Bird's Opening or the Dutch Attack is a chess opening characterised by the move
According to ChessBase, in master level chess, out of the twenty possible opening moves, 1.f4 ranks sixth in popularity. It is much less popular than the mirror-image English Opening (1.c4), mainly because 1.f4 weakens White's king's position slightly. Grandmasters who have used it with any regularity include Bent Larsen, Lars Karlsson and Mickey Gurevich.
Black's most common response is 1...d5, when the game can take on the character of a reversed Dutch Defence (1.d4 f5). White will then often either fianchetto his king's bishop with Nf3, g3, Bg2, and 0-0 with a reversed Leningrad Dutch; adopt a stonewall formation with pawns on d4, e3, and f4 and attempt a kingside attack; or fianchetto his queen's bishop to increase his hold on the e5 square. Another strategy, by analogy with the Ilyin-Zhenevsky variation of the Dutch Defence, involves White playing e3, Be2, 0-0, d3 and attempting to achieve the break e3-e4 by various means, e.g. Ne5, Bf3, Qe2 and finally e3-e4, or simply Nc3 followed by e4.
The From GambitEdit
Black's sharpest try is 1...e5!?, From's Gambit, named for the Danish chess player Severin From (1828–1895). White can then transpose into the King's Gambit with 2.e4. If he prefers to stay in the Bird's Opening, play can continue 2.fxe5 d6 (2...Nc6 is also possible, when IM Timothy Taylor, in his 2005 book on the Bird's, recommends 3.Nc3! Nxe5 4.e4 intending 5.d4, rather than 3.Nf3?! g5! when Black stands well) 3.exd6 Bxd6. Now White must play 4.Nf3 (and if 4...g5, either 5.g3 g4 6.Nh4 or 5.d4 g4 6.Ne5), avoiding 4.Nc3?? Qh4+ 5.g3 Qxg3+ 5.hxg3 Bxg3 checkmate. 4...Nf6, threatening 5...Nxg4 and 6...Nxh2!, is also possible. This gambit can give Black an overwhelming attack if White goes wrong. Taylor regards it as dubious, but White must play very precisely to squelch Black's attacking chances.
The Hobbs GambitEdit
Another aggressive (but much rarer) response is 1...g5?!, the Hobbs Gambit, with play usually continuing 2.fxg5 h6, a sort of mirror-image Benko Gambit. White can simply return the pawn with 3.g6, leaving Black with a weakened king-side after 3...fxg6. A variant is the Hobbs-Zilbermints Gambit, 1...h6 intending 2...g5; against this, White does well with 2. e4 g5 3. d4!
The flexible 1...Nf6 is also possible. Then if White plays 2.b3?! (2.Nf3 is safer), 2...d6! 3.Bb2 (or 3.Nf3 e5! 4.fxe5 dex5 5.Nxe5?? Qd4!) e5!, a sort of From's Gambit Deferred introduced by International Master Michael Brooks, is dangerous for White, e.g. 4.fxe5 dex5 5.Bxe5 Ng4! 6.Bb2 (6.Bg3 is met the same way) Bd6! and White is in big trouble, since 7.Nf3 Nxh2! threatens 8...Bg3#.
Another popular response is 1...g6, a sort of Modern Defense, which may transpose into a reversed Dutch Defense (if Black plays ...d5 and ...c5), or a Sicilian Defence (if White plays e4 and Black plays ...c5). Black thus prevents white from playing on the a1-h8 diagonal. Also reasonable is 1...c5, hoping for a transposition into the Tal Gambit, a favorable variation of the Sicilian Defence, after 2.e4 d5! 3.exd5 (3.Nc3, the mellifluously-named "Toilet Variation," is also possible) Nf6, but White need not oblige, and may build up more slowly with 2.Nf3, followed by g3, Bg2, d3 and possibly a later e4.
The offbeat 1...b6!? is also known, and more soundly based than the same move after 1.e4 or 1.d4, since 1.f4 does not aid White's development, and weakens the a8-h1 diagonal as the move f3 is no longer available to shore up White's center. Play typically continues 2.e4 Bb7 3.d3. Similarly, 1...b5!?, a form of Polish Defense, is also possible. After the natural 2.e4 Bb7, White has no good way to protect e4 while maintaining his attack on b5, since 3.Nc3? b4 4.Nd5 e6 wins a pawn.
Another offbeat try is Martin Appleberry's 1...Nh6!? with the idea of meeting 2. b3 with 2...e5, another deferred From Gambit, and meeting 2.e4 with 2...d5! However, 2.Nf3 avoids both of these lines.
If Black chooses the symmetrical reply 1...f5, White's most aggressive response is 2. e4, with the possible continuation 2...fxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.g4, the Swiss Gambit. This gambit was named by Aleksander Wagner (1868–1942), a Polish chess player and openings analyst who introduced it in the Swiss correspondence game Wagner–Kostin, 1910–1911.
Encyclopaedia of Chess OpeningsEdit
The Encyclopaedia of Chess Openings has two codes for Bird's Opening, A02 and A03.
- A02: 1.f4
- A03: 1.f4 d5