In a game of bughouse, you and your teammate play as a single team on two boards against another two-player team. When you capture a piece in your game, you give the piece to your partner to place anywhere on his or her board. The game ends with the first checkmate (or flag fall if a player runs out of time).

Highlights of USCF Rules:

  • On your turn, you may EITHER move a piece OR place a captured piece on your board (not both).
  • You may place a captured piece on any unoccupied square, except pawns cannot be placed on the first or eighth rank. For example it is fine to give check or block a check with a placed piece or place a pawn on the 7th rank.
  • G/5 time control without increment or delay. Clocks are important because stalling is an important strategic element of the game.
  • The game is “clock move” rather than “touch move.” Your turn ends when you press your clock. If you grab a piece, move it, and let go, you can still change your mind and make a different move as long as you haven’t pressed the clock yet.
  • A game ends with unblockable checkmate, flag fall, or illegal move. If the “checkmate” is not unblockable, the game is not yet over–the defending player may wait until getting a piece from his or her partner to block the check with. But if the flag falls during the wait, the game is lost then.