New: Arne Kaehler - The Discombobulating Bongcloud Attack

by Arne Kaehler
4/1/2021 – As José Raúl Capablanca famously said: ”You may learn much more from a game you lose than from a game you win. You will have to lose hundreds of games before becoming a good player.” The Bongcloud attack might be the perfect opening for you to become a better player! While the main idea is to “shock” your opponent, the move 2.Ke2 signals your intention to plunge one of the most vulnerable pieces right onto the middle of the action. The king bravely states: ”Here I am folks! Try to get a piece of me.” The Bongcloud is a deadly weapon, and once you manage to pull it off, your opponents will be smoked.

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Arne Kaehler - The Discombobulating Bongcloud Attack

In the last couple of years, the Bongcloud Attack struck the chessworld by surprise. Even top Grandmasters like Magnus Carlsen or Hikaru Nakamura seem to want to play this nebulous opening more frequently. 

In this course we will tackle the three main lines with the brave king either advancing to 3. e3, d3 or f3, controlling the center and protecting the e4 pawn. While Kd3 is the old mainline, Ke3 gives the player some nice options. But we should focus on Kf3, the “Discombobulating Bongcloud Attack” variation, which can further advance to the Foggy Fianchetto.

We will cover many variations against 1….e5, especially the “nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition” Game, conquer the Sicilian variations with the "racketeering attack", and also touch on the other side-lines like the Bongs Indian, or the Fools Cloud.

Furthermore, we will take an in-depth look at the modern “Double Bongcloud” and how to break out of the dead draw.

• Video running time: too long (English)

• Exclusive database with model games (A handful of bullet games)

• Including Vape Generator for CB16


  1. Intro
  2. Background and History (Starting early 2020s)
  3. Main ideas (This might take a while)
  4. Typical ideas (I have no clue)
  5. Typical ideas II (Still no idea)
  6. Typical ideas III (Leave me alone)
  7. Untypical ideas (Now we’re talking!)
  8. All Bongcloud Opening main lines with Ke3, Kd3, Kf3 and the Double Bongcloud
  9. Puff The Magic Dragon/Old main line (1. e4 e5 2. Ke2 Nf6 3. Kd3?!)
  10. The Discombobulating Bongcloud Attack I (1. e4 e5 2. Ke2 Nf6 3. Kf3!)
  11. The Discombobulating Bongcloud Attack II (1. e4 e5 2. Ke2 Nf6 3. Kf3!!)
  12. The Discombobulating Bongcloud Attack III (1. e4 e5 2. Ke2 Nf6 3. Kf3!!!)
  13. The Discombobulating Bongcloud Attack IV (1. e4 e5 2. Ke2 Nf6 3. Kf3!!!!!!!!)
  14. The Foggy Fianchetto Puff (1. e4 e5 2. Ke2 Nf6 3. Kf3! Bc5 4. g3 Nc6 5. Kg2!)
  15. The Foggy Fianchetto Main line (1. e4 e5 2. Ke2 Nf6 3. g3 Nc6 4. Kf3 Bc5 5. Kg2!)
  16. Advanced Bongcloud Variation (3.Ke3!)
  17. Far too Advanced Bongcloud Variation (4.Ke4???)
  18. Double Bongcloud King Rush (1. e4 e5 2. Ke2 Ke7 3. Kd3!?)
  19. Double Bongcloud King Rush - Pea Soup March (1. e4 e5 2. Ke2 Ke7 3. Kd3!? Bc5 4. Kc4!)
  20. The Immortal-Carlsen-Nakamura-Giggle-Draw/Double Bongcloud (1. e4 e5 2. Ke2 Ke7 3. Ke1 Ke8 4.Ke2?)
  21. The Immortal-Carlsen-Nakamura-Giggle-Draw/Delayed Discombobulating Double Bongcloud Attack "Carlsen could have won" variation (1. e4 e5 2. Ke2 Ke7 3. Ke1 Ke8 4.Ke2? Ke7 5. Kf3!)
  22. The Immortal-Carlsen-Nakamura-Giggle-Draw-Ha-You-Thought-I-Would-Draw-But-Instead-I-Changed-My-Mind-Again-No-Castling-Variation according to FIDE rules (1. e4 e5 2. Ke2 Ke7 3. Ke1 Ke8 4. Ke2 Ke7 5. Ke1 Ke8 6. Nf3!)
  23. All side-lines and other Bongcloud Variations with 1...e5
  24. The Xiong Perplex/Hikarus Haziness (3. d3!?)
  25. The Meme trap (3.Ke1!?)
  26. King Kong Gambit (3.f4?)
  27. Bongzilla Counter-Gambit (3..f5??)
  28. The Compulsive Counter Cloud/Halloween Mist (1. e4 e5 2. Ke2 Nf6 3. Nc3 Nxe4 4. Nxe4 d5 5. Ng3)
  29. The “Bobby Fischer on ICC Attack”/Guest71 Attack (3. Qe1?!)
  30. The “Bobby Fischer on ICC Attack Completed” (4.Kd1!)
  31. Fischers Red Herring/ABBA's Dancing Queen Variation (3. Qe1 Nc6 4. Qd1!)
  32. No-Smoking Variation (1. e4 e5 2. Ke2 Nf6 3. Nf3 Nxe4)
  33. Sheep Game/disillusioned Petroff (1. e4 e5 2. Ke2 Nf6 3. Nf3 Nxe4)
  34. Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition surprise (1. e4 e5 2. Ke2 Nc6 3. Kd3 Nf6 4. Kc4 d6 5. Kb5)
  35. Delayed Hammerschlag/Slow Guest71 (1. e4 e5 2. Ke2 Nf6 3. f3 Nc6 4. Kf2)
  36. The accelerated Bongcloud (1.Ke2???)
  37. The <3 Emoji Defense (1. e4 e5 2. Ke2 Nf6 3. g3 Nxe4 4. Bg2<3)
  38. The Zoom Call Game (1. e4 e5 2. Ke2 Nf6 3. c3!?)
  39. The Zoom Call Game - “Can you hear me” Attack (1. e4 e5 2. Ke2 Nf6 3. c3 Nxe4 4. d3?)
  40. The Zoom Call Game - “I can hear you, but I cannot see you” Attack (1. e4 e5 2. Ke2 Nf6 3. c3 Nxe4 4. h3?)
  41. All Bongcloud Openings with a different line  than 1...e5!
  42. The Fools Cloud (1. e4 e6 2. Ke2 Nc6 3. f4 d6 4. g4)
  43. The Fools Cloud - “Fell for it” Variation (1. e4 e6 2. Ke2 Nc6 3. f4 d6 4. g4 Qh4?)
  44. “Les nuages ont caché le soleil” Defense (1. e4 e6 2. Ke2 d5 3. d3)
  45. The Bongs Indian (1. e4 Nf6 2. Ke2 g6 3. d3 Bg7 4. Nc3)
  46. The Bongs Indian (Game 1)
  47. The Bongs Indian (Game 2)
  48. The Bongs Indian (Game 3)
  49. The Bongs Indian (Let’s have another look at Game 2)
  50. The "Snus" System (1. e4 d5 2. Ke2 dxe4 3. Ke3)
  51. Alekhines “follow the black rabbit” attack (1. e4 Nf6 2. Ke2 Nxe4 3. Ke3 Nc5 4. Kd4!)
  52. The “How Caro can you do this?” Defense (1. e4 c6 2. Ke2 d5 3. Ke3)
  53. A nebulously solid system against 1...c5!
  54. The racketeering attack (1. e4 c5 2. Ke2 Nc6 3. Kd3!)
  55. The accelerated racketeering attack, inverted and revisited (1. e4 c5 2. Ke2 g6 3. Kf3!)
  56. The accelerated racketeering attack rejected, dand declined(1. e4 c5 2. Ke2 g6 3. Kf3 Bg7 4. Ke2)
  57. Quiz (Guess the Cloud Formations)
  58. Loads of games in our Bongcloud Servers
  59. Reference Games (Bullet mostly)
  60. Tactic Section (Test your steaming Skills)
  61. Test 1-8 [5160 minutes]

Arne Kaehler, a creative mind who is passionate about board games in general, was born in Hamburg and learned to play chess at a young age. By teaching chess to youth teams and creating chess-related videos on YouTube, Arne was able to expand this passion and has even created an online course for anyone who wants to learn how to play chess. Arne writes for the English and German news sites, but focuses mainly on content for the ChessBase media channels.


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Queenslander Queenslander 4/16/2021 12:16
I'm just wanting to know if Capablanca said anything about learning from ten straight losses within ten moves in the same opening. Based on various different discombobulations (which, based on the amount of blood spilt, seemed more like live dissections), I'm starting to wonder if Kaehler (and Carlsen and Hakamura) overestimated the king's need for luft? For instance, I'm definitely doubting Kf3!! ideas. I understand the profound concept of early king centralisation in readiness for the ending, but first the gods have placed the killing fields of the middle game. On the other hand, anything on the Bongcloud seems to be good value for money.
nirvana1963 nirvana1963 4/3/2021 11:57
@Michael Jones: ok, thanks for clarifying, I have to admit I didn't know it. Never too old to learn!
ezrico ezrico 4/3/2021 06:14
If the name didn't give it away .,. the date should break the link with reality!
Michael Jones Michael Jones 4/2/2021 10:35
@nirvana1963: he asked the guy if he knew Armando Acevedo, thinking that only Fischer would remember that he had played Acevedo at the Siegen Olympiad in 1970. However, anyone with a decent knowledge of chess might well have known the game (Short clearly knew it himself, despite having been 5 years old at the time) - and anyone with absolutely no knowledge of chess at all could still have found it in a few seconds by searching the names of the players in a database. Obviously, the fact that Short asked the question would have confirmed to his opponent that he believed he was playing Fischer and would have taken the answer as 'proof'. I'd tend to agree with Woodford that the Telegraph's willingness to publish it may have helped...
Woodford Woodford 4/2/2021 04:59
@Frederic perhaps a nice fee from the Telegraph newspaper for Short to write his ridiculous article he was playing Fischer influenced his thinking?
nirvana1963 nirvana1963 4/2/2021 03:46
@Frederic: As far as I know it was Short himself who said he was pretty sure he played against Fischer: he asked the guy some very personal questions only Fischer could possibly answer.
u1970 u1970 4/2/2021 01:21
Next in line would be: Botez Gambit!
Frederic Frederic 4/2/2021 09:59
@Montreal Meany: "1. e4 f5 2. exf5 Kf7 3. Nf3 Kf6 4. d4 Kxf5" – he played this as "Bobby Fischer" on Playchess. It was a simple club player using an engine to make all the moves. He did manage to beat very strong players with that. 99% of all users knew they were playing an engine, but they were only 99% sure of it. I think some fervently hoped it might be their reclusive hero in Iceland. I tracked the perpetrator through his IP in Canada, and spoke with him at length by telephone.
gabeeg gabeeg 4/2/2021 05:40
Instant Classic!
Montreal Meany Montreal Meany 4/2/2021 04:15
I played some 1 0 vs. the Fischer guy on ICC. He introduced himself as "Ass-am-a, from Brooklyn". He did win most of the time, but seemed surprised not to get away with 1. e4 f5 2. exf5 Kf7 3. Nf3 Kf6 4. d4 Kxf5, which led me to suspect he wasn't actually a chess player at all.
jbdreher jbdreher 4/2/2021 02:57
I must admit I am waiting for the Bong Cloud Powerbook with an April Fool's Mate variation.
Michael Jones Michael Jones 4/2/2021 01:58
Please make this for real - I've no doubt it would be a bestseller!
Frederic Frederic 4/1/2021 08:54
@Werewolf. I said it was a Canadian sysop posing as Fischer. Nigel was playing a Fritz engine.
hissha hissha 4/1/2021 08:54
I think of the bongcloud 2.Ke2 as an offer to play a handicap game; if Black responds 2...Ke7 he is declining the offer, insisting on an even game. Komodo once played a game (45 min plus 15 sec) vs. GM Perelshteyn with the agreement that Komodo would open 1...e6 and 2...Ke7 as a handicap; the game was drawn. Call that "bongcloud and move odds".
Werewolf Werewolf 4/1/2021 08:48
@ Frederic: The real Bobby Fischer denied this outright :)
juliok juliok 4/1/2021 06:24
The recently-published match Alpha Zero vs. Stockfish, no opening book, has some wonderful examples of Alpha Zero's mastery of the Bongcloud. Game 17, in particular, where Alpha Zero is three pawns down but with 18.Kc5!! its King smothers Black's Q, R and N, is enough to make us rethink what we know about chess.
Frederic Frederic 4/1/2021 02:50
I must tell you that just over 20 years ago a "Bobby Fischer" was on Playchess, taking on GMs in blitz with 1.f3 and then K-f2-e3. And he was winning with those moves, including against Nigel Short, who was deeply impressed with Fischer's residual skills. I spent a couple of weeks tracking the player down: it was a Canadian sysop of Asian heritage, of course using a computer. He hoodwinked a lot of people.
Matthew M Matthew M 4/1/2021 02:09
If only Capablanca had this cutting edge theory for his match against Alekhine
Frits Fritschy Frits Fritschy 4/1/2021 01:20
Robert J Fischer, isn't that the guy running a gas station together with James Dean?
ase ase 4/1/2021 12:48
Mr TambourineMan Mr TambourineMan 4/1/2021 12:33
But we want to buy it Chessbase. It will be a classic like the book Enyclopedia of Pawn- and Pieceless Endgames.
JTRobbins JTRobbins 4/1/2021 12:13
April fool
DKRaja DKRaja 4/1/2021 12:12
Arne, a job well done. But the line with 2, Ke2 suits best when Robert J Fischer plays on the internet. I don't think it would work in tournament play. But a good catch for those who literally fell for April Fools