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?


The Bong-Cloud 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.

P.S. Another chess.com joke you might hear is a reference to the the "Botez Gambit". It is a joke about WFM Alexandra Botez, who drops her queen a lot.

 [FEN ""]
 1. e4 e5 2. Ke2? {The Bong-Cloud!}
  • 19
    Of course, advanced players will know the correct tactical response to this opening: 2... Ke7!!
    – Quintec
    Dec 9 '19 at 1:18
  • 16
    -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 '19 at 8:28
  • 2
    @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 '19 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 '19 at 11:33
  • 2
    I think it's fair to add that Botez is losing her queen while streaming fast games (bullet even), and she calls it the Botez gambit herself (youtube.com/watch?v=RetIukw56T0). When I read that P.S. I assumed you meant that she did this regularly in real matches.
    – steinar
    May 20 '20 at 20:44

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!?]
  • 2
    I don't think number 3 is correct. If anything you create losing chances against much weaker opponents
    – David
    Aug 6 '20 at 6:26

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