Are there any known or "standard" openings in bughouse or crazyhouse chess? Obviously, as soon as pieces start coming off the board things get less predictable, so this question is less about the existence of opening lines as it is about moves which are consistently seen to be good; e.g. White playing e4 to open development lines, or Black avoiding g6, which creates exploitable weaknesses.


I play 1... Nf6 after 1. e4. Then 2. e5 d5 3. exf6 exf6. I have had great scores with this opening versus Chess master.

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1. e4 Nf6 2. e5 d5 3. exf6 exf6

The idea is to have strong king side with 4 pawns for defence. The second advantage is the development. Bishop in c8 is ready for attacks. If white castle king side u can put pawn in h3 if gh3, Bh3 or @Nf3+.

  • 3
    Could you please explain the ideas behind the sac and how this helps Black or her partner?
    – Lily Chung
    Apr 8 '13 at 23:46
  • I think the point is that black's position is very solid. The usual entry points for f7 knight sacs is through e5 and g5, but here the f6 pawn covers both squares. Also the extra pawn provides extra coverage on the kingside should black ever want to castle there.
    – flicflac
    Apr 13 '13 at 10:16
  • I'd rather gxf6 and leave the king in the center blockhaus than open such a column and leave h6 vulnerable to drops. 4. Bb5+ 5. Qe2+ is already putting a lot of pressure. Oct 28 '16 at 9:23
  • 1
    What is your intention if White postpones exf6, e.g. 4.d4 ?
    – Evargalo
    Jan 2 at 14:41

This reddit page has plenty of good advice, and mentions a (strong player's) opening repertoire (section "My Opening Systems").

Excerpt :

For White:
Modified Catalan
Basic setup: 1. d4 ... 2. g3 ... 3. Bg2 ... 4. h3 ... 5. Nf3 ... 6. Bg5 ... 7. 0-0 ... 8. Nbd2

Themes: Solidify and fortify your king before you attack. h3 is an important move so your opponent can't place a pawn there attacking your fianchettoed bishop. You start out a bit passive but extremely solid. Black will have a hard time breaking through while you use the time he's trying to drum something up to form an attack of your own on his likely more exposed kingside. Trade pieces in the center and then drop on the kingside. Often p@e5 to challenge the center or a pinned piece or p@h6 to pry open the king. You can allow the f3 knight to be captured, whereafter you'll often recapture with the e-pawn to build a nice box around your king. If they sac on h3, capture and then simply replace the pieces right back where they were. If no tension develops after the first 8 moves and there is no obvious attacking idea, bring a rook to c1 and break with c4 (or just play c4 immediately) to trade pawns and open things up.

Illustrative Game: http://en.lichess.org/THYYswroKIlD

[NdT : there's this length of description for all the lines listed below]

Modified Chigorin/Trompowsky: 1. d4 ... 2. Nc3 ... 3. Bg5 ... 4. Nf3 ... 5. e3 (or e4, if allowed) ... 6. Be2/d3 ... 7. 0-0
e4 systems: 1. e4 ... 2. Nf3 ... 3. Bc4/b5/e2 ... 4. d3 5. Bg5/f4 ... 6. Nc3 or Nbd2 followed by eventual c3 ... 7. 0-0
Offbeat stuff: 1. b3 ... 2. Bb2 ... 3. e3 ... 4. d3 ... 5. Nf3 ... 6. Be2, stuff like that.

For Black
Crosky Gambit : 1. e4 Nf6 2. e5 Nc6!? 3. exf6 gxf6! 4. ... d5 (can transpose with 2. ... d5 instead of Nc6) 5. ... Rg8 6. ...Bg4 7. ...e6
Modified Modern : 1. ...g6 2. ... Bg7 3. ...Nf6 4. ...h6 5. ...d5 6. ...Bg4 7. ... 0-0 8. ...Nbd7 or Nc6

(and more)

tl;dr: Beginners may be best served by playing conventional e4/d4 systems as white and the French as black. Avoid pawn moves which weaken key squares; fortify weak squares around your king. Maintain the initiative and attack. Sac when it draws the king out and you have a follow-up. Emphasize king safety over material gain. Calculate what your opponent (and you) can do with exchanged pieces before entering into tactical complications. Go crazy!


according to engine, the italian game is good, and the best reply to the italian is 3...d6. In crazyhouse, avoiding the fried liver is important for players of all level cause crazyhouse give white big attacking chances!


A complete repertoire for 1.e4 players

See my lichess study that contains my opening repertoire for the openings listed below. All moves have been cross-checked with an opening book of winrates for 2000+ rated players. Moves that the opponent is likely to play and moves that give a human the best practical advantage are chosen. When lines deviate from engine recommendations, they are marked as dubious but with high practical chances (e.g. some Bxf7 sacs).

  • 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Be7 Italian: Hungarian Defense (Black's perspective)
  • 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 Italian: Giuoco Piano
  • 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Ruy Lopez (Black's perspective)
  • 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 Scotch (Black's perspective)
  • 1.e4 Nf6 Alekhine
  • 1.e4 e6 2.d4 French
  • 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d6 Rat Defense
  • 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 Petrov
  • 1.e4 d5 Scandinavian
  • 1.e4 c5 Sicilian
  • 1.e4 Nc6 Nimzowitsch
  • 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6? Philidor
  • 1,e4 e5 2.Nc3 Bc5?! Busch-Gass Gambit
  • 1.e4 a6 St. George
  • 1.d4 Nf6 Indian (Black's perspective)
  • 1.e3?! Van't Kruijs (Black's perspective)

Most of these openings are studied from the white perspective to account for various white responses to 1.e4. The primary opening I play as black is the solid "Italian: Hungarian Defense" which has a good winrate and is engine approved. For black, I recommend either the aforementioned opening or the "Alekhine", which is considered strongest by the engine and many top players. The "Alekhine: Scandinavian Variation" in particular has very good winrates of 60+% at 2000+ rating for black in many lines!

To use this resource effectively, I suggest maintaining your own study and including lines you encounter in your own games. Then, my study can be used as a reference point or to provide commentary. Or, you can look directly at the opening book, since that's where I have taken many of the ideas from.


1) e4 Nc6 2) d4 d5 is also a good choice, got great results with it. 3) ed: Qd5: and d4 is weak 3) e5 a6 (!)

have a try ;-)

  • 2
    this didn't work at all! Oct 25 '16 at 12:40
  • This is the Nimzowitsch Defense: Scandinavian Variation. 55% WR for black at 2000+ rating, so it is a decent line. Another similar opening is the Alekhine: Scandinavian Variation which can go up to 60% WR in many lines...! Jan 2 at 10:58

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