The Bongcloud Opening

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  • The Bongcloud Opening

    The Bongcloud Opening

    September 30, 2020

    From Wikipedia:

    The Bongcloud Attack is a "joke" chess opening that consists of the moves

    1.e4 e5

    The opening is named after the bong, a device designed for smoking cannabis and tobacco.

    As a joke opening, the Bongcloud enjoys a cult following within the online chess community. The opening goes against many basic chess principles, including protecting the king and piece coordination. In playing the Bongcloud, white almost immediately puts their king in danger, blocks the diagonals of the bishop and queen, and loses castling privileges, all of which are considered crucial for viable strategies in competitive chess.

    The opening is referred to as the "King David's Attack" in some sources (particularly as a response to the Sicilian), and has been called "rather silly".

    High-level usage

    The Bongcloud Attack has been widely popularized by Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura. In 2018 Nakamura played the Bongcloud three times against GM Levon Aronian during the Speed Chess Championship, winning one of the three games. Nakamura also played the Bongcloud against GM Vladimir Dobrov and GM Wesley So during the 2019 Speed Chess Championship, winning both of those matches. Nakamura further popularized the opening in a YouTube and Twitch series called "Bongcloud Speedrun to 3000 - Aim HIGH".

    On September 19, 2020, Nakamura used the attack against GM Jeffery Xiong in the final round of the online St. Louis Rapid and Blitz tournament and won the game.

    Magnus Carlsen has his own variation of the Bongcloud where he plays c3, f3, Qa4, Qh4, Kd1, and Qe1, essentially switching the positions of the King and Queen, which takes at least 6 moves to perform and gives a severe handicap to the opponent.

    From chess24 today:

    Carlsen plays Bongcloud to win Banter Series

    World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen won after starting 1.f3, 2.Kf2 - the notoriously bad “Bongcloud” opening - on his way to beating Wesley So 5.5:3.5 to claim the $12,000 top prize in the chess24 Banter Series. Wesley struggled to get over losing that game and was still lamenting “that’s just so humiliating” two games later. He struck some blows of his own, though, and pushed Magnus all the way until a relieved World Champion summed up, “what a battle!” at the end.


    Chess24 Banter Series Final
    Game 1, September 29
    Carlsen, Magnus – So, Wesley
    A00 Bongcloud/Hammerschlag Opening

    1.f3 e5 2.Kf2 d5 3.e3 Nc6 4.Bb5 Ne7 5.d4 a6 6.Ba4 exd4 7.exd4 Nf5 8.Ne2 Bd6 9.c3 O-O 10.Nd2 Re8 11.Nf1 Bd7 12.Bc2 Qh4+ 13.g3 Qf6 14.Bf4 Nce7 15.Bxd6 Nxd6 16.Ne3 Bf5 17.Nf4 c6 18.Re1 Qh6 19.h4 Qf6 20.Bxf5 Nexf5 21.Ng4 Qd8 22.Qd3 Qb6 23.b3 Qb5 24.a4 Qxb3 25.Reb1 Qc4 26.Qd2 a5 27.Ne5 Qa6 28.h5 f6 29.Ned3 Nc4 30.Qa2 b6 31.g4 Nfd6 32.Re1 Qb7 33.Ne6 Qd7 34.Ndf4 Re7 35.Re2 Rae8 36.Rae1 Nf7 37.Qb1 Ng5 38.Nxg5 fxg5 39.Rxe7 Rxe7 40.Nd3 Re6 41.Ne5 Qe7 42.Re2 h6 43.Qf5 Rf6 44.Qc8+ Qf8 45.Qxf8+ Rxf8 46.Nxc6 Kf7 47.Re7+ Kf6 48.Rd7 Rc8 49.Ne7 Ke6 50.Ra7 Rf8 51.Nf5 Rf7 52.Nxg7+ Kf6 53.Rxf7+ Kxf7 54.Nf5 Nb2 55.Ke2 Nxa4 56.Nxh6+ Kf6 57.Kd3 Nb2+ 58.Kc2 Nc4 59.Nf5 b5 60.h6 Kg6 61.Ne7+ Kxh6 62.Nxd5 Kg6 63.Nc7 Nd6 64.Kb3 Kf6 65.Nd5+ Ke6 66.Ne3 Kd7 67.Ng2 Kc6 68.f4 Ne4 69.fxg5 Nxg5 70.Nf4 Ne4 71.Nh3 a4+ 72.Kb4 a3 73.Kxa3 Nxc3 74.g5 Kd5 75.g6 Ne4 76.Ng5 Nf6 77.Nf3 Ke4 78.g7 Kf5 79.Ne5 Kg5 80.Kb4 1-0

    Wesley So: "It's just so hard to forget the game when someone plays f3, Kf2 and crushes you - it's just so humiliating!"

    St. Louis Rapid & Blitz
    Round 27, September 19
    Nakamura, Hikaru – Xiong, Jeffery
    C20 King’s Pawn game (Bongcloud ?)

    1.e4 e5 2.Ke2 Nf6 3.d3 d5 4.Nd2 Nc6 5.c3 b6 6.Qc2 Bb7 7.Ngf3 Qd7 8.b4 O-O-O 9.a3 Kb8 10.Bb2 g6 11.Ke1 Bh6 12.Rd1 Rhe8 13.Be2 Nh5 14.b5 Na5 15.c4 Nf4 16.Bf1 dxc4 17.dxc4 f5 18.c5 fxe4 19.c6 Nxc6 20.bxc6 Bxc6 21.Nxe5 Nd3+ 22.Bxd3 exd3 23.Qc4 Bxg2 24.Rg1 Bb7 25.Qh4 Qf5 26.Qxh6 Rxe5+ 27.Bxe5 Qxe5+ 28.Qe3 Qxh2 29.Kf1 Qh5 30.f3 Bc6 31.Qg5 Qh3+ 32.Kf2 Qh2+ 33.Rg2 Qd6 34.Re1 Rf8 35.Kg1 Rf5 36.Qe7 Qf4 37.Qd8+ Kb7 38.Qxd3 Rd5 39.Qe3 Qh4 40.Qf2 Qa4 41.Re3 Qd1+ 42.Qe1 Qa4 43.Rc3 Rh5 44.Rg4 Qa5 45.Qc1 Qe5 46.Nf1 Qe6 47.Rgc4 Bb5 48.Rxc7+ Ka6 49.a4 Be2 50.Re3 Rg5+ 51.Kf2 Qh3 52.Kxe2 1-0
    Last edited by Wayne Komer; Wednesday, 30th September, 2020, 03:02 PM.

  • #2
    Since analyzing the Nakamura-Xiong game Danny King has produced a series of videos featuring what he calls the Bongcloud King's Gambit. Today he presented what he considers the Immortal Game in this line (apparently forgetting Steinitz-Paulsen 1870):


    • #3
      The Bongcloud Opening

      September 30, 2020

      Hampstead Invitational
      Hampstead ENG
      Round 5, October 29, 1998
      Wall, Tim – Ippolito, Dean
      C33 King’s Gambit Accepted (Bongcloud?)

      1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nc3 Qh4+ 4.Ke2 d6 5.Nf3 Bg4 6.d4 g5 7.Nd5 Kd8 8.Kd3 c6 9.Qd2 Bxf3 10.Qa5+ b6 11.Nxb6 Bxe4+ 12.Kxe4 axb6 13.Qxa8 Qe1+ 14.Kd3 Kc8 15.Bxf4 Qxa1 16.Be2 Qxh1 17.Bg4+ f5 18.Bxf5+ Kc7 19.Qa7+ Kd8 20.Qxb8+ Ke7 21.Qxd6+ Kf7 22.Qe6+ Kg7 23.Be5+ 1-0

      The Royal Stroll

      Baden-Baden 1870
      Baden-Baden GER
      Round 13, July 30, 1870
      Steinitz, Wilhelm – Paulsen, Louis
      C25 Vienna, Steinitz Gamit (Bongcloud?)

      1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.f4 exf4 4.d4 Qh4+ 5.Ke2 d6 6.Nf3 Bg4 7.Bxf4 O-O-O 8.Ke3 Qh5 9.Be2 Qa5 10.a3 Bxf3 11.Kxf3 Qh5+ 12.Ke3 Qh4 13.b4 g5 14.Bg3 Qh6 15.b5 Nce7 16.Rf1 Nf6 17.Kf2 Ng6 18.Kg1 Qg7 19.Qd2 h6 20.a4 Rg8 21.b6 axb6 22.Rxf6 Qxf6 23.Bg4+ Kb8 24.Nd5 Qg7 25.a5 f5 26.axb6 cxb6 27.Nxb6 Ne7 28.exf5 Qf7 29.f6 Nc6 30.c4 Na7 31.Qa2 Nb5 32.Nd5 Qxd5 33.cxd5 Nxd4 34.Qa7+ Kc7 35.Rc1+ Nc6 36.Rxc6# 1-0

      Position after White’s 27.Nxb6


      Mate in 8

      We need some games where this opening failed horribly!


      • #4
        Well, Danny's previous video was (much as I hate to give losses by Keres)


        • #5
          Bongcloud Opening

          September 30, 2020

          Thank you, Stephen.

          Friendly Blitz Game
          Zurich, SWI, 1965
          Keres, Paul – Bronstein, David
          C33 King’s Gambit Accepted, Keres Gambit

          1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nc3 Qh4+ 4.Ke2 d5 5.Nxd5 Nf6 6.Nxf6+ gxf6 7.Nf3 Bg4 8.d3 Bh6 9.Qe1 Qh5 10.Qb4 Nc6 11.Qxb7 Bxf3+ 12.gxf3 Nd4+ 13.Kd2 Nxf3+ 14.Kc3 Qc5+ 15.Kb3 Nd4+ 16.Ka4 O-O 17.c3 Qb6 18.Qxb6 axb6+ 19.Kb4 Ra4+ 20.Kxa4 Ra8+ 21.Kb4 Bf8+ 22.Kc4 b5+ 0-1

          Final Position


          In deference to our finer feelings, I would ask no one to play this game over. How about that debate, eh?

          33rd USSR Championship 1965
          Talinn URS
          Round 13, December 13, 1965
          Bronstein, David – Bikhovsky, Anatoly
          C33: King’s Gambit Accepted, Keres Gambit

          1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nc3 c6 4.Nf3 d5 5.d4 dxe4 6.Nxe4 Nf6 7.Qe2 Nxe4 8.Qxe4+ Qe7 9.Qxe7+ Bxe7 10.Bxf4 Bf5 11.O-O-O O-O 12.Bc4 Nd7 13.Rhe1 Rfe8 14.d5 Nb6 15.dxc6 bxc6 16.Ba6 Bc8 17.Bxc8 Raxc8 18.Nd4 g6 19.c3 Kg7 20.Kc2 a6 21.b3 c5 22.Nf3 Bf8 23.c4 f6 24.Bd2 Rxe1 25.Bxe1 Kf7 26.Ba5 Rc6 27.Rd8 Be7 28.Rh8 h5 29.Rh7+ Ke8 30.Rh6 Kf7 31.Nh4 f5 32.Nxf5 Bf8 33.Rh7+ Kg8 34.Ne7+ Kxh7 35.Nxc6 Nd7 36.Kd3 Bd6 37.h3 Kg7 38.Bc3+ Kf7 39.Ke4 Ke6 40.Nd8+ Ke7 41.Nb7 Ke6 42.Nd8+ Ke7 43.Kd5 1-0