When my friends and I play Bughouse, a very common opening we play is 1. Nf3 Nf6, 2. Ng5 Ng4, 3. Nxf7 Nxf2, 4. Nxd8 Nxd1 .

[FEN ""]
1. Nf3 Nf6 2. Ng5 Ng4 3. Nxf7 Nxf2 4. Nxd8 Nxd1  

Is this a good choice of opening in Bughouse?

  • 6
    Not sure it even makes sense to speak of a "good opening in bughouse" independent of the other board . . . But I recognize this opening, and am reminded of the alternative 4 Nxh8, where if you already have a pawn in hand (or a B or Q, or can afford to wait for partner to get one) the threat 5 @f7# forces the opponent to defend instead of taking your Qd1 or Rh1. Of course once they do, you still have the bNf2 to contend with. Commented Oct 24, 2016 at 21:48
  • 1
    There is too many tatics in bug house, even Nf3->g5->f7xp is also a good opening, if the other board is exchanging. Really a good opening is one that gives you more initiative than your opponent. As for that opening, it will be better for white with this reasoning, unless the other board does not exchange then it is pretty even
    – Ariana
    Commented Oct 30, 2016 at 4:11

3 Answers 3


For an opening to be good in bughouse, it needs to incorporate both boards. Timing, material trades, attack/defend all have a huge influence. On top is predictability. If you know what the ops will try, then you may come up with a counter.

For example, 3 ... KxN is playable by black if there are limited material and a huge flood does not come on board. If the other board can control the flow of pieces then this sac will fail. Yes, KxN could get hammered if several drops come into play. But look what the other side gets. A drop knight vs a drop pawn. No immediate easy path to getting more pieces. Most likely a time bulge. (Typically one player waits for pard to get them stuff to drop on the exposed king.) With enough of a time lead, the off board can wait and force you to play a few moves without extra stuff.

As part of team opening, the knight sac can be useful, but need to first gain enough drops to make it a threat. To do this, will need play on other board to be faster, and get 3 or more drops in hand.

  • tl;dr : this opening is fine if you have droppable material in hand (and then 4. Nxh8 might be better). Without material, it's not great. Commented Oct 28, 2016 at 9:19

I don't think nf3 is bad at all but the multiple moves to sac on f7 is using up too many tempi and also giving up a knight is different than saccing a b. i think against any team over 1500 or so a team on which white plays this opening would lose pretty consistently. a tempo is a very valuable thing in standard chess and probably more valuable even in BH.


1. Nf3 is a bad move in bughouse. Nf3 intending to Ng5, Nxf7 is not good because this idea can be easily refuted.

[FEN ""]
1. Nf3 e6 2. Ne5 Qf6 3. Nxf7 Qxf7

Place the knight on g6, Qe7, pawn on f7, Kd8 and Black king is surprisingly safe.

There are many other good options for White such as 1. e4.

  • 3
    1 Nf3 e6 2 Ng5 Qxg5 seems an easier refutation :-) but you probably meant 2 Ne5. Then Qf6 is asking for trouble (3 d4 followed by harassing the Queen) unless you already have so much material in hand that Qxf2+ works. You could try the same thing with 2 . . . Qe7 instead, though. Commented Oct 31, 2016 at 2:35
  • I'm not 100% but according to my knowledge I think Qf6 because it is more active. Yes I meant Ne5 :P.
    – Kevin Ho
    Commented Oct 31, 2016 at 2:42
  • It might be ....Qe7 though.
    – Kevin Ho
    Commented Oct 31, 2016 at 2:43

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