Bughouse is played between two teams each composed of two players playing on two separate boards. Each team will have White on one board and Black on the other.
A match consists of the two games played on the respective boards.
Both boards are positioned near each other and the clocks on the outside, so that each player can see the time on both clocks.
Both games start simultaneously.
Every piece captured is to be given to the partner, who should place it in front of or near her board. Pieces may not be handed to the partner until after the opponent’s clock has been started. These pieces are considered to be part of the partner's stock (they are of his piece colour). Pieces must be passed to the partner before playing the next move in order to show the partner's opponent which pieces the partner holds. If player A takes a piece and does not pass it over immediately after completion of his move, A's opponent may start A's clock and request the piece to be passed over.
Each player’s stock of pieces must be visible to the players of the other team. If (by purpose or not) a player is hiding some of his pieces, his opponent can press the clock and ask him to show them.
Instead of a normal
chess move, a player can drop a piece taken from his stock on any
empty square (on his board) including moves that place the
opponent’s King in either check or checkmate.
However, there are two restrictions to the dropping of pieces:
- the player dropping a piece must not be in check at the completion of her turn (otherwise it is checkmate).
- a pawn cannot be dropped on the first or last ranks.
A pawn or rook dropped onto a square where it would be at the start of a game is considered to have the same move possibilities as the original piece. Hence from their starting position dropped Pawns may move two squares and subsequently be captured en passant. Likewise dropped rooks may castle just as the original Rook could.
A pawn moving to the last rank is promoted, but physically stays a pawn; the player must verbally declare which piece he wishes to promote the pawn into—usually a "queen" or "knight". If he does not state what piece he wants the pawn to be promoted to, his opponent may start his clock again and request it. If a pawn that was promoted to a piece is captured, it is treated as the normal capture of a pawn (the capturing player hands the pawn to his partner to be placed in his partner’s stock of pieces).
The pieces of a
player's colour which are not on his board are considered to be
potentially in the player's stock. Hence, unless all necessary
pieces are on his board (very unlikely):
- The player is not considered to be stalemated (since it is possible to get a piece to drop)
- The player is not considered to be checkmated if he could block the check with a piece potentially in his stock. Thus, a checkmate must be given either with a "contact check", a knight check, or with a double check.
- There will be no situations in which it is determined that a player has insufficient material to mate (as it is always possible that the player’s partner could capture pieces with his King providing the needed material, when the game is still in progress.)
Each player plays his own game: he is not in any way allowed to physically act on the other board or clock. Players may not touch their partner’s board, clock or pieces (except to hand over capture pieces…).
During their opponent’s turn, a player shall not move or hold their hand in such a way that it either interferes with or obscures either their opponent’s view of the board or their attempt to move. (For example a player shall not hold their hand over the board during their opponent’s turn in an attempt to shorten their move time.) In particular, any form of touching the pieces on the board during the opponents move (“premove”) is striktly forbidden. In case of repeated violation, sanctions may be handed out up to loss of the game.
In contrast to the FIDE Laws of Chess (Article 12.2) it is legal to communicate with your partner. (For instance it is legal to suggest moves to your partner, ask your partner not to move [sit], or to ask your partner for advice.) It is however not allowed to intentionally irritate the opponent by using foul language or offensive statements. The overall noise level should be limited to the minimum.
Touch-move as in FIDE Laws of Chess does not apply. A move is not final until the moving player starts their opponent’s clock (so touching pieces without starting the opponent’s clock is of no consequence.) The player may not begin several moves at the same time, however: is being done but not finished by pressing the clock, the player has to revert the position to the original one before beginning the next move. [Note: FIDE article 12.5 is still in effect, prohibiting a player from intentionally disturbing or annoying their opponent.]
In case of contention, if both players of the team agree they may neutralize the match by stopping both clocks simultaneously and call for the referee.
FIDE Laws of Chess
article 12.1 may be explicitly disregarded.
A player can claim a draw after 3 repetitions of the positions counted in a loud voice. Meaning that the position would have occurred a total of 4 times. A position is occurs on one board and is not taken to include the players’ stockpiles of pieces.
As stated in FIDE Laws of Chess for Blitz “An illegal move is completed once the opponent's clock has been started.” However, the opponent may claim a win by loudly stating ‘illegal move’ and stopping the clock. For a player to claim a win by illegal move he must do so before completing a move herself.
As soon as one game
is ended, each player of that game must stop playing and neutralize
the clock. This puts an end to the match, even if after that his
opponent’s partner finds a mate in one move. On the other
hand, if both games have ended simultaneously, the following
- If both games are won by the same team, they win the match.
- Otherwise the match is a draw.
Two games are considered to end simultaneously in the following case: a player takes a piece which allows his partner to mate immediately, but get himself mated immediately too. As ruled by the previous article, the match is a draw in this case.
Offering and accepting a draw, must be done by both players of the team, and decides of the match.