Henry Bird played this opening 4 times at the Hastings 1895 event and score +1 =2 -1. Which Isn't all that bad considering it's an opening designed to gain some control of the center but doesn't help the development at all. Henry Bird also played the Dutch a couple times as Black as seen last post and did rather well. It goes without saying that Mr. Bird liked the pawn structure and seemed to favor the king side attacking potential that arose from such positions.
The games for rounds 11-15 are here while the remaining 16-21 rounds are here as a reference to the rest of this post. He entered round 11 with 7 points and in the second half of the tournament only managed to gain 2 more points. His play is odd. He favors moves like Kf8 over castling in Round 11 against Mason, round 17 against Tarrasch ( where he really strays and plays an odd looking closed Sicilian where he was typically playing French Defenses) and in Round 20 against Gubsberg whom he finally won a game with this order of play. He wasn't completely off his rocker, he just chose to have this setup and open the h-file for the rook in his games. His younger opponents just seemed to know how to attack the uncastled King and rip open the center before Bird went "bowling" with the h-pawn.
He was an old dog not with too many new tricks in the second half of his games. He had a 115 move draw against Janowsky in Round 16 where in Move 87 he could have won as seen here:
Bird has white and had he advanced the b-pawn followed by Kb5 he would have had a won position. Instead, they were under time pressure and a rapid fire dance of the bishops followed when a position was reached for the third time a draw was called.
Pillsbury, who was the hero in the event had a most fascinating approach to Bird's lethal Evan's Gambit. He took on the challenge of f7:
Schiffer's comments on the game that the Pillsbury's handling of the gambit with Bd6 is taken from the days of Anderssen, Mayet and Keiseritzky. Which means, Pillsbury was well read on the masters of his time in preparation to this event. If there is one game to watch, its round 14 Bird vs Pillsbury.
Overall, it seemed Mr. Bird was passed his prime indeed as it showed up in his end game play and the fact that he seemed to be a predictable attacker that the new blood could adapt to. I still admire his play given his age and he still had a couple jabs at the young folks. His love for the game made this accountant a good contender none the less despite his 15th place finish in this event.
Next up will be Blackburne as I will cover the top 10 finishers in this event. The "Black death" finished 10th but was colorful in the spirit of his partying. Perhaps Blackburne is to Chessloser as Keiseritzky was to Blunderprone? Stay tuned ( if this doesn't bore you)