surprises #12.  Ed. Jeroen Bosch.  Examines Bird's own games with the Bird's Defense, especially those with an early ...h5 advance.  Discusses the games Noa - Bird, Vienna 1882; Winawer - Bird, Paris 1878; Judd - Bird, New York 1889; Marco - Bird, Hastings 1895; Ringoir - Flear, Chamalieres 2008; Romanov - Potapov, Moscow 2007; Rodriguez - Arencibia, Cienfuegos 1996; Timofeev - Jirka, Goa 2002; Morozevich - Najer, Moscow 1992; Leko - Morozevich, Moscow 2002 (where Black should have played 12...Ne4!).  This is less a systematic analysis of the 5...h5 idea than a general consideration of how this advance plays out in the Bird.  The game selection and analysis is quite useful.

Ivan Sokolov (2009).  The Ruy Lopez Revisted: Offbeat Weapons & Unexplored Resources.  New in Chess.  177-202.  Available at Abe Books and elsewhere, but becoming harder to find, so I recommend you get a copy of this excellent book soon.  Bird's Defense is covered in Chapters 10 (on 5.O-O Bc5 6.d3) and 11 (on 5.O-O Bc5 6.Bc4 -- with consideration of Black's move 5 alternatives).  If you play the 5...Bc5 lines, this book -- along with Marin's piece for ChessBase -- seems indispensable.

Dana Mackenzie (2008-2009).  Bird by Bird Series.  Dana Blogs Chess.  NM Mackenzie's series on the Bird Defense with 5...g6 offers an excellent demonstration of how old opening ideas are still relevant with the proper handling.  After his last post in July 2009, he created this web page so that the series is easy to look through.  He has also done a number of videos at ChessLecture.com (subscription only) on the subject.

John Watson (2004).  "Ruy Lopez, Bird Defense."  JeremySilman.com (archive)
I mentioned this site in my bibliography, but as the Silman site has mostly gone off-line I thought you might find the "Wayback" link useful.  Watson offers up a good collection of games with Bird's 5...h5 line and gives it his endorsement, which says a lot.

Menno Ploeger (1982).  "Spanish, Bird's Defence."  Ed. Raymond Keene.  Modern Chess Theory 4.3: 181-192.  This work only recently came to my attention.  Ploeger offers a great analytic survey of the Bird using all 33 games that Bird himself played with the line, and therefore focused mostly on Bird's experiments with ...h5.

Videos and Online Resources

Video treatments of Bird's Defense are surprisingly rare, and all that I have found discuss the beautiful if flawed game Anderssen - Lange, Breslau 1859, where Black should have played 7...Ne4 with a slight edge as White could have won in the game continuation with 10.Qe1!  The site 365chess has a good collection of games.