How to play Bughouse Chess

Learn the rules to the 4 player Chess variant: Bughouse Chess quickly and concisely – This video has no distractions, just the rules. For a refresher of the original Chess rules, check out this video:

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The object of this 4 player chess game is to be the first team to checkmate either opponent. Layout 2 chessboards side by side and setup the pieces normally on each board with opposite colors next to each other. 4 players divide into 2 teams. Teammates sit next to each other with one teammate controlling the white pieces and the other controlling black. Each board’s game runs independently from the other board. Each teammate has one opponent who is directly across from them. Players are allowed to talk to their teammate with strategy or moves, BUT they may not touch a piece on the other board, nor may they change seats to swap which board they are playing on.

When you capture a piece, you immediately give that piece to your teammate to add to their pool. On your turn, instead of moving a piece, you may add a piece from your pool to any empty space on the board. This is called dropping a piece. You are allowed to drop a piece into check or checkmate, but you may not drop a pawn on the first or 8th rows. Dropped pawns may promote as normal, but when a promoted pawn is captured, it is converted back to a pawn when added to their teammates pool. If you drop a pawn on the 2nd row, it is allowed to move 2 spaces on its first move. All pieces in your pool must remain on the table in front of the board, visible at all times.

To prevent a player from stalling by not playing, Bughouse is typically played with chess clocks, with each board using its own clock. If you don’t have a chess clock, then players are not allowed to delay their move beyond the time it takes their teammate to make 3 moves. If they do, then they lose the game.

The first team to checkmate a king on either board, wins. If both boards are checkmated simultaneously, then the match ends in a draw. Also, a team wins if an opponent on either board resigns or makes an illegal move. Stalemates on either board result in a draw.


  1. Magnus Carlsen and Anna Cramling vs Hikaru Nakamura and Alexandra Botez who would win in bughouse chess?

  2. When I played this, we didn't allow for a drop piece checkmate. It was massively fun, really.

  3. Can someone get out of check by dropping a piece?

  4. We called that one "four players blitz", since we played on a 5 minutes timer.The only difference there is that you didn't have to call checks, and the game ended when you TOOK the opponent's king.

  5. I wonder if all 4 players taking turns playing would make the game more fair or less chaotic.

  6. Tbh I feel the name bughouse is a lie, would be more fun if the small board had bugs as pieces.

  7. Seems like crazyhouse but made to account for limited number of pieces and color

  8. We called this Swedish chess and played as quick-chess with clocks.

  9. Gulliver Chess: Same as Bughouse Chess but the big board pieces are 2×2 on the smaller board, and move in multiples of 2 as such.

  10. seeing a huge pawn larger than all the pieces on the board somehow made me laugh

  11. The drop rules are interesting; remind me of shogi

  12. I feel like allowing to put a piece on any free square is too OP

  13. My school had varient which we called boghouse of this where you had to put a peice on the place the would start in instead of anywhere and if a promoted pawn was captured it stayed as the promoted piece amout of queens on a board got crazy in the endgame

  14. The waffle house has found it's new host

  15. This is unnecessarily complicated. Seems like something a GM came up with after being bored and drunk out of their mind

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