It is evident that bullet chess has a different set of strategies from regular chess. It follows, therefore, that certain openings will be better or worse relative to their normal chess counterparts. Hikaru Nakamura covers some examples in his book "One Minute to Mate", but the coverage is very light. What are some good bullet chess openings that are particularly strong due to the nature of bullet chess?
The best bullet players can and do play standard openings. The openings are theory because they are the best moves.
If you want to play something different, there are a few justifications. If you play certain moves all the time, you can often make the moves faster and gain time on the clock. Similarly, if you play something off-beat, you will most likely know some plans from the position and often have a better understanding than your opponent.
With that lead in, one of the simplest openings to play is to fianchetto both bishops, play
d3, and bring the knights to d2 and e2 (not necessarily in that order). There is very little going on in the first 8 moves, so you won't have to look hard for tactics. The downside is that you give your opponent a large space advantage.
The main plans of this opening are to develop all of your minor pieces and then decide to play either
f4 depending on how your opponent has deployed his or her forces. You can castle (usually kingside) and then just play chess.
Personally, I have always had better success in online chess (especially bullet) playing standard openings. Play openings that you are comfortable with, and you will be able to take advantage of your whole sum of chess knowledge, as opposed to just utilizing bullet "tricks".
While it is beyond the scope of this question, one of the best ways to improve at bullet is to work on playing better and faster when both players have 10 seconds. Most games are won or lost in this time frame.
In my opinion, one must play an opening that one plays most often, as in bullet chess there is very little time to think. If you are receptive to go and learn a new opening, then I recommend Stonewall as it makes the game a very closed game while retaining a strong hold of the center. With black pieces, French Defence and Budapest Gambit serve as good openings.
Openings you are more familiar with than your opponent, and in which it makes a difference¹. If you want to take advantage of it somehow, and not just “play better”.
Therefore I'd propose to go for gambits and very open positions, in an agressive style. Especially not well-known ones². In these openings, being familiar with the ins and outs of the arising positions will give you a big advantage if your opponent isn't. On the contrary, in a closed game, tiny mistakes can be a lot harder to punish, especially in this time frame (i.e. you don't want to have so safe-but-small an advantage that the first slip you do in endgame will ruin it).
Therefore I suggest :
- King's gambit after
1. e4 e5.
- Morra Gambit against
1. e4 c5.
- Blackmar–Diemer after
1. d4 d5.
- Staunton Gambit against
1. d4 f5.
And for black :
- Budapest Gambit against
- Elephant Gambit against
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3.
- Petrov or Scandinavian defenses could be options too.
If you're ready to learn many more, you can delay them to later moves in most played lines, but that grows the repertory you have to master. You might want to have a look there.
¹ I'd argue Andrew's suggestion of fianchettos is way too passive for that, as your opponent has virtually no chance of doing a mistake against that. (I've played this system for a long time.)
² I'm not talking about Queen's gambit or the Najdorf, that is.
To be perfectly honest, just play your regular openings. You know them the best, and consequently will be able to play quicker with them. I'm around 2400 online in 1 0 chess and this is the strategy I use if I'm feeling "serious" about my rating.
I played 1+0 some time ago and book opennings were not something to considere a lot at my level (I had 2000 at 1+0 at chess.com).
However it is sligthy different if you play 1+0 (or 1/2+0) than eg 2+1 wich is sometimes included in bullet time. If you play 2+1 you can play the game as in blitz following the opennings you know, but 1+0? well at this time control you may want to put your oponnent in troubles.
It is common at 1+0 to offer even pieces just to win some time. Sometimes your oponnent get nervous and to play weird openning making quick threats can be something to considere at a non [young] master level.
[FEN ""] 1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nc6 3. Qh5 g6 4. Qf3 Nf6
The result is black can have loosed 5 seconds (as important as a pawn at a 1+0 game) whereas white has not a weak structure or serious troubles in development.
If you don't want to play weird opennings you can try Budapest Gambit kindly opennings. After 2.....e5 white may loose some seconds or fail not capture the pawn with advantage, and you can always finishing by materializing some traps as this one if your oponnent doesn't know the theory.
[FEN ""] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e5 3. dxe5 Ng4 4. Bf4 Nc6 5. Nf3 Bb4+ 6. Nbd2 Qe7 7. a3 Ngxe5 8. axb4 Nd3++
protected by Phonon Jan 1 at 6:08
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