Henry Edward Bird (1829-1908)
by Bill Wall

Henry Edward Bird was born at Portsea in Hampshire, England on July 14, 1829 (Gaige, BCM, and other sources incorrectly state 1830). He was the son of Henry Bird (1799-1869), a victualler and an accountant (Sunnucks and Harding say he was a shopkeeper; Sipple says he was an accountant, then a book seller; Renette says he was in the jewelry business and a linen draper, then an accountant). His grandfather was a watchmaker and silversmith in Bristol, England. His mother was Mary Ellen Baker. The Birds were originally from Somerset. Henry Edward Bird's siblings were Jane Bird (1825-1909), William Baker Bird (1827-1848), Charles Grey Bird (1831-1918), James Pidding Bird (1933-1917), Jane Maria Bird (1836-1837), Edward Daniel Pidding Bird (1838-1920), Louisa Maria Bird (1840-1931), Emily Fanny Stopford Bird (1845-1862), Harriett Eliza Bird (1846-1846), and Eliza Sophia Bird (1848-1848).

In 1836, his family settled in London. The family's address was 30 Windsor Terrace, City Road, in the parish of St. Lukes, Finsbury, north London. (source: 1841 London census)

At the age of 10, Henry Edward Bird learned how to play chess by watching the chess players at Raymond's Coffee House in London. (source: Sunnucks, The Encyclopedia of Chess, 1970, p. 27. Renette says he learned chess at age 15 in 1844).

In 1844, the Bird family moved to 13 Clapham Road Place in Lambeth, London. Bird senior owned the Burton Coffee House, Freeman's Court, 102 Cheapside, London until 1851.

In 1844, he learned chess after noticing men playing chess at Raymond's Coffee House near the City Road Lake. He remembered Dr. Michaelson of the Morning Post, and Mr. Finley, a farrier (a craftsman who trims and shoes horses' hooves), were the respective chess leaders, and a cup of coffee the usual stake. (source: Bird, Chess History and Reminiscences, 1893, p.114)

In 1845, he visited Goode's Chess-Room at 39 Ludgate Hill, London, to play chess. There, he met Josef Kling (1811-1876), Kuiper, and James Mucklow (1820-1897), the principle chess professionals at Goode's.

In 1846, Henry Edward Bird started visiting the coffee house later known as Simpson's Divan, 100 and 101 Strand, London. The place was opened by Samuel Ries (Reiss) and called Ries' Grand Cigar Divan at the time. There, he met, Edward Lowe (1794-1880), Elijah Williams (1809-1854), Henry Thomas Buckle (1821-1862), Samuel Standidge Boden (1826-1882), and J. Finch. He was a constant visitor for more than 50 years, from 1846 until it closed in 1903. At the time, Simpson's Divan was the principal public arena for first class chess practice and development. Bird later played for a shilling per rapid or blitz game that he preferred.

In 1846, Henry Edward Bird first worked as a clerk for the accounting firm of Alexander and John Young (Young & Co.). Henry Edward Bird was following in the footsteps of his father and older brother as an accountant. Most of Henry Edward Bird's working time was spent on bankruptcies.

In 1847, Samuel Boden became Bird's chess teacher and friend.

In 1847, he became partner in the firm Coleman, Turquand, Youngs and Co.

In 1847, Bird received the odds of a pawn and move from Henry Buckle (1821-1862). Buckle, at the time, was the strongest amateur player in England. Buckle won 9 and lost 7 games, with no draws.

In 1848, Samuel Reiss (Ries) expanded his Grand Cigar Divan by joining forces with John Simpson (1808-1864), renaming the place "Simpson's Grand Divan Tavern."

In 1848, the Bird family moved to 16 Harleyford Place (renamed to 274 Kennington Park Road in 1865) in Surrey.

In 1848, he had his first chess game published in Chess Player's Chronicle, Vol. 9, 1848, p. 272. Black played a Sicilian Defense against Charles French Smith (1828-1868) and lost after 23 moves.

In January-February 1849, he participated in a small-scale chess tournament at Simpson's Divan. Bird got knocked out in the first round by George Webb Medley (1826-1898). Medley won 2 and lost 1, with no draws. Henry Thomas Buckle won the event.

In 1849, Bird beat Buckle at pawn and move odds, scoring 7 wins.

In 1849, Bird played a skittles match with Buckle, but gave no results.

In May 1849, he played a chess match against Charles French Smith (1828-1868) at the Whittington Club in London. (source: Bell's Life in London, May 29, 1849 and Chess Player's Chronicle, Vol. 11, 1849)

In June 1849, Bird and George Medley agreed to play a match in London. Medley won 6 games, lost 3 games, and 2 games were drawn. (source: Illustrated London News, June 23, 1849)

In another march, Bird lost again to Medley. Medley won 4 and lost 2 games.

In 1849, he frequented the City Road Chess Club in Islington.

In 1850, he played a match with H. Hughes at odds in London. He lost 5 games, winning none and drawing none.

In 1850, he had a rematch with Hughes at odds and won with 5 wins, no losses, and no draws.

In August 1850, Bird defeated Charles French Smith, scoring 10.5 out of 14. It was a match in which all the games opened with an Evan's Gambit. (source: Illustrated London News, Aug 31, 1850, p. 191). Bird and Smith were best friends. Unfortunately, Smith committed suicide at the Grove Hall Lunatic Asylum in 1868.

In September 1850, Bird played a match against Edward Lowe at Simpson's Divan for a stake of 5 British pounds (about $700 in today's currency). Bird won the match, winning 7 games and losing 4 games. (source: Illustrated London News, Oct 19, 1850)

In May 1851, he was invited to the world's first international chess tournament at the St. George's Chess Club, Polytechnic Building, Cavendish Square in London. Bird was the youngest of the participants at age 21. He was eliminated in the first round by Bernhard Horwitz (1807-1885). Horwitz won 2, lost 1, and drew 1. The event was won by Adolf Anderssen (1818-1879). Horwitz took 7th place. (source: Chess Player's Chronicle, Vol. 12, 1851, pp. 181-184)

In August-September 1851, Bird challenged Bernhard Horwitz to a match. It was played at the St. George's Chess Club. The winner would receive 16 British pounds (over $2,000 in today's currency) and the loser would receive 4 pounds (about $550 in today's currency). Horwitz won the match. Bird won 3 games, lost 7 games, and drew 4 games. A return match was suggested, but it never materialized.

Bird also played some offhand games against Adolf Anderssen (18 games) and Lionel Kieseritzky (1806-1853) at Simpson's Divan. Kieseritzky won 8 and lost 2 against Bird.

By 1852, Bird and Buckle were playing on equal terms. Buckle was perhaps the last person who could give odds to Bird.

In 1854, he was playing chess at Kling's Chess and Coffee Rooms at 454 New Oxford Street in London, run by Josef Kling.

On October 10, 1855, he married Eliza Cain at St. Mary's in Lambeth.

In November-December 1856, he played a match with the Austrian profession chess player Ernst Falkbeer (1819-1885) in London, winning 2 games and losing 1 game. The games were played at Purssell's Coffee House (Restaurant), Cornhill, London.

In December 1856, Bird, in a statement before a bankruptcy court, had to draw up a list of creditors of a wine merchant, which led to the debunking of a forger.

In December 1856 through April 1857, he played Falkbeer again, but lost with 4 wins, 5 losses and 5 draws. The games were played at Purssell's Coffee House. (source: Chess Player's Chronicle, 1859, p. 97-98)

In 1857, three London firms of accountants, J E Coleman and Company (established in 1840), Turquand and Edwards (established in 1850) and Youngs and Company (established in 1840), combined to form Coleman, Turquand, Youngs and Company. On the death of J E Coleman in 1869, the firm became known as Turquand Youngs and Company and remained so until the mid-20th century. The firm was a predecessor of Ernst and Young. Henry Bird became a partner in this firm.

In 1857, he was a regular visitor of the St. George's Chess Club on King Street, St. James, London.

In July 1857, he played several offhand games of chess at Purrsell's with Alphonse Delannoy (1806-1883) of Paris.

In 1857, Bird played several off-hand games with Adolf Anderssen at Simpson's Divan and at the St. George's Chess Club.

In August 1858, he lost a match to Paul Morphy (1837-1884), played at Simpson's Divan. Morphy won with 3 wins and no losses or draws.

In late August 1858, he played in the 2nd British Chess Association (BCA — formerly named in 1862) Congress at Birmingham. It was his first tournament in 7 years. In the first round, he scored one win and one loss to Robert Barnett Brien (1827-1873) before Bird retired ("pressing engagements" in London) and forfeited his 3rd game. The event was won by Johann Loewenthal (1810-1876). (source: Chess Monthly, Vol. 2, 1858, pp. 317-320)

In December 1858, he was playing chess with Loewenthal and others at the St. James Chess Club.

In March-April 1859, he played in the London Purssell's Handicap chess tournament. He was beaten by Ernst Falkbeer 1819-1885) after 4 games. The event was won by Falkbeer.

On April 26, 1859, Bird was one of 5 opponents (also Barnes, Boden, Riviere, and Loewenthal) that Morphy played simultaneously at the St. James Chess Club in London. Morphy won his game with Bird. Bird was Morphy's guide around London. (source: Chess Player's Chronicle, 1859, p. 156)

In late April 1859, Bird played several informal games against Jules Arnous de Riviere (1830-1905) of France.

In June through September 1859, Bird played a few chess games with Daniel Harrwitz (1823-1884) of Paris. The games were played at Simpson's Divan.

In 1859, Brid's favorite opponent at Simpson's Divan was Samuel Boden.

In March-May 1860, he played in the London St. James's Chess Club Handicap tournament. He was later eliminated by Loewenthal. The winner of the event was Peter Alexandrovich Sabouroff (1835-1918), a diplomat who worked at the Russian embassy in London.

From 1860 on, Bird was more involved in his accountancy career. He became a specialist in railroad accounting.

In late May 1860, he sailed to New York and later went to Ontario for Turquand's in connection with accounts of the Great Western Railway of Canada. It was the first railway in the province of Ontario. Bird also worked on the accounts of the New York Central Railroad.

In September 1861, Bird was named as a participant of the 4th congress of the British Chess Association in Bristol but was unable to play.

In 1862, he played a few offhand games with Anderssen and Wilhelm Steinitz (1836-1900). He played 16 games with Steinitz with even results.

In 1862, he was living at 16 Williams Terrace, Lorrimore Square, London. He lived there until 1866.

In 1863, Bird was involved in the bankruptcy of Joseph Morgan and Francis Adams, proprietors of the Morgan & Adams Bank in Hereford, England.

In 1865, Bird was involved in the auditing of the Asiatic Banking Corporation. He was also involved in the auditing of Overend, Gurney and Company (a London wholesale discount bank). The bank collapsed and went bankrupt in 1866 and was a major cause of the British Panic of 1866.

In 1865, Bird visited the United States for a second time on business. He represented Coleman, Turquand, Youngs and Company to examine the accounts of the Atlantic and Great Western Railroad. He was the leading auditor of the Atlantic and Great Western Railway, which merged in 1865 and established a railway connection between New York and St. Louis. He worked in Philadelphia and made trips to New York to play chess. He played some chess at the New York Chess Club in December 1865. He played some offhand games with George Henry Mackenzie (1837-1891).

In February 1866, he played and defeated George Henry Mackenzie in an Evans Gambit at the New York Chess Club. He then returned to London.

In 1866, he published An Analysis of Railways in the United Kingdom.

In 1866, Bird played several offhand games with Rev. George Alcock MacDonnell (1830-1899) at Simpson's Divan.

In June-July 1866, he took part in the first Challenge Cup tournament of the British Chess Association (BCA), the first unofficial British chess championship (it was open to British players only). Bird lost 0-3 to Cecil Valentine De Vere (1846-1875) and 1-3 to James Innes Minchin (1825-1903). Matches were the best of 5 games. De Vere won the event. There were only 5 players due to the large entry fee and only one prize (a silver cup). The tournament was played at the St. James Hall, the London Chess Club, the St. George's Chess Club, and Simpson's Divan. (source: Chess World, Vol. 2, 1866, p. 217)

In July 1866, Bird played a few offhand games with Adolf Anderssen at Simpson's Divan.

In September-November 1866, he played a match with Wilhelm Steinitz at the newly formed Westminster Chess Club at Haxell's Exeter Hall Hotel, on the Strand. Bird won 5, lost 7, and drew 5. The games were played in the evening, after a full day's work as an accountant by Bird, which fatigued him. The match was for the first person to win 11 games, but Bird received a telegram and was called to New York and Pennsylvania on business to perform another independent audit. He forfeited the rest of his games and Steinitz won the match. Bird conceded the stakes, 25 British pounds, (over $2,500 in today's currency) to Steinitz and expected a chance for a rematch when he returned around Christmas time. Steinitz did not agree to a rematch. Their relationship quickly deteriorated. Later, Steinitz gave bad reviews to Bird's chess books.

In January 1867, Bird was back in London from the United States. He was listed as a participant in another Westminster Chess Club handicap tournament, but he did not play due to his accountant work.

In 1867, he moved to 5 St. George's Road in Wimbledon (later renumbered to 10 St. George's Road).

In 1867, Bird uncovered the dubious management of the Atlantic and Great Western Railway to the shareholders. He retired as auditor of the Atlantic and Great Western Railway. He then left his accounting firm of Coleman, Turquand, Youngs and Company to which he belonged for 20 years. He entered in another partnership with Edgar Lewis and worked as an independent accountant.

In late 1867, he and his partner, Edgar Lewis, were working as public accountants at No. 1 Gresham Buildings, Basinghall Street, London.

In 1868, he was playing chess with Boden and De Vere at the Westminster Chess Club. He was also playing chess at Simpson's Divan.

In June 1868, he was elected to the managing and general committee of the British Chess Association (BCA).

In 1868, he published a 9-page pamphlet called Railway Accounts: A Comprehensive Analysis of the Capital and Revenue of the Railways of the United Kingdom; With a Few Observations Thereon. It was a table of raised capital for United Kingdom railroad companies.

On October 15, 1868, his wife, Eliza, age 39, died at their home in Wimbledon. They had no children.

In November 1868 through March 1869, he played in the 2nd British Chess Association Challenge Cup for the championship of Britain (British players only). He took 6th place out of 11 participants. Joseph Henry Blackburne (1841-1924) won the event after a play-off with De Vere. The games were played at the London Chess Club, the Westminster Chess Club, St. George;s Chess Club, and at Simpson's Divan.

On January 19, 1869, his father, Henry, age 70, died at St. Thomas's Hospital, London.

In 1869, Bird left Wimbledon and settled in the heart of London again. He was a bachelor for the rest of his life.

In October 1870, his partnership with Edgar Lewis dissolved. Bird was soon declared bankrupt and was forbidden from practicing as an accountant. Bird then turned to chess for his living.

From November 1870 through June 1871, he played in the City of London Chess Club Handicap tournament. The event was won by William Norwood Potter (1840-1895).

In January 1871, Bird and Lewis declared bankruptcy (source: The London Gazette, Nov 7, 1882, p. 4968). Bird could no longer work as an accountant on bankruptcy cases himself. It wasn't until 1883 that Bird was finally released of all debts and legal constraints.

In 1871, he moved to 36 Camberwell New Road in Surrey, London. He later rented a room at 104 Stanley Street in Belgrave.

In 1871, the first known portrait of Bird appeared in The Gentleman's Journal, published by Heinrich Meyer.

In October 1872, he returned to Simpson's Divan to play chess again, after a break of several years. One of his many opponents was William Norwood Potter.

From March-December 1873, he played John Wisker (1846-1884), the holder of the British Association Challenge Cup (in 1870 and 1872), in a series of four matches. They played their match at the St, George's Chess Club and Simpson's Divan. The first match, from March through April 1873, was for a stake of 5 pounds, but was drawn. Both players won 6 games each with no draws. In the second match, from April through May 1873, Bird won with 6 wins, 4 losses, and 2 draws. In the third match, from October-December 1873, Wisker won with 10 wins, 8 losses, and 3 draws. All of these games were played at Simpson's. In the fourth match, played in December 1873, Bird won with 5 wins, 3 losses, and 1 draw. They played 54 games together, and in the end, Bird came out slightly on top. The match was arranged by Johann Loewenthal (1810-1876) and Boden.

In 1873, he played a few offhand games with George Gossip at Simpson's Divan.

In 1873, Bird became an honorary member of the City of London Chess Club. The club had about 200 members.

In 1873, he wrote, A Caution to Investors. It was a warning to future investors of the Atlantic and Great Western Railway Company, which was having troubles. Bird invested in the railroad company and lost heavily.

By 1873, he was suffering from gout.

In July-August 1873, he played in the Vienna international tournament and tied with Louis Paulsen (1833-1891) for 5th place. Steinitz won the event after a play-off against Blackburne. The tournament was played at the Wiener Schachgesellschaft.

In October 1873, he joined the editorial board of the City of London Chess Magazine, edited by W. N. Potter.

In November1873 through March 1874, he played in the City of London Chess Club Handicap knockout chess tournament but was knocked out early by De Vere. The event had 48 participants.

In March-May 1874, he played a chess match with John Lord, one of London's most active chess amateurs. Bird won 7, lost 2, and drew 1.

In May 1874, he gave a 24-board simul at the City of London Chess Club, winning 18, losing 2, and drawing 4.

In June 1874, he proposed a new chess variant which played on an 8×10 board and contained two new pieces: guard (combining the moves of the rook and knight), equerry (combining the bishop and knight), and double knight. Bird's chess inspired José Raúl Capablanca to create another chess variant, Capablanca Chess, which differs from Bird's chess only by the starting position. (source: City of London Chess Magazine, June 1874, pp. 111-114)

On July 3, 1874, his mother died.

In September 1874, the restaurant where the City of London Chess Club met burnt down. The club moved to Horns Tavern.

In 1874, he moved to Lupus Street, Pimlico, London.

In October 1874 through March 1875, the London City Handicap chess tournament was held. There were 64 participants. Bird was knocked out in the 4th round.

In March 1875, he resigned from the City of London Chess Club over opposition of an annual fine to some of the prominent chess members. (source: City of London Chess Magazine, May 1875, p. 101)

In 1875, he played in the Glasgow Counties Chess Association (CCA) Handicap chess tournament.

In 1875, he wrote Chess Masterpieces: A Collection of 150 Choice Games of the past half century... The book, published by Dean & Son in London, was dedicated to Ignatz Kolisch (1837-1889). This was Bird's first chess book which he sold by subscription or subsidized by his friends.

In December 1875, he moved to New York. He played chess at the Café International chess room at 294 Bowery, New York, taking on all comers.

In 1875/76, he played a match with James Mason (1849-1905). Bird won 4 games, lost 11 games, and drew 4 games.

After his match with Mason, Bird gave a 20-board simultaneous display at a New York chess club, winning 15, drawing 5 and losing none.

In 1876, Bird found work in Brooklyn as compositor of deeds.

In March-June 1876, he played in the New York Café International chess tournament and took 3rd place. The event was won by George Mackenzie.

In August 1876, he played in the 4th American Chess Congress at Philadelphia. Bird was the only player from Europe. It was a 9-player double-round event. Bird took 3rd place, behind James Mason (the winner) and Max Judd (1851-1906).

In 1876, Bird played Edward Alberoni (born in 1840) in a match in Philadelphia. Bird won the match with 19 wins, 18 losses, and 3 draws.

In September-October 1876, he played in the 1876 New York Clipper Centennial Tournament at the New York Chess Club and received the first brilliancy prize ever awarded (a silver cup), for his game with James Mason. Bird won the brilliancy prize with a queen sacrifice. It was unanimously awarded by the judges. Bird tied for 2nd-3rd place with Eugene Delmar (1841-1909). The tournament was won by James Mason. In this event, draws did not count and were not replayed. (source: Chess Player's Chronicle, 1877, p43)

Bird — Mason, New York, 1876, 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.exd5 exd5 5.Nf3 Bd6 6.Bd3 O-O7.O-O h6 8.Re1 Nc6 9.Nb5 Bb4 10.c3 Ba5 11.Na3 Bg4 12.Nc2 Qd7 13.b4 Bb6 14.h3 Bh5 15.Ne3 Rfe8 16.b5 Ne7 17.g4 Bg6 18.Ne5 Qc8 19.a4 c6 20.bxc6 bxc6 21.Ba3 Ne4 22.Qc2 Ng5 23.Bxe7 Rxe7 24.Bxg6 fxg6 25.Qxg6 Nxh3+ 26.Kh2 Nf4 27.Qf5 Ne6 28.Ng2 Qc7 29.a5 Bxa5 30.Rxa5 Rf8 31.Ra6! (Queen sacrifice) 31...Rxf5 32.gxf5 Nd8 33.Nf4 Qc8 34.Nfg6 Re8 35.Nxc6 Qc7+ 36.Nce5 Qxc3 37.Re3 Qd2 38.Kg2 Qxd4 39.f6 gxf6 40.Rxf6 Ne6 41.Rg3 Ng5 42.Ng4 Kg7 43.Nf4 Qe4+ 44.Kh2 Nh7 45.Nh5+ Kh8 46.Rxh6 Qc2 47.Nhf6 Re7 48.Kg2 d4 49.Ne5 Qc8 50.Ng6+ 1-0

In 1876/77, Bird spent some time in Canada as an honored guest of the Montreal Chess Club.

In 1877, Sam Loyd (1841-1911) made a drawing of Henry Bird which was published in the Scientific American Supplement.

In 1877, he wrote The Chess Openings, Considered Critically and Practically. He compiled his manuscript during a tour in American and Canada. It was published in 1878 by Dean & Son at 160 Fleet Street. The book was reviewed in the Chess Player's Chronicle, Nov 1, 1878, pp. 241-244)

Bird returned to London around the end of 1877. On his return, an entertainment in honor of him took place at the City of London Chess Club. (source: Chess Player's Chronicle, 1878, p. 64)

In early 1878, he founded a new accountancy firm in London, although still fighting bankruptcy from 1870.

In June-July 1878, he played in the Paris International Tourney. He tied for 4th-5th with Mackenzie (both scored 13 out of 22) but lost the playoff 0-2 to Mackenzie. Johannes Zukertort (1842-1888) won the event. Bird won 700 francs (over $2,400 in today's currency). (source: Chess Player's Chronicle, 1878, pp. 162,185, 189, 212)

In 1878, he began his chess editorship at the London Times.

In 1879, he played in the City of London Chess Club Handicap chess tournament and took 2nd place. The winner was James Thomas Heppell. (source: Chess Player's Chronicle, 1879, pp 133, 157, 181-182)

In August 1879, he played in the London Loewenthal Cup, taking 1st place, defeating Blackburne and Rev. George Alcock MacDonnell.

In 1879, he played a match against Blackburne at Simpson's Divan in London. Blackburne won with 5 wins, 2 losses, and no draws. (source: Chess Player's Chronicle, 1879, p. 206)

In the 1880s, he rented a place at 5 Heygate Street, in the Walworth district of southeast London. Zukertort was his neighbor.

In January 1880, he played in the Boston, Lincolnshire, England Handicap chess tournament and took 3rd place. Macdonnel and Wayte tied for 1st. (source: Chess Player's Chronicle, 1880, p. 36-37)

In 1880, he played in the Boston, Lincolnshire, England Consolidation Handicap chess tournament and took 1st place.

In July 1880, he played in the Masters' Tourney of the Wiesbaden Congress, held at the Hotel d'Angleterre in Wiesbaden, Germany. He tied for 6th-7th with the score of 9 out of 15. Blackburne, Englisch, and Schwarz all tied for 1st. (source: Chess Player's Chronicle, 1880, pp. 160, 183-184 and Chess Monthly, Vol. 1, 1880, pp.353-358)

In late July 1880, he arrived in Brunswick (Braunschweig), Germany, but it was too late for him to participate in the master chess tournament of the West German Congress. Bird missed his train and then tried to register for the tournament by telegraph. Bird addressed the telegraph wrong and it remained unopened. He showed up one day late and asked for admission to the tournament. The tournament committee could only admit him by a unanimous vote by the contestants. Two players, Wilfried Paulsen and Wemmers, objected, and Bird was not allowed to play. Bird would have been the only player from England if he had played. He then played a short match with Gaebler from Brunswick, one of the prize winners in the main tournament. Bird won the first game of the match, and Gaebler the second. Then Gaebler declined to continue. (sources: Deutsche Schachzeitung, 1881, p. 179-180 and Chess Monthly, Vol. 1, 1880, p. 358)

In August, Bird visited Hamburg and Berlin to play some offhand chess. He played consultation games and gave simuls from 10 am to midnight for 12 consecutive days. (sources: Chess Player's Chronicle, 1880, p. 232 and Chess Monthly, Vol. 2, 1880, p. 2)

In November 1880, Bird released a long pamphlet, "Farewell to Chess," in which he announced that he was relinquishing any further active participation in public chess play. He also wrote about his grievances in the columns of the Glasgow Herald. He complained of arranged games in international tournaments. He wrote that English chess was declining due to lack of chivalry and willingness to play. (source: Chess Player's Chronicle, 1881, pp. 6, 19 and Glasgow Weekly Herald, Dec 25, 1880)

At the end of 1880, he disbanded his accountancy firm and left London for some time.

In January 1881, he turned down a challenge match from Gunsberg and only wanted to play a match with Steinitz for the world championship. (source: Chess Player's Chronicle, 1881, p. 36)

By 1881, he was now playing chess and was a regular guest at Purssell's Chess Rooms in London. He avoided most of his former colleagues who frequented Simpson's Divan.

In 1882, he returned to Lambeth and stayed there until his death in 1908.

In 1882, he published Chess Practice: Being A Condensed And Simplified Record Of The Actual Openings In The Finest Games, Including The Whole Of The Beautiful Specimens Contained In Chess Masterpieces. It was published in London by Sampson, Low & Co. It was reprinted in 1892. The book was reviewed in British Chess Magazine, 1882, pp. 130-131.

In May-June 1882, he played in the Vienna International Tournament. He had to forfeit 5 games due to gout and illness. He ended up in 15th place (out of 18) with 12 points out of 24. In one game, James Mason won against Bird, but some of the players that watched the game alleged that Mason had exceeded his time limit. In spite of Bird's resignation, they entered a protest with the Tournament Committee, who awarded the point to Bird instead of Mason. Steinitz and Winawer tied for 1st place. (sources: British Chess Magazine, Vol 2, 1882, pp. 213-216, 261-263, and Chess Player's Chronicle, 1882, pp. 229-231, 241-243, 265-266, 277-278, 289-290, 301-302)

The Mason-Bird episode was described in length with many opinions in Chess Monthly, Vol. 3, 1882, pp. 327-329)

On December 2, 1882, he began a weekly chess column for the Bolton Journal and District News in Lancashire and for the Tyldesley Weekly Journal and Atherton News in Yorkshire. He also had a chess column in the Sheffield and Rotherham Independent. He was one of the first chess columnists who syndicated his chess columns.

In April-June 1883, he played in the London International Chess Tournament. He took 10th place, scoring 12 out of 26. The event was won by Zukertort. (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 3, 1883, pp. 179-180, 221-232, 262-268 and Chess Player's Chronicle, June 20, 1883, pp. 17-18)

In June 1883, he gave a simultaneous exhibition during the Sheffield and District Chess Association event. He won 20, lost 6, and drew 7. 6 other games were unfinished. (source: Chess Player's Chronicle, June 6, 1883, p. 3)

In July 1883, he played in the 3rd German Chess Federation Congress in Nuremberg. He tied for 6th-7th place with 10.5 out of 18, winning a little over 5 British pounds. The event was won by Szymon Winawer (1838-1919). (sources: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 3, 1883, pp. 301-304 and Chess Player's Chronicle, 1883, pp. 65-66, 74)

In October-November 1883, he played in the Handicap Tournament at Purssell's Chess Rooms and took 1st place. (source: Chess Monthly, Vol. 5, 1883, p. 97)

In 1883-84, he was involved in accountancy again and worked hard on statistical tables.

In 1884, Bird relinquished the editorship of his chess column in the Sheffield Independent.

In April 1884, he was the umpire between the 12th annual Oxford vs Cambridge chess match, held at the St. George's Chess Club, 47 Albemarle Street, Piccadilly. Cambridge won. (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 4, 1884, pp. 204-206)

In 1884, he wrote some tables on the railway interests of England, but they were never published. (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 4, 1884, p. 284)

In July-August 1884, he played in the 19th Counties Chess Association tournament in Bath. He took 3rd place (winning 2 pounds, or about $250 in today's currency). The top division was won by William Wayte (1829-1898). Bird won the second Handicap tournament. (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 4, 1884, pp. 324-327 and Chess Player's Chronicle, 1884, pp. 72-73)

From 1884 through 1888, he wrote a pamphlet called Bird's Modern Chess in 6 parts (it was supposed to have been 10 parts). It was published by James Wade, 18 Tavistock Street, Covent Garden, London. Cost was 1 shilling (over $20 in today's currency). It was a sort of continuation of Chess Masterpieces. Parts II and III was published in 1885. Parts IV was published in 1886. Part V, 36 pages, was published in 1887 and was devoted exclusively to the Evans Gambit. Part VI was published in 1887 and contained 62 games. In this pamphlet, Bird suggested H (horse) should be substituted for Kt (Knight), and C (Castle) for R (Rook). The money to print Bird's pamphlet came from subscribers. (source: Chess Monthly, Vol. 6, 1884, p. 35)

In November 1884, he was umpire in the chess match between Lancashire and Yorkshire, played in Manchester. Lancashire won the match.

In November 1884, he gave a 20-board simul at the Athenaeum Chess Club and at the Manchester Chess Club in Manchester. He also played a 9-board simul at the St. Anne's Chess Club. Out of the 49 games played, Bird won 32, lost 4, and drew 10, with 3 unfinished. (source: Chess Monthly, Vol. 6, 1884, p. 99)

In 1885, the president of the British Chess Association (BCA) was Lord Tennyson. One of its vice-presidents was Lord Randolph Churchill. The auditor of the BCA for several years was Henry Bird. A committee member (Sir Robert Peel) actually said that they wanted to secure the services of Mr. Bird, because, "a bird in hand is worth two in the bush." (sources: Chess Player's Chronicle, 1885, pp. 319-320 and Chess Monthly, Vol. 6, 1885, p. 162)

In February 1885, he gave a 18-board simultaneous exhibition at the North Herts Chess Club. He won 13, lost 1, and drew 4. (sources: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 5, 1885, p. 108 and Chess Player's Chronicle, February 25, 1885, p. 382)

In March 1885, he was elected honorary member of the Manchester Chess Club.

In April 1885, he gave a 20-board at the Junior Chess Club, Vickers's Hotel, Huddersfield. He won 19 and lost 1. (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 5, 1885, p. 174)

In May 1885, Bird was unanimously elected as an honorary member of the St. George's Chess Club. (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 5, 1885, p. 228)

In May 1885, he played a match against Rev. Arthur B. Skipworth (1830-1898) at the St. George's Chess Club. Bird won with 5 wins, 2 losses, and no draws. (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 5, 1885, p. 229)

In June 1885, he gave a 17-board simultaneous exhibition at the Leeds Chess Club. He won 13, lost 2, and drew 2. source: Chess Player's Chronicle, July 1, 1885, pp. 38, 231)

In June-July 1885, he played in the new British Chess Association (also called the British Chess Federation) championship, held at Simpson's Grand Divan in London. He tied for 2nd-3rd with Antony Alfred Geoffrey Guest (1856-1925), scoring 12 out of 15. They split 25 guineas (worth over $2,000 in today's currency). The event was won by Isidor Gunsberg (1854-1930). (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 5, 1885, pp. 268-272 and Chess Player's Chronicle, July 8, 1885, p. 49)

In 1885, he played in the London British Chess Association Consolation tournament. He tied for 2nd. (source: Chess Player's Chronicle, July 8, 1885, p. 49)

In July 1885, he played in the 4th Congress of the German Chess Association at Hamburg. He tied for 11th-12th place, scoring 8 out of 14. The event was won by Isidor Gunsberg. (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 5, 1885, pp. 316-318 and Chess Player's Chronicle, Sep 2, 1885, p. 85)

In August 1885, he tied for 2nd with Emil Schallopp (1843-1919) in the 20th Counties Chess Association (CCA) master tournament at Hereford. Both scored 7.5 out of 10. The event was won by Blackburne. Bird won 20 British pounds, about $2,600 in today's currency. (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 5, 1885, pp. 330-334 and Chess Player's Chronicle, Sep 2, 1885, p. 85-86)

In September 1885, he gave a 21-board simul at the Maidstone Junior Liberal Association Chess Club. He won 20 and drew 1. (source: Chess Monthly, Vol. 7, 1885, p. 33)

In January-February 1886, he played in the London Purssell's Handicap tournament but did poorly. He had been ill during the tournament.

In February 1886, he played 13 members of the British Chess Club (BCC), located at 37 King Street, Covent Garden, London. He won 12 and lost 1. (source: Chess Monthly, Vol. 7, 1886, p. 164).

In February-March 1886, he played in the first British Chess Club (BCC) master tournament. He tied for 2nd with Gunsberg and split 20 British pounds ($1,400 each in today's currency). The event was won by Blackburne. (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 6, 1886, p. 160 and Chess Player's Chronicle, Mar 24, 1886, p. 433)

In April 1886, he was the umpire between the 14th annual Oxford vs Cambridge chess match, held at the St. George's Chess Club. Cambridge won. (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 6, 1886, pp. 171-173)

In April 1886, he wrote that the first world championship match was a disappointment because of the sameness and dullness of the openings, the lack of originality, and the absence of well-fought contests. (source: The Times (London), April 16, 1886)

In May-June 1886, he drew a match with Amos Burn of Liverpool, played at Simpson's Divan in London. Both had 9 wins and 9 losses (no draws). They played several games in one day during the match. No stakes were involved in the match, however, Robert Steel (1839-1903), the organizer of the match, gave Bird 10 British pounds for his efforts (about $1,500 in today's currency). (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 6, 1886, pp. 294-295 and Chess Monthly, Vol. 7, 1886, p. 229)

In June 1886, he played a match with Isidor Gunsberg at the British Chess Club in London for a stake of 5 British pounds a side. Gunsberg won with 5 wins, 1 loss, and 3 draws. (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 6, 1886, pp. 295)

In July 1886, he played in the Master Tourney of the second annual British Chess Association (BCA) Congress, held in the Victoria Hall of the Criterion, Piccadilly. He took last place win 2 wins, 9 losses, and 1 draw. He was in bad health at the time, suffering from gout. Blackburne won after a play-off with Amos Burn (1846-1925). (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 6, 1886, pp. 339-360 and Chess Player's Chronicle, July 28, 1886, p. 17)

In August 1886, he played in the 21st Counties Chess Association tournament in Nottingham. He took 5th place, scoring 5.5 out of 9. The event was won by Amos Burn. (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 6, 1886, pp. 399 Chess Player's Chronicle, August 1886, p. 25)

In October 1886, he gave an 18-board simul at Wigan, Greater Manchester, England. He won 16, lost 1, and drew 1. (source: Chess Monthly, Vol. 8, 1886, p. 35)

In late October 1886, he gave an 18-board simul at the Leeds Chess Club, winning 14, losing 1, and drawing 3. (source: Chess Monthly, Vol. 8, 1886, p. 35)

On November 27, 1886, he gave a 21-board simultaneous exhibition at the British Chess Club. He won 17 and lost 4 after 3 hours of play. (sources: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 7, 1887, p. 27 and Chess Monthly, Vol. 8, 1886, p. 97)

In 1887, Bird published his Modern Chess pamphlet, Part V, devoted to the Evans Gambit. It was reviewed by the British Chess Magazine, Vol. 7, 1887, pp. 234-240)

In 1887, he gave a 16-board simul at the Mechanics' Institute Chess Club in Nottingham.

In February 1887, he gave a 15-board simul at the Putney Chess Club. He won 13 and drew 2. (source Chess Monthly, Vol. 8, 1887, p. 163)

In August 1887, he played in the 22nd annual Counties Chess Association tournament, held at the Stamford Hotel in Stamford, England. Bird took 3rd-5th. The event was won by Joseph Henry Blake (1859-1951). (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 7, 1887, pp. 313-314 and Chess Player's Chronicle, Jun-Sep 1887, p. 22)

In August 1887, Bird made an effort to organize a chess tournament to commemorated Queen Victoria's Jubilee. The Jubilee Chess Tournament was to be held in the latter part of 1887. Bird created a circular about the proposed event, which was handed out to chess players and published in several chess magazines. Leopold Hoffer (1842-1913) of the British Chess Association boycotted this tournament. (source: Chess Monthly, Vol. 9, 1887, pp. 35-39) In 1887, he published Bird's Modern Chess and Chess Masterpieces. It included almost 207 games, almost half by Bird.

In October 1887, he gave a 20-board simultaneous exhibition during the Surrey County Chess Association. He won 13, lost 2, and drew 5. (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 7, 1887, p. 436)

In November-December 1887, he played in the National Master Tournament of the 3rd Annual Congress of the BCA, held at the British Chess Club in London. He tied for 7th-9th place with 3 out of 9. Burn and Gunsberg tied for 1st. (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 8, 1888, p. 29-48)

In January 1888, he played a 30-board simultaneous exhibition at the Sunderland Chess Club. He won 28 and drew 2. (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 8, 1888, p. 146)

In February 1888, he played a 16-board simultaneous exhibition at the Newcastle Chess Club. He won 13, lost 3, and drew 1. (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 8, 1888, p. 146)

In March-April 1888, he played in the London Simpson's Divan Handicap tournament. He took 3rd place, scoring 13 out of 17. The event was won by Gunsberg, followed by Mason. (sources: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 8, 1888, pp. 229, 279-280 and Chess Monthly, Vol 9, 1888, pp. 258-259)

In June-July 1888, he played in the Handicap Tournament of the British Chess Club. Blackburne and Gunsberg tied for 1st place. Bird tied for 3rd place. (source: Chess Monthly, Vol. 9, 1888, p. 327 and 354)

On June 20, 1888, German-Polish chess master Johannes Zukertort died in London at the age of 45. He was participating in the Handicap Tournament of the British Chess Club at the time of his death and was tied for 1st place with Bird. Bird attended his funeral on June 26.

From August 6-18, 1888, he played in the 4th British Chess Association championship, held at the Alexandra Hotel in Bradford, Yorkshire, England. Bird, age 59, tied for 9th-10th place, scoring 7 out of 16. The event was won by Gunsberg. (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 8, 1888, pp. 345-355 and Chess Player's Chronicle, Oct 17, 1888, pp. 281-282)

In November 1888, he played a match against Blackburne at the British Chess Club in London but lost 1-4. (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 9, 1889, p. 7)

In 1888, he played a match against the Prussian champion Curt von Bardeleben (1861-1924).

In December 1888 through January 1889, he played in the London Simpson's Divan Handicap Tournament and took 2nd, behind Francis Joseph Lee (1857-1909). Scored 10.5 points. (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 9, 1889, p. 53 and Chess Player's Chronicle, Jan 16, 1889, pp. 353)

In March-May 1889, he played in the 6th American Chess Congress in New York. He tied for 12th-13th place, scoring 17 out of 38. He did not receive an appearance fee like some of the other foreigners such as Blackburne or Gunsberg. However, he made enough in skittles games that he earned just as much as the top prize winners. The event was won by Mikhail Chigorin (1850-1908) and Max Weiss (1857-1927). (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 9, 1889, pp. 229-230)

In May 1889, he visited the Albany Chess Club in Albany, New York. It was his first stop on his American tour.

In October 1889, he played in the London Simpson's Divan Handicap tournament, taking 1st place, scoring 11 points. (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 9, 1889, p. 91 and Chess Player's Chronicle, Oct 5, 1889, p. 73)

In 1889, he played a match against the Austrian champion Weiss.

In 1889, he played a match against the Russian champion, Chigorin.

In November 1889, he played in the National Masters' Tournament of the 5th Annual Congress of the BCA at the British Chess Club in London and took 1st place on Sonneborn-Berger tiebreak points over Isidor Gunsberg. Both scored 7.5 out of 10 (5 wins and 5 draws). Bird won 12 British pounds for 1st place prize (about $1,700 in today's currency). Bird also won a special prize for brilliancy. The Sonneborn—Berger score is calculated by adding the sum of the conventional scores of the players he/she has defeated to half the sum of the conventional scores of those he/she has drawn against. (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 9, 1889, pp. 454-462)

In 1889, he played a match with Gunsberg in London. Gunsberg won with 3 wins, 2 losses, and no draws.

In 1889, he played in the London Simpson's Handicap tournament. (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 9, 1889, pp. 413)

In 1889, Bird played a chess game against Samuel Lipschuetz (1863-1905). It was the first known chess game that went over 150 moves.

In January 1890, he gave a 20-board simultaneous exhibition at the Croydon Chess Club, playing members of the Surrey County Chess Association. He won 14, drew 3, and lost 3. (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 10, 1890, p. 83)

On February 1, 1890, he published the first issue of an 8-page booklet called Bird's Chess Reviews.

In February 1890, he played a match against Emanuel Lasker (1868-1941) in Liverpool. Lasker won, scoring 8.5-3.5 (7 wins, 2 losses, and 3 draws). (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 10, 1890, p. 84)

In 1890, he played in the London Simpson's Divan Spring Handicap tournament, taking 2nd place behind Francis Joseph Lee. Bird scored 14 out of 18. (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 10, 1890, pp. 218-219, 258)

In April 1890, he gave an 18-board simul at the Hampstead Chess Club. He won 9, drew 1, and lost 8.

In August-September 1890, he played in the International Masters' Tournament of the 6th Congress of the BCA at the Athenaeum Chess Club in Manchester and shared 3rd place with Mackenzie. Both scored 12 out of 19. The event was won by Dr. Siegbert Tarrasch (1862-1934). Bird won 45 British pounds, over $6,300 in today's currency. (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 10, 1890, pp. 364-368, 402-407 and Chess Player's Chronicle, Sep 20, 1890, pp. 194-195)

In 1890, he played in the London Simpson's Handicap tournament. He became ill with gout and was unable to play the final rounds.

In 1890/91 he became severely ill with gout and was unable to play very little chess for 6 months. During his time in the hospital, Bird began studying the Bible and was preparing a book about the historical parts of it. However, he never published his Commentary on the Old Testament.

In July 1891, he played at the Simpson's Divan Summer Tourney, taking 3rd place, scoring 6 out of 9. The event was won by Rudolf Loman (1861-1932). (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 11, 1891, pp. 363-380)

In November 1891, he played in the Simpson's Divan Winter Tourney, taking 1st place. (source: Chess Player's Chronicle, Nov 14, 1891, p. 185)

In early 1892, he played a match against Rudolf Loman. Bird won with 4 wins, 2 losses, and no draws. (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 12, 1892, p. 105)

In March-April 1892, he played in the 7th annual Congress of the BCA, held at the British Chess Club in London. He tied for 4th-5th place with 6.5 out of 11. The event was won by Emanuel Lasker. Lasker's only loss was to Bird. (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 12, 1892, pp. 137-148)

In April 1892, he played in the Quintangular Match at the British Chess Club. He took last place, scoring 1 and losing 7. The event was won by Lasker, followed by Blackburne, Mason, and Gunsberg. (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 12, 1892, pp. 201-208)

In April-May 1892, he played in the London Simpson's Handicap tournament. Bird scored 9.5 out of 16. It was won by Francis Joseph Lee. (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 12, 1892, p. 306)

In August-September 1892, he played a match against Emanuel Lasker at the Newcastle Chess Club in Newcastle on Tyne but lost 0-5. (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 12, 1892, pp. 389-390)

In September 1892, he played in a Quadrangular Match the North of Ireland Chess Congress in Belfast. Bird was not a fan of time limits. Bird and Blackburne agreed to play their game without a chess clock. It was the only game played without clocks. Bird took 3rd place, winning 15 British pounds, (about $2,000 in today's currency) behind Blackburne and Mason. Bird scored 5 out of 9. During the tournament, Bird game a 20-board simul, winning 16, drawing 3, and losing 1. (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 12, 1892, pp. 428-431)

In October 1892, he played a match with odds against G. C. Heywood in Newcastle. Heywood won with 4 wins, 3 losses, and 2 draws. Later, Bird gave a simultaneous exhibition and won 48 games, drew 2, and lost none. (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 12, 1892, pp. 479-480)

In November 1892, he gave a 16-board simul at the Whitgift (Surrey) Grammar School Club. He won 15 and lost 1. (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 12, 1892, pp. 519)

In February 1893, he gave a 16-board simul at the Brixton Chess Club, winning 11, drawing 2, and losing 3.

In February-March 1893, he played in a six-handed Masters' Tourney at Simpson's Divan. The time control was 40 moves in 2 hours. It was sponsored by a new journal called Black and White. Bird took last place with 1 draw and 5 losses. (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 13, 1893, pp. 134, 169-173)

In May 1893, he played a match against Nicolai Jasnogrodsky (1859-1914) at Simpson's Divan in London. It was a tie with 5 wins each and 3 draws. (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 13, 1893, pp. 255-256, 305)

In 1893, he wrote Chess History and Reminiscences. The book was dedicated to William John Evelyn (1822-1908), a Conservative politician.

In April 1894, he played in the London Simpson's Divan tournament. He took 3rd place, scoring 7 out of 9. The event was won by Richard Teichmann (1868-1925). (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 14, 1894, p. 216, 242)

In May 1894, he wrote a letter to the Daily News about what constitutes the championship in chess. He said there were 3 categories of chess: slow chess, ordinary chess, and rapid chess. He claimed that amusement chess was the only chess worth playing, and that he usually played chess at an average of 50 moves per hour. (source: Daily News, May 29, 1894)

In June 1894, he played in the London Simpson's Handicap tournament. He took 3rd out of 4 players win 1 win, 1 draw, and 1 loss. (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 14, 1894, p. 288) In October 1894, he gave a 20-board simul at the Chess Bohemians Club, winning 17, drawing 1, and losing 2. (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 14, 1894, p. 455)

In October 1894, he gave a 22-board simul at the Esling Club, winning 19 and drawing 3. (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 14, 1894, p. 456)

In November 1894, he gave a 25-board simul at the Hammersmith Club, winning 18, drawing 6, and losing 1. (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 14, 1894, p. 502)

In August-September 1895, he played at the International Chess Congress at the Brassey Institute in Hastings. He tied for 14th-15th place scoring 9 out of 21. The event was won by Harry Nelson Pillsbury (1872-1906). (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 15, 1895, pp. 365-372)

In 1895, he wrote Chess Novelties and Their Latest Developments, which surveyed the historical development of some openings. It was published by Frederick Warne & Co. A review appeared in British Chess Magazine, Vol. 15, 1895, pp. 460-464.

In March 1896, he played Board 3 for the British against the USA cable match. He lost his game to Constant Ferdinand Burille (1866-1914). The USA team won, 4.5 to 3.5. (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 16, 1896, pp. 151-155)

In April 1896, he played in the London Simpson's Divan tournament. He tied for 8th-11th place. The event was won by Richard Teichmann.

In March 1896, he played 23 members of the Hastings Chess Club in a simul. He won 17, lost 5, and drew 3. (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 16, 1896, p. 156)

In Feb 1897, he gave a 24-board simul in Hastings, winning 13, drawing 8, and losing 3. (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 17, 1897, p. 90)

In July 1897, he played a match at Simpson's Divan in London against Francis Joseph Lee. Lee won the match with 7 wins, 4 losses, and 2 draws. (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 17, 1897, pp. 305-306, 336)

In December 1897, he gave a 17-board simul at the North Kensington Chess Club, winning 10, drawing 1, and losing 3. (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 18, 1898, p. 35)

In January 1898, he was a guest at the annual Chess Festival of the Hastings Chess Club. He played several consultation games with Gunsberg, Janowski, and Blackburne. (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 18, 1898, p. 76)

In the afternoon of January 1898, he gave an 18-board simul at the Ladies' Chess Club in London. He won 14, drew 1, and lost 3. Later that evening, he gave a 19-board simul, winning 15, drawing 2, and losing 2. (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 18, 1898, p. 84)

In late January 1898, he was a guest at the annual Hastings Chess Festival where he played several consultation games. (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 18, 1898, p. 109)

In the summer of 1898, he was stricken with paralysis and had lost the use of his arms. He was confined to his house at 5 Heygate Street, in the Walworth district of London. He later recovered and was soon playing chess at Simpson's Divan. (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 18, 1898, pp. 337, 369)

In October 1898, he gave a 17-board simul at the Liverpool Chess Club, winning 13, drawing 2, and losing 2. (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 18, 1898, p. 509)

In December 1898, he was visiting the Glasgow and Edinburgh Chess Club ins Scotland. (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 19, 1899, p. 21)

In May-July 1899, he played in the International Tournament at St. Stephen's Hall, Westminster. He finished 13th, scoring 8 out of 26. The event was won by Emanuel Lasker. (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 19, 1899, pp. 255, 297-303. 327-333)

By the end of 1899, Bird was confined to a wheelchair, dependent on others.

In 1900, Bird was in financial difficulties. However, many of his admirers provided him an annuity. The chief contributors to the fund were the members of the St. George's Chess Club in London. They were able to raise 425 British pounds for him (about $60,000 in today's currency).

In 1901, Bird was confined to his bed. He knocked over a lamp, which set his room on fire at 16 Chetwode-road, Upper Tooting, Surrey. Mrs. Hartland, his landlady, was severely burnt in putting out the flames. (source: Aberdeen Journal, June 13, 1901, p. 4)

On June 2, 1901, he appeared at a garden party given by Dr. Robert Dunstan to the members of the Nightingale Lane Chess Club. It was his last public appearance. (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 20, 1908, pp. 251)

In 1901, H.G. Wells (1866-1946) wrote this of Bird, "Compulsory quick moving is the thing for gaiety, and that is why, though we revere Steinitz and Lasker, it is Bird we love. His victories glitter, his errors are magnificent. The true sweetness of chess, if it ever can be sweet, is to see a victory snatched, by some happy impertinence, out of the shadow of apparently irrevocable disaster." (source: Wells, Certain Personal Matters, 1901, p. 143)

On April 11, 1908, he died in London at the age of 78. At the time of his death, he was living at 16 Chetwode Road, Upper Tooting, Surrey, South London. He left no will and an estate of 35 British pounds (about $4,500 in today's currency). His sister, Louisa Whitecross, took care of his estate. (source: British Chess Magazine, Vol. 28, 1899, pp. 211, 248-251)

Bird was the last survivor of the 1851 international tournament in London.

His Elo historical rating was 2440.

References:

Bird, Chess History and Reminiscences, 1893
Harding, "Henry Edward Bird," Eminent Victorian Chess Players, 2012
Harrison, The English School of Chess: A Nation on Display, 1834-1904, 2018
Renette, H.E. Bird: A Chess Biography with 1,198 Games, 2016
Sipple, Bird Family Group Sheet - https://www.sarahsipple.co.uk/bird/f6.html
Sunnucks, The Encyclopedia of Chess, 1970




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