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?


5 Answers 5


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 e3 and 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 c4 or 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.


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 aggressive 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 :

And for black :

  • Budapest Gambit against 1. d4.
  • 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.


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.


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 openings were not something to consider a lot at my level (I had 2000 at 1+0 at chess.com).

However, it is slightly different if you play 1+0 (or 1/2+0) than e.g. 2+1, which is sometimes included in bullet time.

If you play 2+1, you can play the game as in blitz following the openings you know, but 1+0? well at this time control you may want to put your opponent in trouble.

It is common at 1+0 to offer even pieces just to win some time. Sometimes your opponent get nervous and to play weird opening making quick threats can be something to consider at a [young] non-master level.

[FEN ""]

1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nc6 3. Qh5 g6 4. Qf3 Nf6

The result is black can lose 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 openings you can try Budapest Gambit kindly openings. After 2.....e5 white may lose some seconds or fail not capture the pawn with advantage, and you can always finishing by materializing some traps as this one if your opponent 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++

  • @PhishMaster. Thank you very much for correcting my answer. I had some experience on 1+0 at a 2000 level, but I have become worse with age. Just some thoughts :)
    – user18196
    Commented Mar 3, 2020 at 15:48
  • You are welcome. I am just working on the Copy Editor gold badge, where you edit 500 posts. I am just going through a lot of them looking for spelling errors since I do not like editing people's ideas. If you would like, I can look specifically at your questions/answers. I did not want to do that since I felt like it might upset you. I do understand that English is not your native language, so mistakes happen. Commented Mar 3, 2020 at 15:51
  • 1
    @PhishMaster. Most of my questions were edited but feel free to edit any tag or text with mistakes of my little content. Thanks for all the task you do.
    – user18196
    Commented Mar 3, 2020 at 16:12

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