Anders Ebenfelt's Bughouse page

This page was last updated 6 May 2000

On this page I will publish details about bughouse played on the net. I will try to cover the game, its development, opinions about what to change, policy about rules, the buggers and more. Feel free to mail me if you dont like some of the stuff and also mail me information and ideas.

Content

Bughouse Rules
Bughouse Strategy
Bughose on the net
History
Netiquette
Ratings
ICC versus FICS
Players
Titles
Opinions
Forum for discussions
Quotes
Events
ICC-statistic
Links
Literature
Email me

Bughouse Rules

Bughouse is a variation of chess, played between two teams. There are two players in both teams and bughouse is played on two boards. There are several variations of the rules but in brief: One player in each team is white and the other player in the team is black on the other board. If a player capture a piece on his board, he hands it over to his partner who can use that piece by dropping it on his board as a move. Once a player is mated his team has lost the match. For a complete description of the rules you can go to the chess servers and read the help files there. The most used rules are the rules used on the chess servers ICC, FICS or other smaller servers. A brief description of the rules are also available at http://www.students.uiuc.edu/~koo/rules.html
Bughouse is also called "Siamese Chess" or "Double speed chess".

Bughouse Strategy

See links in the end of this page!

Bughose on the net

Bughouse is played on ICC, FICS, and in very small amounts on other local servers.

ICC - The biggest chess server. To play here, you must pay an annual fee, but it's not expensive (less than a CD-ROM game). Here sometimes (uncommon) also Grandmasters in chess play bug. It was the first place for the top players but, as the rating system does not work there (see below), top bughouse is nowadays seldom played on ICC.
(telnet chessclub.com port 5000)

FICS - The place for most of the buggers since 1996 and if you really want to learn bughouse You should watch the games there.
(telnet ics.onenet.net port 5000)

History

I don't know the early history of bughouse but if anybody knows it, please mail me some information.

However, I know some of the net history as I am a part of it. As I played that time mostly on ICC, FICS earlier history is unknown for me.

Bughouse was played on the net from autumn 1995. It started on a private server belonging to Ian Osgood (IanO on FICS) who wrote the code for it and announced on FICS in november 1995. It was picked up of FICS 21 November 1995 and ICC was soon after, 29 November. In the beginning, most players played it on ICC and the top was built up by players as Olddog (now named Chase), Schroer, LostSquaw, Habib, Topdog, Qualo, Fishbait, Hardcore, JDoss, Ebenfelt and others. Early a competition for firat place on the best list was between Chase and Schroer. Chase's main partner was that time JDoss and according to Chase - quote: " Jdoss was my blocker - I was an old half back - we were according to me a super team :)" . Schroer on the other hand mostly partnered up with Adolf.

The first scandal on ICC was a fact may 96 when two of the top players cheated with the rating system, by introducing second and third accounts, which they played against, thus earning a lot of rating points. It was all revealed by alert top players on ICC, correction was made but things like that have been more and more common on ICC.

During spring and summer 1996 the lag situation was bad on ICC and from that time most buggers moved to FICS, where the top players have prefered to play bughouse. During some short periods, bughouse have been seriously played also on ICC but many things have made FICS to the first place for bughouse.

On FICS the "King of bughouse" has since a long time been Gnejs, a swedish bugger. Until recently the distance between him and number two there (different players) often has been more than unbeleivable 200 points. Also on ICC Gnejs has most of the time been number one.

Beside ICC and FICS bughouse was also introduced on MEWIS (the wild server) and finally chessnet.

In 30 May 1997 a championship in Bughouse was held on MEWIS. Many strong players were supposed to come and register for the tourney. However, just a few of them met up. The winners were Ebenfelt/Lindegren.

June 3 was a historic bug-day on ICC: Chase passed 3000 in rating when partnering Gnejs in a match against Ebenfelt/Rossa.

July 3-7 1997, a historic big Bug-gathering was held in San Jose. About 23 well known and strong net-buggers from USA, Canada and Sweden played bughouse over the board in the house of Ajedrez (FICS-bugger) and his family. In luxury conditions most of the famous buggers on ICC and FICS learned to know eachother in real life and a lot of good bug was played and discussed. This event will be a memory of life for all the participant. Already, the world is speaking about "the buggers in San Jose". A list of these 23 will come in next version of this page.

October 3 1997, a Historic day in the Bughouse world: Tinker on FICS played his 10.000th bughouse game and was the first player in the world to reach this number. The historic game was played by Ebenfelt/leaf - Tinker/jtp and completed 3 October 20.31.04 east time, when Tinker's clock run out of time.

October 17 1997, in Future called "LSS day" was the day when LSS, one of the worlds strongest buggers, played his 10.000th games on FICS.

1998 the second gathering was held in the house of Ajedrez. I was not there and thus cant report about it.

1999: Bughousenet (see link below) was introduced and is the outstanding place for bug-surfers on the net, must be seen !

The history of 1998 and 1999 will not be further commented here. This chapter was written for description of early history.

Netiquette

There are many ways to get enemies on the net, one of them is to play bughouse :) On the chess servers there are daily disputes about bad sportsmansship. The most important factor to this is the lag. If it is bad connection for one player, his moves will be transmitted slowly and the game will progress too slowly on his board. In this situation, one of the other players may ask for "abort", to cancel the game. As there are no clear netiquette some players agree to an abort request and some do not. The problem is that every lag situation is unique. Thus, what should be considered enough for canceling a game ? Some players ask for it when the lag of one player is 5 seconds per move, some request more, and its also dependent of the game position. The result of these discussions use to be that two nice sportsmen hate eachother for a while and maybe censor eachother. This cannot be good for the game.

There is only one reasonable solution in future and that is to play without timeseal or timestamp. If a player lag badly he shouldnt play bughouse until his connections are better.

Another important thing is to be respectful of the partner. Some players tend to be rude with their partners when they make mistakes. This is stupid. Even more rude is when a player in order to earn more rating points chooses a low-rated player as partner and then complains about his mistakes. Of course every player plays as well as he can. Everyone also makes mistakes. To be someone's partner is of course a honor, be grateful that someone wants to play with you !

For beginners: To not move, just sitting waiting for pieces from partner is part of the game. Don't accuse the opponents for cheating !

To repeat moves, more than three times, maybe 30 times, is also part of the game and is done when waiting for a mating piece and when wanting to save time instead of just sitting. It is also part of the game. One day I was called cheater in this situation and was censored when trying to explain this for the opponent after the game. Good advice for beginners is to listen to experienced players about what is considered right or wrong, not censor them....

A recently discovered problem is that some very unsporting players create their own lag when they are mated next move (yes, this is easily done if you know how to do). Their partner then have the chance to win on his board. This is of course the worst crime you can commit in netbug and its a threat against the future for the game. A solution, beside playing without timeseal/timestamp, is that players who lags frequently in these situation are reported and that all good players refuse to play with them or against them.

Ratings

In my opinion, rating is fun and part of the game. The best-list is in my view a steady ongoing tournament. Thus one can't say just "I don't care about rating". However, it does not mean that one should take it too seriously. It's not serious to lose when playing other games, as Monopoly, but to play Monopoly without caring about money is not so much fun.

The rating system used in bughouse has however its limit. It has been a habit for some players to only partner really underrated masters and thus earning more points than the players deserve.

Also, the system used on ICC with allowing two or more rated accounts for one player mostly gives weird consequences, see below (paragraph "Opinions").

ICC versus FICS

There is no doubt that the best bughouse is played on FICS. There are several reason for that buggers prefer FICS and not ICC:

The rating system ICC uses does not work. Its far too easy to reach the wrong level when beginning to play on ICC. You can get a high rating by partnering a lowrated pard and lose every game against a highrated team et vice versa. The frequent use of double accounts also disturb the system very much. Some players have two or more accounts with more than 300 rating points diffference them in between (sometimes more than 700!). When other players play these accounts or newbies with wrong level, they also get too much or too less. It's all complicated but all good players prefer the FICS system.

Traditon. FICS has become the "bughouse server".

FICS is free, cost nothing

Players

There are many big BUG-personalities on the chess servers. Some of them were presented here before; However, better and more covering descriptions are available elsewhere on the net and I have removed this chapter in this update


Titles

Until quite recently there has been a lack of title system in bughouse. However, the bug title commission has now worked out a system for giving strong net-bughouse players the titles BGM, which means Bughouse Grand Master, and BM, which means Bughouse Master. The requirements are as follows:

BGM
- A best ever of 2500 or more on FICS and this rating achieved 1 january 1997 or later and based upon at least 200 games.
Comment: - Before 10 January 1997 one could achive BGM-title by a best ever of 2550 or more on ICC and this rating based upon at least 200 games. However, due to the hyperinflated ICC rating system,the abuse of it and the obvious weakness in it, titles cannot further be achieved on ICC.

BM
- A best ever of 2400 or more on FICS and this rating achieved 1 january 1997 or later and based upon at least 200 games.

Comment: - Before 10 January 1997 one could achive BM-title by a best ever of 2450 or more on ICC and at least 200 games but as above commented, titles cant be achieved on ICC now.

Only one title per person is given, even if a player achieve titles on both servers with different name:)

The following players have achieved the titles:

BGM
Chase, Schroer, Gnejs, YogurtSwirl, jtp, Ebenfelt, WhoAmI, ChaseJr, LSS, No1, JKiller, Firefly, pminear

BM
Rosewood, A-storm, Polka, RossA, Stanley, Sapo, Anky, Purebugger, venomous

To claim for a title, you should mail the title commission so we can check your rating and numęber of games before its hidden in the past.

The title commission consists so far of ...well, just me:)

Opinions

My suggestions:

To ICC: Self-partnering using only one account should be openly allowed and a second account with another rating than the first account should thus not exist. The disadvantage with the current system on ICC where players partner their second account is that the rating system can make a players first (or second) account vastly overrated if the rating of the other account is low. The best list does not in that situation reflect the order of strength for the players. Also in the current system, some players can be represented twice on the best list. The advantage if self-partnering should be allowed is for the double-buggers that the interfaces would be adapted to the new rules and save time for them.

Admins on ICC should be good examples and absolutely not use two accounts in different situations in order to help a pard by partnering him with the lowrated account.

If one player disconnects, the both games should be adjourned immediately, in the positions (and times) where the disconnected player begun to lag. This will maybe be a hard techniqual task.

The rating system should be changed on ICC. It is too easy to reach a high provisional rating or a high rating after the stipulated 20 games. The rating system used on FICS is far more accepted as reflecting the players strength.

New opinion about lag: As I point out in the chapter above (see last paragraph in "Netiquette"), some players create their own lag in order to win. To meet that, I think that bughouse on the net should be played without timeseal or timestamp on. For honest but lagging players this would cause problems. As all bug-games played during lag will be weird even if timestamp or timeseal is used, the solution should be that You should not play bughouse if you are lagging.

Players who cheat by using another account as opponents should always be banned for at least 2 months.

Forum for discussions

Here I will publish what you mail me about the netbug so feel free for opinions. I will quote you and will not censor too much.

Quotes

In fingernotes and tells there are many good bug-quotes. Here are some:

Chess was invented by man several hundred years ago. Bughouse, on the other hand, was a gift from God :) / Marmaladegirl - note

Question: How come a rating in the 2880's does'nt get me the ladies ? hehehe / Chase - note

Bughouse is the evolutionary product of chess analogous to that the alphabet is developed from simple drawing. / Ebenfelt - note

not observing partner's board stinks / LSS - note

bug is: 99% speed 1% everything else / MrCool - note

STOP ! HOLD ! GOOOO! STOP ! GO !STOP! MOVE ! STOP ! NIGHT MAY COME! UP 2 SECS ! SIIIT! GOOO! / FSDO - live :)

So,if you think one meaning of life is to accumulate rating points as much you can - better dont play me and please also DONT PARTNER ME / GarryKarpov - note

lag is NOT a part of bughouse / DoubleOSeven - note

Bughouse rules, why play chess when you can have fun :) / Firefly - note ROGERO tells you: Rosewood bugged the Boards Wood swarmed like Hoards Felled my Lumber As though I Slumbered Chips flew my game Askew Like an artist swift 'n' Wise Sculpted quickly my Demise

ROGERO(24): Ebenfelt quite a Fellow Been today quiet 'n' Mellow Visits ICC at times ta FEED Think hes a Swede Eben fells 'em with Speed Seen 'im bug til they Bleed Offers bait seeking Mate By the book 'e sets the Hook With a giggle watches 'em Wriggle They're pickled looked so Simple

ROGERO tells you: Rossa has many Tools Makes buggers look like Fools Bugs so fast mouse got Blisters Aggravates me like my Sisters Quickly position looks Sickly Constipated Hmmm. then got consuMATED I gave a Hiss Didnt even get a Kiss

ROGERO(24): Gfile's from the Apple Buggin with Style Pares ya with a Smile Closes for bug Conflicts Punishment he Inflicts Attacks with Panache More buggs 'r' Smashed Crushes the sCORE oh so Sweet Calls for "More Bug Meat!"

ROGERO(24): Bugged with YogurtSwirl My mind Awirl Spoiled for a Fight Yogurts in my Sights Yogurts knights Aswirl Yogurts combo Unfurled Oh such Stress My king in Duress

Rogero (Mess): Yogurtswirl gonna bug for 'is Uncle Yep soon 'llneed shiny Buckles Chest out Suck in that Gut! Sam'll shape that bugger Up There getting some Sac Will require a different Knack UP Up 'n' away with wings of Gold The boys in AF blue worth their weight 'n Gold

ROGERO(24): Bugged with Chase Chase made Haste Caught me near Dawn Gimee those Pawns!! I want a Taste He's sticking like Paste Nothin to Place Geez I needed Mace!!

ROGERO(24): Gnejs, Many say he's a Rock! Delivers quite a Shock~ Gnejs, leaves not ta Chance Opponents seem ta Blanche! Weaves a sort of Trance 'n Covers 'em like 'n Avalanche

Events

A new gathering will be held in San Jose 1999 and run by Ajedrez, see above.

ICC-statistic

Removed but i will set up other statistic soon

Links

Bughousenet
from which you can read all daily comments and discussion about bughouse, download bughouserelated software of different kinds, download buggames played over the net from a database and find descriptions about buggers around the world. Must be seen.
ErrantFischer's bughouse article which contains the best bughouse strategy advices on the net, focusing on that bughouse is a team game.
Bugstrategy page. Its a well-written page by the strong bugger Rossa, with some notes from me.
David Ottosen's Bughouse Page
Qualo's Chess page with links to and pictures of a lot of ICC-players.
Byrdman's Home Page, some stuff about ICC-buggers and pictures from the big bug gathering 1997.
Chaoslord's Bughouse page
Llauro's Bughouse page - The only one in Spanish !

Literature

Siamese Chess: How to Play ... How to Win.
Book written by John F. Manson Jr. The book is 200 pages, $19.95 plus $5.00 shipping international, $3.00 US. Orders can be "preplaced" through the author's email , though a check or money order would still have to be sent.


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Anders Ebenfelt

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This page was last updated 6 May 2000

Thanks to Josh Leonard ("master-beta" on ICC) for his correction of my spelling and grammar errors. He should however not be held responible for my errors after last updates :).

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