The greatest chess player ever goes to the opening of “Double Bongcloud”


While comparing players across different eras is a foolish game, current world chess champion Magnus Carlsen has a good case for being the greatest player ever. He’s been a great expert since 2004, becoming world champion in 2013 (a title he has successfully defended in three championship matches since then), and his highest classic rating of 2882 is the highest in history (the current FIDE rating is 2847). And last week, on the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour, he and Senior Pioneer Hikaru Nakamura decided to lean into memes by playing an editorial now called Double Bongcloud.

There are various explanations for the source of the Bongcloud naming, but it has been around since at least the 1990s and seems inseparable from the rise of online chess. There were rumors that former world champ Bobby Fisher played online in the 1990s, and He will use this opening to prove his superiority (Thanks, guardian). As this suggests, the joke with Bongcloud is that it’s so bad that you’ll have to clear your mind to even try it.

This move follows the standard opening of the white by pushing their king’s pawn to e4, the black’s returning the king’s pawn to e5, after which the king of white moves to e2. Which looks like this:

Bongcloud Opening.

(Image credit: Chess)

Let’s not dwell on weeds in chess theory, but that’s just as bad as it gets: it exposes the king, impedes the growth of other pieces, prevents castling … it’s stinky. It can be played as a kind of disrespect for an opponent, but Bongcloud’s sheer crap in a game where players save slots called things like the Sicilian Dragon, Nimzo-Indian Defense, or Ruy Lopez means it also becomes a good joke. And The trend of the occasional chess world skewed towards ostentation.



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