Introduction To Bughouse Chess & What You Need To Get Started

Bughouse Chess

Aren’t you fed up with the classical version of chess? Long, dramatic, and boring… It’s time to try something new! Bughouse chess combines elements of both a classical game and blitz with a few innovations. It is a highly dynamic version that attracts interest from both beginners and Grandmasters.

Required Elements

This chess variant is meant for four players. The action takes place on a standard board. You’ll need to have the same pieces and follow rules as in a conventional challenge. The objective is to win by checkmating either of your opponents’ king.

What equipment will you need?

  • Two boards and enough pieces for 4 armies
  • Two clocks (optional)
  • A pen and paper for recording moves (optional)

Bughouse Chess: Rules

Bughouse Chess Rules

A fun fact: the slang meaning of the title is a mental hospital. It’s because the action seems chaotic sometimes.

The first thing to know is that all soldiers move according to traditional rules. To start the match, divide into 2 teams with 2 players in each. Place the boards with opposite colors next to each other. Just like in the picture above.

Each game runs independently (no need to wait for your partner to make a move). One team member controls the white army, while the other – the black one. You can discuss strategies. But it is strictly forbidden to touch the other board’s pieces! And you definitely can’t swap your seats.

Key Distinction: Dropping

Key Distinction Dropping

When you kill an opponent’s soldier, it goes into the reserve to your teammate! They can add them to their battlefield on any free square. It’s even allowed to use it to check or checkmate the enemy.

There is only one limitation connected with pawns. You can’t drop them on the 1st or 8th rows. And if a promoted pawn is captured, it transforms back into its original state.

Possible Results of the Confrontation

The objective is to win. This is achieved if:

  • One of the team members checkmates the opposing king
  • The opponent resigns or makes an illegal move

According to the rules, a draw is possible. For example, when both teams checkmate each other simultaneously. Or if it’s a stalemate situation. But this has rarely happened during real matches thanks to the dynamics of the game.

Summing Up

Are you ready to try bughouse chess? Check out this additional video about basic rules and features. Find friends and dive into the challenge together!