GargleBlaster's Guide to Bullet Chess, Part Two: The Art of the Pre-Move

Hello, again, bulleteers.  For those that missed Part One of this three-part series on bullet chess, it is here.   

In this episode we will examine the art of the pre-move, a feared, controversial, and above all else double edged weapon. "Pre-moving" is generally defined as moving a piece on your opponent's time.  Most servers support this feature and will add your move to an instant buffer queue so that, upon your opponent's reply, your response – if still legal - will be instantaneous.  However, if it is now illegal (generally because of an unexpected check), you will instead receive an annoying "beep" and be forced, completely on your own time, to scramble to find some other move.


The main trick to pre-moving is simple: in general, do it only when you are reasonably certain of your opponent's reply, and only then when you really need the extra fractions of a second it provides. The only time it really becomes crucial is in the last ten seconds or so of a non-incriment game. Until then, it is generally better to "hover-move", where you hold the piece you intend to move in readiness during your opponent's time. Also, it is almost never a good idea to pre-move repeatedly in the opening, as your opponent is liable to notice with tragicomic possibilities to follow, such as this surprisingly effective variation for White, which I call the "Sideburn Attack" or "Gotchya System":


In the following two videos we see the risks and benefits of pre-moving (and hover-moving) in action.  The second video also demonstrates some tricks with Knights, arguably the most important bullet piece.




I hope this article has demonstrated some of the basics of pre-moving, hover-moving, Knight forks, and how ridiculously time-wasting bullet chess is as a hobby.



- GargleBlaster


  • 3 years ago

    NM GargleBlaster

    I have to admit I've fallen multiple times for DNGM's variant of the sideburn attack.

  • 3 years ago


    The risk-free Sideburn Attack:

  • 4 years ago


    Great articles, this one and the previous one, I had no idea about the pre-moving!! Thanks!

  • 4 years ago


    Cool Guide! :)
    Bullet games are totally different from any other games :)

  • 4 years ago

    NM GargleBlaster

    Thanks for the additions, pip. :)

  • 4 years ago


    I'm featured in an article :)

    A few additions: 

    I find that if I play an opening that I can premove it saves about 5 seconds. i.e. I don't leave bishops loose on g2 or g7 for long periods of time because there is the threat of Bh3/Bh6 which makes premoving risky whereas if all pieces are well-defended it is safe to premove, which saves valuable time for later in the game.

    also there is a big difference between servers that allow premove "stacking" and those that don't. For example on it's easy to mate with KQ vs K in 3 seconds by setting about 5 premoves in advance but on ICC it's much harder because only 1 premove can be made at a time. Generally the games are quicker if only 1 premove at a time is allowed.

  • 4 years ago


    Another great article on ze hover tactics and ways to exploit the pre-move option. 

    Indeed, bullet is a fantastic waste of time. I've started it back up (after dropping 300 points from trying to play "real chess" in bullet), and am steadily climbing once more :)

    Thanks for the fun videos, too.

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