Are you sick of playing chess alone? Bughouse Doubles Chess is for you! Are you sick of not being able to discuss your board choices with anyone (legally, at least)? You should play Doubles Chess (Bughouse)! Are you sick and tired of not having your teammate to blame for your failures? You should play tongue double chess (Bughouse)!
Are you looking for regular Doubles partners? Join the recognized club!
Before they start playing what I consider to be one of the most entertaining ways to play chess, I give everyone of my friends and pupils the following list of advice. In many ways, bughouse is more difficult and sophisticated than chess, but it is also the “team sport” and social game that, to be honest, chess just isn’t.
Any “bug rookie” should find these pointers helpful for navigating the perilous waters:
- Create the components.
- Communication is crucial.
- Give up on f7
- First and foremost is King safety.
- It’s never been better for knights.
- Perform quickly
Tip #1: Develop (it’s crucial in doubles chess, too)
Doubles Chess (Bughouse) is a quick-moving game in which many players become engrossed in “dropping pieces” before deploying all of their “normal pieces.” It’s a mistake, this! There are principles that everyone should adhere to, just like in the game of chess. In bughouse, development is crucial, just like in chess. Yes, you will receive extra pieces, but they won’t likely appear until move 5 or 6 at the earliest. As a result, you shouldn’t “twiddle your thumbs” as you wait for the ideal piece to appear. Create that ideal item!
The objective is not to quickly develop all of your components, though. The key objective is to always be in a good position to either launch or defend an attack. Let’s look at an illustration below:
Communication is essential. (Speak, type, and YELL if necessary.)
I talk to my buddy all the time whether I am playing in-person or online! I have questions like:
- What parts do you require?
- Are you making an attack or a defense?
- Do you need suggestions on whether or not to exchange a piece?
- Do I need to switch queens? (Avoiding consulting your partner before doing so is frequently risky.)
- Have you got any diagonals? (By pawns, bishops, or queens, respectively.)
In doubles, the better communication between partners the better. It’s crucial to have a general understanding of what transpired in the prior game, even between games. Discuss any areas that might be improved upon or mistakes your opponents made that you could take advantage of the next round.
The chances are good that you and your partner are effectively communicating if you’re winning the bulk of your doubles chess matches!
3: Make a sacrifice on f7 (well, much of the time)
In chess, we all enjoy making sacrifices and frequently daydream about flawless, unavoidable mating attacks. Because we get to do this frequently, doubles is a lot of fun. Being on the offense is crucial in doubles, that much is clear. Frequently, the game will be won by the first player to send the other king running!
In light of this, let’s examine an illustration of White’s shortest method for revealing Black’s king:
King Safety Comes First, Everything Else Comes Second is the fourth tip.
You’ll occasionally run out of things to dump, which will put an end to your attack. So what do you do? You should be cautious of your opponents’ potential for a counterattack at this stage.
I strive to fill in any gaps I may have made in my own position as well as any weak squares around my king as quickly as possible. These are open squares in the doubles game where my opponent could potentially drop pieces.
As we will see shortly, you should also try to cut off any lengthy diagonals that can potentially harm your position.
Knights Are More Effective Than Ever (maybe better than rooks)
In doubles, the knight’s ungainly movement style and capacity for “over and around” attacks are particularly useful. A knight directly checking the king from e5 would be disastrous for Black’s situation, as seen in the diagram with the sacrifice on f7 above. The king on f7 cannot even be reached by any other “checking piece” without being captured.
The only two pieces that actually require a capture or a king move in order to be met while checking an opponent’s king are the knight and the pawn. Therefore, a knight or pawn cannot make a check, and vice versa (more on this in our next tip). The knight is by far the most valuable minor piece (better than the bishop), and in many situations, it might even be more significant than a rook due to its “unique” mode of assault.
Check/attack as “directly” as you can (tip #6)
Threatening your opponent and using forceful tactics are expected in doubles. Every player wants to play the strongest move possible on every turn because every tempo matters. The force with which such threats may be made, or perhaps a better question to ask is: Can you make checks and threats that directly limit the answers of your adversary, then, becomes crucial. For instance:
Your pieces’ choice of attack line is crucial. Queens, bishops, and pawns, also known as “diagonals,” are occasionally interchangeable pieces. Use the pieces that can travel in a diagonal if it is the only method to attack the king! The same may be stated for “rank and file attackers,” which include queens and rooks. As long as you obtain a piece that can attack on a rank or file, the queen and the rook may be regarded as interchangeable attackers.
The knight (and even the pawn) can be so valuable for the following reasons: There is a good possibility that the king will have to deal with the threat if you can position them adjacent to him. Yes, you could give up your queen for a “direct check” on a diagonal (or on a square like d6 in the diagram above), but this might be too much material to give your opponent’s partner. In addition, because you already gave up a queen, it would be less advantageous to play the royal fork of Nf7+ on the following move.
7th tip: Play quickly (and learn the importance of “stalling”)
One of the most crucial ideas in doubles is finally reached: time management. In doubles, getting up on time is essential for a variety of reasons. To begin with, the team that is ahead of the clock has considerably greater influence over the upcoming transactions and board decisions. Why? Because a partner can wait for a piece, even if they can’t immediately make a deal to obtain you the desired knight for the great outpost square, if you have more time than your opponent by 30 seconds, they might ultimately discover a method to make that trade.
A single or two pieces can completely alter the situation! You could lose if you don’t get the components you need for your attack to succeed! On the other side, you could win the game very quickly if you could just wait a short while for your partner to bring you the appropriate pieces. The doubles move for waiting for those important pieces to appear is to sit down!
We then go through the strategic intent of “stalling.” Stalling is a crucial and frequently employed tactic in high-level doubles matches (I’m not sure where the phrase originated, but it is widely utilized). If you are winning on your board, telling your partner to stall could be helpful, but if they continue moving, they will lose their game before you do.
You may instruct them to “delay” and wait for you to win in this situation. Your opponent cannot sit back and wait for your partner to lose as long as your partner is “ahead on the clock” in comparison to them. They have to move in order for you to win the game on the board before your partner loses (if they let their clock run, they will lose on time first).
Following these suggestions could prevent you from suffering a few heartbreaking defeats, a few vocal (or written) reprimands from your more seasoned doubles partner, and you might even succeed in winning a few games you wouldn’t have otherwise!
If you concur with these pointers for beginners or have any further suggestions for players just beginning their “team chess” journey, please share them in the comments.