Secrets of Brooklyn Bughouse Champs, Part II: Attacking
By Kobaljo, Ogunremi, Rivera, Zhang & Vicary   
June 17, 2011
The students of IS 318 are best known for winning multiple Junior High School Championship titles, but they are also bughouse champs. In a CLO exclusive, they reveal their secrets from openings, covered in the first part, to the current installment on typical attacking ideas and partner management. The series was compiled by IS 318 coach Elizabeth Vicary. 


Randy plays Settlers of Catan at the 2011 US Amateur Team East. 9th grade National Champ Azeez Alade reaches across the board

Attacking g7 by Randy Rivera
Everyone knows that f7 is a target square in chess, but in bughouse, g7 can be just as weak. A great attacking idea is to wait until the Bf8 moves, and then drop a knight on h5. For example, White has the excellent attacking idea, Nh5 hitting the g7 pawn after its defender, the bishop on f8 has moved.

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Nc6 4.Nc3 Bb4
 White now drops a knight on h5, threatening g7.
5. [email protected]
Sometimes, Black's best idea is to move the defender back to protect the pawn.
If there's a pawn at e5, white can increase the pressure by dropping a pawn on f6,
6. [email protected]
and after
(s)he can drop another pawn at g7.
7. [email protected]

1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Bb4 3.Nf3 d6
Again, White drops a knight on h5
4.N @ h5

If Black does not defend it this time and plays
then 5. Nxg7+ Kf8 and now White brings the knight back (6. Nh5) and threatens to drop a pawn on g7 or a piece on f6.

Attacking f2 by Joel Ogunremi
AtDangross.jpgAttacking the light squares around the black king or attacking the dark squares around the white king is a fundamental attacking method. Let's look at an example of each.
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d6 3.d5
If Black does not take the pawn on d5, then you can take the pawn on e6. If Black takes back with the f pawn, White has ideas with dropping a pawn on f7, dropping a knight on g5, playing Qf3, and dropping pawns on d5 and/or f5. Taking back with the bishop is bad because White could drop a pawn on d5, move the bishop to c4, and drop another pawn on e6.
3...exd5 4.exd5 Nf6 5.Bc4
White is threatening to drop a pawn on e6. Even if Black plays the most common move here,

The idea is so strong that White can sacrifice the queen: 6. P@ e6 Bxd1 7. exf7+ Kxf7 8. [email protected] and, for example, 8... Ke7 9. [email protected] Kd7 10. [email protected] Ke8 11. [email protected]#

Many black players just play 5...Qe7+ instead of 5....Bg4


You should play 6. Nge2 with 7. Bg5 next.

Black can attack white's dark squares by attacking and sacrificing on f2.
1.e4 e6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 Be7 4.Bg5 d6 5.Nf3 Ng4 6.Bxe7 Qxe7 7.Qe2?
This is not a good move, but it is important for white to defend f2; otherwise black will definitely take there next move. Black has a good position and has ideas with dropping a pawn on e3, or a knight on Nf4, or with taking on f2 and continuing to put pressure on f2 by dropping another knight on g4 and a pawn on e3.

Warren Zhang on sacking a knight on f7
Warren250.jpgThe sacrifice Ng1-f3-g5xf7 is commmonly used by White to clear the f7 square. In order to play this, you should have a partner who you know plays an opening that involves the massive trading of pieces, knights and queens in particular. The reason for this is because you are sacking on f7, but this is very easy to defend against: You can't walk into a battlefield without any weapons. Remember that Black will be playing moves like ...Nh6, ...Qe7, dropping a pawn on f6, etc. in order to defend. You'll be trying to attack f7 constantly by first taking on f7, then Ng5 (drop), Qf3, Bc4, etc. You want to gain as much pressure as possible; keep in mind that you can't only rely on pieces your partner gives you; you should use your starting pieces as well.

1.e4 e6 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.e5 Ne4 4.Qe2 d5 5.exd6 Nxd6
If you can drop a pawn at e5, that's great. For instance, 6. [email protected] Nf5 7. d3, preparing Ng5, and White has a solid and secure position. If you don't have a pawn, then play

Prepare to play Qf3, drop a knight on g5, and even try to clear the g7 square by [email protected], Bxg7; Nh5, Bf8; [email protected]

Partner Management by Jakob Kobaljo


So you sit down to a game of bughouse and your opponent's attack has ceased. For instance, I'm Black in the following position: 

While my partner's position is:

What should you do? Should you start your own attack or should you bolster your defense? One logical thing to do is trade pieces. Your partner needs them to continue his attack. Trading pieces can also be used to get rid of some of your opponent's pieces that may be used for an attack later.

Your partner's opponent's king is not safe at all. He cannot go back to e8, where he wants to go due to the protection of the pawns. However due to the bishop on f5 that is not going to happen now. You can quickly play Bb4 pinning the knight to the king. That knight is yours and your partner can use it to bring their opponent's king closer to your side. One thing not to do in this specific position would be to sac pieces to start your attack. Now the only people getting pieces are your opponents. They could easily defend, and then they could start their attack and finish the game quickly.

Another issue is who should be which color. White is usually the attacker, due to making the first move. Black is the defender at first. A more defensive, closed player might want to be Black. A wild, attacking person might want to be White to start and finish the attack and ideally, the game.

See the first IS 318 bughouse article here and look for the final piece in the coming weeks.