Chess Champion Plays "Bongcloud Attack", Which Is Very Funny

Gif: chess24.5

Norway’s Magnus Carlsen is a chess grandmaster, the current world champion, as well as world #1 in rapid and blitz chess as well. He is very good at chess, but in this match against fellow grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura, he opens by playing one of the worst possible sequences of moves in the entire game.

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The opening, consisting of the moves e4 e5 followed by Ke2, has been nicknamed the “Bongcloud Attack” because it’s assumed only someone high as fuck would even attempt it. Even its Wikipedia page lists it as a “meme opening”, because not only does it leave the King exposed and blocks both the queen and bishop, but it also burns through moves when having to recover from it.

Nakamura has made it a bit of a thing, though, using it previously and even winning some competitive matches with it, and so here’s Carlsen busting it out against him in a dead rubber encounter during Carlsen’s own tournament (that would eventually end in a draw).

I don’t know enough about chess to truly appreciate the move. I just like how funny it is to everyone who does.

Luke Plunkett is a Senior Editor based in Canberra, Australia. He has written a book on cosplay, designed a game about airplanes, and also runs cosplay.kotaku.com.

DISCUSSION

hanoumatoi
Hanoumatoi

A little background from someone who has been getting too into chess Youtube:
Bongcloud is basically a really bad move that Hikaru uses as white to force black to take the initiative, and then he will attempt to defend and hope that black makes a mistake he can punish.

Hikaru has used it several times in tournaments, and so he is chess famous for it.
In this match, both players wanted a draw, because the format of the tournament is that this was the last round before a cut to top 8, and both players were already in the top 8 and didn’t really care about seeding.
So when Magnus plays Bongcloud, what he is saying is “hey, let’s draw”. Hikaru responded with Ke7 (the “double Bongcloud”), accepting a draw, and then they both moved their kings back and forth for a draw by repetition (if the same position occurs in a game of chess after 3 different moves, the game is a draw).

So this is a meme opening, but one that does get used some of the time, but in this case was done to offer a draw.

For some humorous takes on the double Bongcloud game, check out this video from Hikaru’s channel:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMzYu-wL0nc