Advanced Opening Analyses in Bughouse : The e6 - d6 System

Advanced Opening Analyses in Bughouse : The e6 - d6 System

Jan 27, 2017, 2:14 PM |

Here is my new post about bughouse openings; in this text, I will cover the e6 - d6 system for Black. It does seem like a pretty passive system, but it's a solid opening that is quite playable, even up to the highest level. Like every opening, It has its own "tiny moments" and tricks. As always, I will reveal all of these tricks to you, my dear reader.

This is the main setup. Here, White has many options - 5. Bb5. 5. Bd3, 5. Be2 and 5. d5 are the most popular moves and I will analyze them all.

Do note that the e6 - d6 opening system works best with an early pawn in hand. If your partner is playing some kind of 1. d4 d5 setup and a pawn isn't coming, you will have some problems in most lines here.

1) 5. Bb5

First, let us take a look at 5. Bb5 lines with 5...a6:

With a pawn up and a huge space advantage, White is clearly better in this position. Do note that Black can't really move the c6 knight after 9. d5 since 10. P@c6 would win for White. However, an early pawn drop could solve Black's problems quite well:

Now Nxb5 is not possible because the c6 knight is protected and e4 is still hanging. After 6...b4, Black has basically won the opening. Therefore, (if Black has a pawn in hand), after 5...a6, White would be forced to take 6. bxc6 and after 6...bxc6, Black would have an equal position right out of the opening.

Now, let us consider 5...Bd7 lines:

Indeed, this line might look a little bit scary, but, unless there's high flow, White has no crushing blow in the final position.

Let us now turn out attention to 7. Nxe5:

This position is also pretty unpleasant for Black after P@a6 and, if available, B@c6. In fact, if White gets a few diagonal-moving pieces, Black would be in serious trouble.

2) 5. Bd3

To begin with, let us analyze what happens after 5. Bd3 P@g4 6. Ng5:

5. Bd3 is an interesting option because it basically loses to the P@g4 drop. After 7. Nxf7, White has absolutely no compensation for his or her sacrificed knight. Not only is White material down, but White also has a shattered center. Moreover, Black is going to play B@h5 when it is available, and White would find himself or herself in even more trouble. With all of that said, if there is no pawn available to drop on g4, Black is in serious trouble:

Here, 7. N@h5 just wins the opening for White.

Now, if Black attempts 5...Nb4:

This line is clearly better for White since the knight on b4 is not well-placed and the c8 bishop is out of play.
Black could also choose to play the solid 5...Qe7:
Indeed, 5...Qe7 is pretty much the best move after 5. Bd3. The final position in the above diagram is OK for Black.
3) 5. Be2
We shall begin our exploration of the solid 5. Be2 by taking a look at a pawn sacrifice line:
As you can see. 5. Be2 is a really solid move for White as it covers the castled king pretty well. In the line I just showed, Black just lost a pawn and Black will need a really high flow of material to drum up some counterplay with P@h3.
If Black has a pawn in hand, Black could try 5...P@b4, after which White replies with 6. P@g5:
Again, as can be seen in the above line, an early pawn drop solved Black's opening problems.
Let us now take a look at a seeming normal line for Black:
As you can see here, if Black doesn't play e5, White will do it after both sides castle. After e5 is played, the resulting position highly favors White since the c8 bishop is out of the game while the c1 bishop is a monster.
4) 5. d5
Again, Black faces some issues in the opening if he does not play correctly (5...exd5 is inaccurate):
The final position is clearly better for White.
 Black could also play 8...dxe5, but Bb5+ is still really unpleasant:
10. P@c6 now pretty much wins the opening for White. If 9...Kd8 instead, 10 P@a6 is annoying and results in a clearly better position for White. Thus, 5...exd5 could be considered a blunder.
Those are also lost for black.
There's no shame in sacrificing for defense! Often, it's better to be safe than sorry! I want to note that sacrificing for defense is not the same as sacrificing for an attack. When you sacrifice for defense, you don't lose time and you don't depend on your partner to get you material.
This was my analysis of the e6 - d6 system. I hope you found it useful.