A naturally positional class-C player (c. Elo 1500), I have learned in recent years to push my f-pawn two squares early in the opening, to force myself to play tactical chess. The King's Gambit (which I had never tried until three years ago) surprises me in how often it unnerves my black opponent: I have won more games with it than I should have thought possible, mostly because of my opponents' blunders. Even against the Sicilian,
3. f4 has proved an interesting move though it lacks the sheer psychological impact of the King's Gambit. With the black men, I have been trying the Dutch Defense
1. d4 f5. I have been losing, but I have been trying it, and eventually I hope to figure the Dutch out.
My question therefore is this. If
f5 are such interesting moves in the opening, then why should Bird's Opening
1. f4 be so much less common than the Dutch Defense
1... f5? Is it only because the King's Gambit is better than Bird's, or is there some other reason?
To be clear, my question today is not whether pushing the f-pawn two spaces is wise or fundamentally sound. Believe me, having tried it over and over during recent years, I have learned a lot of ways to lose by pushing that pawn! My question regards rather, among aggressive players who will push the f-pawn, why black tends to push the pawn earlier than white does. Given the increased risk black runs by pushing the f-pawn at the disadvantage of a tempo, one would think that white, not black, would be the leading f-pusher -- whereas 365chess.com has
1. f4 in 0.6 percent of all games, compared against
1... f5 in 3.6 percent of games that have begun
In light of the relative popularity of the Dutch, why should Bird's Opening be relatively so uncommon?