Bird was a kind of maths genius who became attracted to chess. He was a qualified accountant by trade, but by all accounts spent much of his life devoted to his passion of chess. Brought up in the time of Staunton, Morphy and Andersson, it is fairly natural that Bird had what we would consider now a reckless style. But he was good enough to beat Morphy, Andersson, Steinitz, Lasker and most of the other top players of the second half of the 1800's.
The kids loved a game I showed where he beat Lasker in 12 moves in a Danish Gambit, while I personally have a soft spot for another offhand game he played where he twice promoted to a knight.
If a 12 move win against the future world champ isn't enough (even in an offhand game), have a look at this position from my favourite.
The game started as a King's Gambit and had been fairly mad to this point where white has just played Bg5 attacking black's queen. But, of course, it's time to sac! 17..Bxd5! 18.Bxd8 e3+ 19.Kg1 Bxc4 20.Bg5
Actually, the game that had me really intrigued was a win against the great Adolph Andersson where Bird sacrificed a rook on f7. Recently this sacrifice has hit the headlines when Chinese teenage superstar, Wei Yi came out with a brilliant f7 rook sacrifice at the Danzhou GM event.
So imagine my delight when I found a similar sacrifice by Henry Bird, against none other than Immortal game maestro Adolph Andersson.
White's pieces are ready to launch, but I wonder if the Immortal double rook sacrificer was expecting some of his own medicine? 1.Rxf7! Bxf7 2.Rxf7! Qg5 [declining the second rook. If he took then mate would eventually follow.] 3.Qxb7 Qh4 [Defending h7, while cheekily threatening h2!]