NonVi Games

The Importance of the King's Bishop Pawn

The King's Bishop Pawn is critical to winning at Bughouse. In fact, it is so important, that there is an entire opening (The Fred) based on sacking a piece for the King's Bishop Pawn.

Here is a basic example of why it is so important. Imagine that all of the pieces are in their original squares, and that somehow White has managed to get a piece in position to take the King's Bishop Pawn. White sacks the piece for the King's Bishop Pawn. Black retakes with the king. White then drops a knight onto e5, putting the king into check. The king retreats into the safety of his own pieces at e8. Now, White needs only a pawn, bishop, or queen to drop at f7 for checkmate!

Moving the pawn off of f7 doesn't help, either. If White has a knight at e5, and Black plays f6, then the same pawn, bishop, or queen can be dropped at f7 for a checkmate for White.

There are several ways to avoid this. You can protect your King's Bishop Pawn square, you can go on the attack, or you can move your king such that the square is no longer important.


You can protect your King's Bishop Pawn square. You can move the King's Knight out to protect the pawn. Moving the knight to h6 will protect your pawn. However, this opens the knight up to an attack by White's Queen Bishop. If White trades the bishop for your knight, then you will have to open a hole in your defenses when you recapture the bishop with the King's Knight Pawn.


If you are on the attack, then it doesn't matter what shape your defenses are in. Of course, you have to be careful if your attack runs out of steam--then you will need to be concerned about your defenses.


If you can get your king to safety, then the King's Bishop Pawn won't matter. If you can castle, then the King's Bishop Pawn becomes much less valuable. You still have to worry about attacks on your king, but if you have castled and have a reasonable position (e.g. you didn't sack all of your knights on your opponent's army), then you should be in much better shape to withstand an assault.

Last updated: January 9, 2003

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