In Part 1 of discussing the Bongcloud, I analyzed why the bongcloud was a very underrated opening and how it could be the most underrated opening in a chess person’s opening repitoire. In part 2, I will be discussing why “the fortress” variation is the correct way to play the bongcloud and what the consequences are if this variation is not used.

Opening: Never Neglect the Bishop Files!

In the beginning of the opening, the fortress is all about pushing the pawns (I push 3) one square in front of the king while using the support of the bishop and knights. We see after 6. Ne7, the e-g pawns act as the resistance against white from pushing too far forward thereby making the opponents attack more difficult.

An additional aspect of “the fortress” strategy” is to NOT push for control of the center bur rather use the center as a cat and moue chase that will allow the minor pieces to indirectly assert control. We see this after white develops as usual with 9. Be3 and then black playing 9. b6.

Where the mistake for black comes in is not realizing the rook on h8 actually plays a supporting in helping to create a future kingside attack. I blundered with 11. Rf8?? which prevents black from having a supportive rook on the h-file while allowing white an immediate tempo with 12. f5! which attacks the fortress I created!

White makes a mistake with 14. Bh6 which tries to exchange my bad bishop for his good bishop when it was not necessary and gives me a tempo to move the rook back to h8. 

Middle Game: Swiss Cheese Proves Deadly!

The blunder that starts it all on my side and exposes the “holes” (or creates swiss cheese) is 18. g5?? because black was trying to stop a threat that didn’t exist (white pushing his pawn to g5) while creating the holes around the f5 and h5 squares which white is only too happy to take advantage of with 19. Ng3

Further aggravating the blunder, I played 19. Rh8?? which leaves my f6 pawn exposed. I should have played Ng6 which not only protects the f6 pawn but also gives my knight a nice home on f4 which black can’t push away.

. As a challenge question, comment below on why you believe white played 26. h4? Strange move don’t you think?

29. Ke2? is a mistake by white as it just gives me a free tempo to attack the e3 square and gain space for my queen.

Endgame: How the Win Slipped Away:

I didn’t realize this until after I did some analysis but I could have won the game after white blundered massively with 30. Bxg4?? because after I attack white’s king with 31. Qxd3+, I could have won white’s rook on f1 or his bishop (or both depending on the reply)!

Either way, I would have won a piece but let it slip away after 32. Qxc4+

White blundered again with 37. Qf3?? when I would not have been able to prevent mate after 37. Rg1!

. After getting to move 37, how many blunders do you think both sides have committed? Comment below!

The rest of the endgame, black is completely lost and the backwards pawn on d6 proves to be the final nail in the coffin for black’s position. White win’s the game after 45. Rd7 since there is no way to defend the pawn without losing a piece. I try to defend the pawn with 45. Rd8

but then white takes my rook with 46. Rxd8+ 47. Nxd8 48. Rf8+ which at this point I resign since my position is hopeless due to losing my knight.

Conclusion and Lessons Learned:

In order to successfully play the bongcloud, one must not leave holes for the opponent to exploit! We saw how white was able to exploit a hole I created with 20. Nh5+ thereby making my position extremely difficult to work with.

Secondly, even if you think you are in a losing position, use the opponent’s nervousness or time pressure to your advantage as that could potentially lead to you turning the tables and playing to win! If only I saw this after white blundered with 30. Bxg4??.

Also, if playing the bongcloud on the f2 square, get the king off of the f-file the move after the opponent castles kingside. I can’t stress this enough because without the king on the f-file, there is no immediate attack!

I hope you enjoyed this game involving the bongcloud which I will analyze in the next several posts. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to answer!

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