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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Universal Bullet Chess Openings

I know many of us “chess” players are vehemently against using the premove function on Internet chess sites because technically, it goes against everything we have ever learned about the game. Think, take note of all threats and checks, form a plan, move only when you are sure, etcetera etcetera. However, in bullet (1-minute chess), premove is not only an option but a way of survival. Sure, there are probably some extremely quick and accurate players out there who don’t use it, but for the rest of us, it’s an essential part of wicked-fast chess.

*What is premove?*
Premove is when it isn’t your turn, but you make a move on the board anyhow. The server acknowledges that you’d like the selected move to be your choice, no matter what the opponent does. So, after your opponent makes his or her move, the server interjects your move instantaneously, regardless of position or safety. So, as you can see, the risk involved is huge, but sometimes it pays off. Other times, you drop big material or get mated in one. That’s the adrenaline rush of bullet or lightning chess.

I was speaking with GM Nigel Davies the other day about a line for black that he feels is good in any circumstance. In short, he likes ...e6...d5...c5 – no matter what white plays! Yes, it’s a universal line that is virtually impossible to go wrong with. Because it can be played against anything white opens with and the positions reached are largely similar, I believe it is a great bullet opening for black to “premove” with. As you get more and more comfortable with it, the lines will become second nature and you’ll find you are winning a lot more games than you are losing.

If white plays 1. e4 of course, the line becomes a French Defense. If they play 1. d4, the line becomes a QGD more often than not. If white goes 1. c4, the position is likely to become the same as if he’d played 1. d4. If he goes hypermodern and plays 1. Nf3 or 1. b3, for instance, black is totally safe and is already off to a good start.

*Can white do the same?*
In short – yes. He can mirror those moves by playing 1. e3 2. d4 3. c4 (Van’t Kruijs opening) and likely have a very good game. Although it isn’t the most aggressive opening available, it is sure to keep white safe from cheapos and such right out of the opening. Do I employ these lines myself? Yes. Not every time, but many times I do. It always leads to a fun game where I’m slightly ahead on the clock by the fifth move alone, which is a huge plus in bullet chess. After that, as the BeeGees said, it’s just “Stayin’ Alive”.


  1. I fully agree with your principle here. Hikaru Nakamura sometimes uses the hedgehog(including as white) and K.I.A./K.I.D. systems in bullet & these have an even longer set of safe moves.

    You say that your suggested system is safe against all replies. It is safe in most instances, however I have seen the following several times, when the opponent is expecting the premoves you prescribe : 1. e3 d5 2. d4 Bg4 3. c4 Bxd1 0-1

    That said, I do agree that this is a good system to use some of the time.

  2. Thanks for your comment! Appreciate the read and the feedback. :)