I have heard the Bongcloud opening mentioned on chess.com, but I have never heard of that. Is this a real opening, and if so, what is it?

3 Answers 3


The Bongcloud opening is a joke opening that is meant to give your opponent a chance, and also it is meant to show contempt for your opponent. You play it because you think you are much stronger than they are. It is, obviously, not a good opening.

GM Hikaru Nakamura is one of the jokesters, who plays this from time to time. There are multiple YouTube videos showing him playing this. Here is one.

 [FEN ""]
 1. e4 e5 2. Ke2? {The Bongcloud!}
  • 22
    Of course, advanced players will know the correct tactical response to this opening: 2... Ke7!!
    – Quintec
    Dec 9, 2019 at 1:18
  • 2
    It's apparently also a chess tradition to annotate Bongcloud games "seriously", even though it's of course a joke.
    – Allure
    Dec 9, 2019 at 2:06
  • 17
    -1: It's completely unacceptable to explain Bongcloud without bringing up the definitive guide, "Winning with the Bongcloud" by BM Andrew Fabbro published in 2010. (It also mentions the alleged origin of its name, Lenny_Bongcloud.) Also the Botez gambit is irrelevant to the answer, which should be removed.
    – user17931
    Dec 9, 2019 at 8:28
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    @Voile just wondering how you managed to downvote this, since your rep is below the limit. Does this site have different rules?
    – polfosol
    Dec 9, 2019 at 9:48
  • 2
    @polfosol When you don't have the 125 rep, the downvote is registered, but it does not really do anything. It is more to make him feel good. Dec 9, 2019 at 11:33

The Bongcloud is an opening meant to

  1. Give your opponent a chance

  2. Show contempt for your opponent(if your opponent is terrible at chance)

  3. Create a lasting psychological effect, thus generating winning chances against much better players.

No, the Bongcloud is not a real opening, but it has a close cousin called the 'King David's opening'.

  1. e4 c5 2. Ke2[book move!?]
  • 4
    I don't think number 3 is correct. If anything you create losing chances against much weaker opponents
    – David
    Aug 6, 2020 at 6:26

The Bongcloud is named that based of a chess.com user named Lenny_Bongcloud ( https://www.chess.com/nl/member/lenny_bongcloud ) who used it religiously in thousands and thousands of games.

Andrew Fabbro then wrote a hilarious opening book parody named Winning With The Bongcloud (PDF: https://i.4pcdn.org/tg/1401479151063.pdf ) that catapulted Lenny_Bongcloud's obscure opening into popularity at places like Reddit's Anarchy Chess subreddit.

The rest is history.

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