In another article, I talked about the importance of the King's Bishop Pawn. In this article, I will discuss the "Fred" opening, which is based entirely around eliminating the King's Bishop Pawn. I'm describing the Fred to help demonstrate some of the tactics that are unique to Bughouse and to help underline how important the King's Bishop Pawn is. Actually playing the Fred gets old pretty quickly--I prefer more strategic openings that leave more possibilities open.
The Fred is very short-term focused. The idea is to eliminate the King's Bishop Pawn and then attack the opponent's King, hopefully chasing it to an early checkmate.
The Fred starts off simple enough: Nf3. The bouncing knight is headed for a rendezvous with Black's King's Bishop Pawn. The ideal plan is to get to e5, and then sack the knight against f6. An alternate plan is to go to g5 and sack from there.
Black has several counters. If Black plays Nh6, then White responds with d4, threatening to take the knight with the bishop and then sacking the knight on f7 to really screw up Black's defenses.
Black can also play Nc6, which requires White to play Ng5. Now, the threat of d4 is removed, because White's knight is protecting Black's knight from White's bishop. This is one of Black's stronger responses and may lead to some more strategic play.
Black can also play d6, which also forces White's knight to g5. Again, Black needs to follow up with Nh6 to protect f7. Again, White needs two moves (d4 and moving the knight away) to threaten Black's knight with his bishop.
And as a final alternative, Black can play e6. This opens up a square so that the Queen can come in and protect f7. However, this blocks in Black's King Bishop and opens up the possibility of escalating the attacking force (what does Black do if White gets a second knight to drop to help attack? Give up the Queen?).
These are all "basic" variations on the Fred which don't take into account the possibility of adding extra pieces. The issue gets even more complicated when pieces are being exchanged on the other board--either the defender or the attacker can get extra pieces to throw into the mix.
Last updated: January 9, 2003
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