Blackburne's Bird Box

by Milica Knezevic on January 18, 2022

The Chess Game: H. Bird vs. J.H. Blackburne, London 1888

Bird vs. Blackburne
  • As you can notice in the game we have: Bird Opening: From Gambit. Mestel Variation.
  • Observe the game itself and figure out what you would do if you traded places with these masterminds of chess.
  • The game was played in London in the year 1888, and it was written down by Joseph Henry Blackburne.
  • The mastery of play exhibited on this board is something we do not get to witness often in daily chess playing, so make sure you study each move with care and interest.

Who Was Henry Bird

  • Henry Edward Bird (Portsea in Hampshire, 14 July 1829– 11 April 1908) was an English chess player, author and accountant.
  • He wrote the books Chess History and Reminiscences and An Analysis of Railways in the United Kingdom.
  • Although Bird was a practising accountant, not a professional chess player, it has been said that he "lived for chess, and would play anybody anywhere, any time, under any conditions."
  • At age 21, Bird was invited to the first international tournament, London 1851. He also participated in tournaments held in Vienna and New York City. In 1858 he lost a match to Paul Morphy at age 28, yet he played high-level chess for another 50 years.
  • In the New York tournament of 1876, Bird received the first brilliancy prize ever awarded, for his game against James Mason.

Who Was Joseph Henry Blackburne

  • Joseph Henry Blackburne (10 December 1841 – 1 September 1924) was a British chess player. Nicknamed "The Black Death", he dominated the British scene during the latter part of the 19th century.
  • Blackburne learned the game at the relatively late age of 17 or 18, but he quickly became a strong player and went on to develop a professional chess career that spanned over 50 years.
  • At one point he was one of the world's leading players, with a string of tournament victories behind him, and popularised chess by giving simultaneous and blindfold displays around the country.
  • Blackburne also published a collection of his own games.
  • In November 1861, Louis Paulsen gave a simultaneous blindfold exhibition in Manchester, beating Blackburne among others; Blackburne was soon thereafter playing chess blindfolded with three players simultaneously.
Joseph Henry Blackburne
  • Less than three years after learning the moves to chess, Blackburne entered the 1862 London International Tournament (the world's first chess round-robin or all-play-all tournament) and defeated Wilhelm Steinitz in their individual game, although Blackburne finished in 9th place.
  • Up to that point, timekeeping was measured with hourglasses, and it was Blackburne who suggested chess clocks.
  • This trip cost Blackburne his job back in Manchester (accounts vary about what it was), and he became a professional chess player.

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1 comment
by Franco on May 24, 2022

Hat’s off. Without engine, this is like a forest like you dunno whats behind of every move.


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