I want to learn and play the Bird's Opening, Reverse Leningrad Variation, as White. I'm having a hard time with some aspects of this opening which keep coming up. I want to avoid a Stonewall-like setup (d4/e3/f4) as it's boring and doesn't fit my style. It's a little difficult to find good information on this variation.
One of the more common issues I keep dealing with is Black's ...Bc5 move, either before or after White's castling. Here are some examples:
Before castling: 1. f4 d5 2. Nf3 e6 3. g3 Bc5 4. Bg2 Nf6 5. d3 O-O and I have to play either e3 or d4 in order to castle, it seems?
After castling: 1.f4 d5 2.g3 e6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Bg2 Be7 5.O-O O-O 6.d3 Nc6 7.c3 Bc5+ 8.Kh1 and now I have to deal with the possible ...d4 push. I know the moves in this example aren't great, for example Black moving the bishop twice, but it just serves as an example of a type of scenario that keeps coming up in my games. I don't want to allow the ...d4 push. And the Bc5 can be chased back with b4 push, but it can stay on that diagonal, causing me problems. And I really don't want to play d4 because I don't like that pawn formation. (Or is White's d4 a normal part of the Reverse Leningrad variation of the Bird's?) And also I don't like playing e3 because it seems weak.
I know an e4 push for White is thematic in this opening. But I often run into situations like this where I don't get a chance for that push, I'm more worried about things like Black's knight going to g4 and joining forces with the Bc5. And e3 seems like too passive an approach to put a lid on that. Of course if I get a chance to push h3 I can prevent ...Ng4, but often I have too much to deal with in the centre, and not enough time to get that push in.
I'm not a very highly-rated player, but I study hard, and just want to understand the themes of this variation. For players who use this variation a lot, how do you deal with Black's moves: Bc5, d4 and Ng4? (For Bc5 I don't mind moving Kh1, but should I let that bishop stay around?)
Additionally, do you tend to push both c3 and d3, and put the QN on a3? (These moves seem to be part of the main line, or at least considered book.) If so, could someone also help me understand what the knight is doing on a3, anyhow?
There are some key ideas and elements of this opening that I think I'm failing to understand. Any help on any of these questions would be much appreciated. (Sorry I didn't embed a chessboard in my post, as I haven't yet learned how to do that -- this is my first post here.) Thanks!