What is the Bongcloud opening?

Looking at the various jokes about the Bongcloud that people like Hikaru Nakamura and Magnus Carlsen have played, I notice they're all 1. e4 2. Ke2. Even our tag here on Chess.SE is 1. e4 2. Ke2.

Why don't people play 1. d4 2. Kd2, or 1. f4 2. Kf2?

  • 2
    I don’t understand. Can’t the same be asked of the Ruy Lopez? Oct 9, 2022 at 5:26
  • 2
    Needs research whether 1.d4 d5 2.Kd2 was ever tried: ~2000. 1.f4 d5 2.Kf2: ~3000! Compare vs ~14000 Bongcloud on Lichess. (My answer would be, in any case: "That's how memes work.", which Rewan factually already said. Why is "Busy Stackexchange Kangaroo" no valid Advice Animal? Because noone forced the meme yet :-) Oct 9, 2022 at 7:45
  • 2
    1. d4 d5 2. Kd2 has been played (see game from 2019). Oct 10, 2022 at 13:58
  • This surely is not a good opening for white. It is similar to the Steinitz Gambit , but worse than it.
    – Peter
    Oct 11, 2022 at 17:39
  • To ask why people open with Bongcloud (and not so often the named variants) is an opinion-based question (addressing what players might be thinking and what their preferences might be). More factual and citable might be to ask how well it performs statistically in contrast to the variants and/or other openings (thus permitting objectively correct answers). Oct 12, 2022 at 15:13

1 Answer 1


Names for openings differentiate between different moves and, crucially, different positions on the chess board. The same moves played by each side but in two different orders resulting in the same position result in the same opening by transposition.

However different moves resulting in different positions give rise to different openings. It makes no sense to call two entirely different positions arising after the first two moves by the same name. To do so defeats the object of naming.

What you do get is family names where similar moves are made which, although they result in entirely different positions with different middlegame plans, have a common feature. An example would be the Classical Dutch (f5 plus e6), Leningrad Dutch (f5, d6 and no e6) and Stonewall Dutch (f5 plus d5).

Perhaps you should start playing the "Allure Bongcloud" as distinct from the "Classical Bongcloud"?

[Title "Classical Bongcloud"]
[Startply "3"]

[fen ""]
1. e4 e5 2. Ke2


[title "Allure Bongcloud"]
[Startply "3"]

[fen ""]
1. d4 d5 2. Kd2
  • 4
    Quite. An opening is defined by the moves and positions they reach. Certain openings may be grouped together due to similar philosophies or structures, such as "Indian" or "Hypermodern" systems, but they are not all the same opening. I'm happy to agree that all the above subscribe to a "Bongcloud Philosophy" (in many ways), but they aren't the same opening.
    – Ian Bush
    Oct 9, 2022 at 12:31
  • 1. d4 d5 2. Kd2 was been played in 2019. Need proof Allure played it before then. Oct 10, 2022 at 14:00

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