Thursday, 31 December 2020

Jasugi99 is the 2020 Crazyhouse World Champion!

Jasugi99 (real name NM Janak Awatramani from Canada) followed up his win earlier in December partnering chickencrossroad in the inaugural online bughouse world championship (BWC) with a win also in the 2020 Crazyhouse World Championship to become the new Crazyhouse World Champion! He becomes the third ever Champion following JannLee in 2017 (to whom he was runner-up under his old handle TwelveTeen) and IM opperwezen in 2018 whom he defeated in the 2020 Grand Final. The 2020 CWC trophy will go up on Jasugi99’s lichess profile in a couple of weeks once lichess is updated. 

As noticed by ijh, this creates a triangle of Crazyhouse Champions, JannLee defeating TwelveTeen in 2017, opperwezen defeating JannLee in 2018 and now TwelveTeen defeating opperwezen in 2020. This replicates the very same triangle in 2019 in which opperwezen defeated JannLee to win the bullet zh World Championship (100 games played over three days), Jasugi99 then defeated opperwezen in a 100 game 1+0 zh People’s Championship match (played over 2 days) before JannLee defeated Jasugi99 in a marathon of 110 games of 1+0 zh played in a single sitting.

The 2020 Grand Final, as in 2018, was 60 games of 3+2 zh played over three days. Jasugi99 got off to a blistering start taking the first seven games, coming back from the dead in some of them. This ability to survive seemingly lost positions took its toll on the defending champion. IM opperwezen did manage to fight back to only trail 8-12 on the first day. The second day he did narrow the gap to 12-15 but his lead on the day was momentary and he went down 9-11, leaving Jasugi99 23-17 ahead, a margin of 6 going into the final day of 20 games. On day 3, Jasugi99 was again in commanding form and won it 12-8, an overall score of 35-25 in favour of the new champion.

You can watch the 7½ hours of live action across three days on
JannLee’s YouTube, accompanied by no less than GM Yasser Seirawan, famous player, commentator and co-creator of S-chess, and also accompanying JannLee in the commentary booth were top crazyhouse players Mugwort and Kleerkast, both streamers in their own right. If you don’t already, go follow all three! Here are the three live-streams. On average there were about 350 people watching live throughout the three days, but many hundreds and thousands more will watch these amazing games over the coming months and years.

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

You can play through the 60 games in the following lichess study

Here is also a “practice-against-computer” puzzle study based on the games of the Grand Final.

Wishing you all a Good 2021!

Keep playing crazyhouse!


Sunday, 20 December 2020

2020 Crazyhouse World Championship Grand Final

A lot has happened on the crazyhouse scene in the past year. Following IM opperwezen’s victory against JannLee in the 2019 bullet zh championship organised by littleplotkin (opperwezen won 54-46), there were a couple of exhibition matches with prizes in December 2019: 100 games of 1+0 zh between Jasugi99 and opperwezen (Jasugi99 won 58-42) and 110 games between Jasugi99 and JannLee (JannLee won 57-53). Jasugi99 from Canada was the runner-up to JannLee in the 2017 Crazyhouse World Championship under his former handle TwelveTeen and well known in the bughouse community as cheesybread on FICS, so it was good to see him back in action on his new account after a break away from the game. All of these matches were live-streamed with commentary by Mugwort, myself and others.

As well as three more editions of the slower time control crazyhouse league on lichess and also a fantastic zh960 league played on pychess (all of which we have blogged about copiously), 2020 kicked off in style with JannLee’s announcement that he would both organise and guarantee a $2000 prize fund for the 2020 World Championship. JannLee decided unfortunately that because of fathering duties, he would not play himself. JannLee had won the 2017 World Championship organised by FischyVishy, beating TwelveTeen 31.5-28.5 in the Grand Final (60 games of 3+0 zh) but he had lost to current champion IM opperwezen in 2018 after 60 games of 3+2 zh, the final score 32.5-27.5 in favour of the new champion. The time control in 2020 would again be 3+2 to ensure quality crazyhouse would not descend into flagging battles.

There were 142 participants in the 2020 Crazyhouse World Championship (CWC), seeded according to the average of their current and peak rating. Probably the only absence was catask, the breakout player of 2019 who sadly couldn’t make it. These 142 were whittled down to 128 after 14 knock-out matches. Then the 128 participated in a double-elimination knockout Jasugi99, chickencrossroad, xuanet and Kingswitcher progressed undefeated (JKtheBullfrog unfortunately withdrawing). IM gsvc, Mugwort, TheFinnisher & VariantsOnly progressed automatically having only lost in the fifth round. Meanwhile, the final four candidates were IM Bugzilla who fought off Kleerkast in a very tight encounter, penguingim1 who beat the-lone-wolf, ArtOfDeception who narrowly beat LegionDestroyer and mastertan who beat unjournakamura.

These final 12 were announced by JannLee to be the Candidates for the 2020 CWC.

The Crazyhouse Candidates was a round-robin, so every Candidate needed to play every other Candidate in a 10-game match of 3+2 zh with the greatest game scorer going on to be the Challenger to IM opperwezen for the 2020 CWC crown. After several gruelling months, Jasugi99 emerged as the unrivalled Challenger defeating everyone else by a score of 7-3 or greater, including three 10-0 clean sweeps (sometimes termed “adoptions”) against three legends of the game: VariantsOnly, xuanet & mastertan. Jasugi99 scored 93.5 game points out of a maximum possible of 110, an incredible win percentage of exactly 85%! So Jasugi99 will face IM opperwezen in the 2020 Grand Final for the World Championship Title!

When will the Grand Final be?

Jasugi99 and opperwezen will play 60 games of 3+2 crazyhouse over three days (20 games per day):

Tuesday 22nd December at 20:00UTC

Monday 28th December at 20:00UTC

Wednesday 30th December at 20:00UTC

How can I watch?

GM Yasser Seirawan, co-inventor of S-chess and a crazyhouse aficionado, will be joining streamers Mugwort, Kleerkast and host and organiser JannLee on to commentate live on the games. Be sure to drop a follow and turn on notifications so you don’t miss JannLee’s streams. Of course you should also be following Mugwort & Kleerkast. In case you miss it, the VOD will also be available afterwards on YouTube.

You can also watch live on lichess, as hundreds will be, from the perspective of either opperwezen or Jasugi99 and follow the lichess game chat.

How can I support the event?

The best way you can support is by playing crazyhouse, growing the community, tuning into the Finals and keeping an eye on the crazyhouse calendar. If you do wish to donate to JannLee’s fund for the Final and for future events, here is the link.

In anticipation of this end of year finale, here is a plethora of crazyhouse puzzles from this year’s Championships.

Have you got what it takes to be Crazyhouse Champion? 

Score 8/10 or more on a set to qualify to the next round of the Double Elimination. In case you don’t succeed, there is also a second-chance set of puzzles. If you qualify, there will another set of puzzles taken from this year's Candidates. Can you go all the way?

Qualifiers: Score 8/10 to qualify to Round 1!

Round 1: Score 8/10 to qualify to Round 2!

Round 2: Score 8/10 to qualify to Round 3!

Round 3: Score 8/10 to qualify to Round 4!

Round 4: Score 8/10 to qualify to Round 5!

Round 5: You are a Candidate! Score 8/10 to qualify unbeaten!

Second Chance! Score 8/10 to get into the Candidates!

Did you make it? Even more puzzles are in store taken from the games in this year’s Candidates!

Too easy? It’s time to really shine!

You’re good, really good! But can you be World Champion?

Thanks to LegionDestroyer & Kleerkast for helping to collect so many of these puzzles. You can alternatively play out these puzzles in the interactive studies created by Kleerkast: 

Rounds 1-5

Second Chance

Here is the solution key!

Solution Key

(a solution counts as correct if it includes all moves marked in bold)

Qualifiers: 1. Q@g8# 2. N@f1 Nf2# (N@e2 Nf2 @g3 also works) 3. R@f2 R@f1# 4. R@e8 Kxe8 N@g7 Kf8 R@e8# 5. N@h6 R@g8# 6. Qxf2 Qxf2 N@f3# 7. Q@f1 @g2# 8. Q@d2 Q@e2 is mating, but so is Q@e3!! as Jasugi99 played 9. @e7 Qxc7# 10. Qa6 Qa3 Qc3#

Round 1: 11. Q@g2 Nf3# 12. Q@h3 Kg1 N@e2 Bxe2 Qg1/Qh1# 13. Bf6 R@h8/Qxg7# 14. R@h6 Kg8 Nxe7 Kg7 @f6 Qxf6 gxf6 Kxh6 Q@g7 15. R@h1! N@g1 B@e2 Kxe2 Q@d2 Kf3 Qxf2# 16. Qxe6 Nxe6 B@e8 Kd8 N@f7# 17. Q@f7 Kd8 N@e6! dxe6 Nxc6# 18. @e2 & R@h1 in some order e.g. @e2 Ke1 Q@f1 Kd2 e1=Q# or R@h1 N@g1 @e2 Nxe2 Q@d1 N@e1 Qxe2# 19. Nf2 Kg1 Nxh3 Kh1 (Kf1 R@f2#) R@g1 Rxg1 Nf2# 20. @f3 Ke1 (Nxf3 Qxf3#) Qxg1 Bf1 (no blockers!) Qxf1#

Round 2: 21. N@b3 cxb3 (axb3 N@a2#) Qc3 B@c2 N@d3!# 22. Q@e8 Rxe8 (Kc7 Q@c5 @c6 B@d8 Kb8 @c7) Nf7 Kc7 Q@d6# 23. Qxf5 exf5 N@h1 Rxh1 gxh1=N Kg1 @f2 Kxh1 R@g1# 24. Bxc7 Bxc7 @e7 Kd7 (Nxe7 Qxe7#) e8=Q# (double-check mate) 25. R@e8 Kd6 Bf8 Kxd5 c4 Kd4 fxe3 Kxe3 Qe2 Kf4 Qe4# 26. R@h7 Kg8 N@h6/N@f6 in either order 27. Rxf7 Kxf7 Qxd7 B@e7 Bxe6# 28. N@g6 Kh7 (Kg8 Q@h8 Kf7 Qxf8#) Nxf8 Kg8 and drop diagonal on f7/h7 Kxf8 R@e8# or even R@h8 Kxh8 Q@h7# 29. B@g4!! Kg2 (Kxg4 Q@f5#) @h3! Rxh3 Bxh3 Kxh3 (Kf3 Bg4 Ke3 Q@f4 Kd3 R@d4) Q@f3 @g3 R@h4# 30. B@c6 Kb8 R@b7 Kc8 N@e7 Qxe7 Nxe7 Kd8 Q@d7#

Round 3: 31. Qxd7!! 32. Qxe7 Bxe7 N@e6 Kg8 Nxe7# 33. Q@h4!! Kxh4 N@f5! Kg5 h6 Kf4 g5 Kg4 R@h4# 34. Qxg3 Kxg3 Qxe3 and diagonal checks lead to mate e.g. Kh2 B@f4 Kh1 @g2 Kxg2 Qf3 Kg1 @h2# or Kg2 Qf3 Kg1 B@f2 Kh2 Qg3 Kh1 @g2# 35. Qxe5 N@c2 Rxf1 Rxf2# 36. Qxh7 Kxh7 Nf5 Kg6 (Kg8 @h7 Kh8 @g7) B@h7 or Rh6 B@f4 rapidly mate 37. Qxh2!! Rxh2 N@g3 Ke1 @f2# 38. Qe1! Rxe1 (N@d1! Qxc1 delays the mate a bit) @d2! and a smother on the back rank 39. Qxd3!! cxd3 N@c2 Ke2 N@f4# 40. Qxg7! Kxg7 B@h6! Kxh6 @g5 Kxg5 B@f4 Kg4 f3 Kh4 (Kh5 R@h6#) R@h3#

Round 4: 41. Nc3 bxc3 R@c1 Ka2 Rxa1 Kxa1 B@b2 Ka2 (Kxb2 Bxc3 Kb3 Bxa4 Kxa4 R@a3#) R@a1 Kb3 Bxa4 Kc4 Bb5 (preventing escape to d3) Kb3 @a4/@c4 Bxc3# 42. N@h3 gxh3 Q@g2!! (Bxf2 also works) Kxg2 Rxf2 Kh1 Q@g2# 43. b5/@b5 Kb3 R@a3!! (Qxd3 also works) Kxb4 (bxa3 Qxd3 Kxb4 Qc3#) Ra4 Kc5 Rc4 dxc4 Qxc4# 44. Bxf7! Rxf7 (Kh8 N@g6! hxg6 Qxh6 gxh6 R@h7#) Qxf7 Kh8 R@f8 (other rook drops on the back rank work also) Qxf8 & Nf7# 45. Qxf1! Bxf1 heavy drop on g1 or h2 Nxf3 Kg2 Q@h1! (second queen sac, other moves work also) Kxh1 R@g1# 46. N@e3 Kg1 (Ke2 Nxd4 Kxd2 Nc4 Kc1 Q@d2 Kb1 Qxc2#) N@e2 Kh2 Rxh3 Kxh3 (gxh3 Q@g2#) Q@g4 Kh2 Qxg2# 47. R@h6 Kxh6 (gxh6 Q@g7 mating) Rxg6 (double-check!) Kxg6 Q@g5 Kh7 Qxg7# 48. Qb6 and take blockers Qxb4 cxb4 Qxb4# 49. @g7 @f6 Qxf6 & Q@e5# but there are other mates e.g. Qxf8 R@h7 Nxg5 B@e5 & Q@h7# or even Qxf8 Rxf8 @g7 @f6 Bxf6 Q@h6 Kg8 R@h8 Bxh8 @h7# 50. Q@d6 R@e8/R@a8 Na6 mating

Round 5: 51. N@b6! cxb6 Nxb6 axb6 (Kc7 Nxa8 Kb8 R@c8 Kxc8 @d7 Kxd7 Q@d6 Ke8 @d7#; Bxb6 @d7 Kxd7 Q@d6 Ke8 Q@d7#) Q@d7!! (otherwise king can run to a7) Kxd7 (Kb8 Q@c8 Ka7 Qxb7#) Q@d6 & @d7# 52. R@c1 Kb2 (Kxc1 Q@a1 & @b2#) Q@a1 & Qb6 in some order e.g. Q@a1 Kb3 Qb6 B@b4 Qxc3 Kxc3 N@e4 Kb2 (Kd3 @c4 Kxc4 Nxd2 Bxd2 R@d4 Kc3 Nxd5#; Nxe4 Nxe4 Kd3 N@b2 Kxe4 f5#) Rb1 Kxb1 Nxd2 Kc1 R@b1 Kxd2 Qxd1 Kc3 Qd4# 53. Be4! Kc3 (Kxe4 B@f5/B@c2) N@b5 Kc4 B@d3 Kb3 Bc2 K2d4c4 Bed3 Kc5 Bf8! taking pawn or knight blocker to mate with. 54. Q@f7 Kh6 (Kh8 Qxd8 & R@g8#) Qh5!!/B@g7 e.g. Qh5!! gxh5 Rxf6 or if Kxh5 Qxh7 soon mates; B@g7 Qxg7 Rf7 B@g7 mating 55. N@d7 Ke7 (Rxd7 Q@d8#; Kxf7 N@g5 soon mates)  N@d5 Kxd7 (Kd6 Q@e7 Kxd5 Qxe6#; Kxf7 Ne5 Kg8 Nf6 gxf6 Q@f7#) Bxe6 Kxe6 Nf4 Kd6 (Ke5 Q@e6 Kxf4 Qe4#) Q@d5 Ke7 Qe6 Kf8 Nxg6# 56. N@h6 gxh6 (Bxh6 exf8=Q Kxf8 Q@d8 R@e8 B@e7 Kf7 R@f8 [or N@e5 if the bishop on g6 blocked on e8 earlier] Rxf8 Qxf8#) Q@h8!! Kxh8 exf8=Q &@g7# 57. Q@h6! 58. R@h8!! Bxh8 (Kxh8 Bxg7 Kh7 N@f6 soon mates but even quicker are N@g5! and Queen drop or even sweeter N@f8! Rxf8 N@f6 Kg7 R@h7#) N@e7 Kh7 N@g5 hxg5 R@h6 Kxh6 Bxg5 Kxg5 Q@h4# 59. Bxf3!! Nxf3 Qxg4 Kh1 (N@g3 Qxf3 Kh3 @g4 Kh4 Qf6 & Qg5#) Qxg1 (@g2 also works but less elegant) Nxg1 @g2# 60. N@d6 (trying to force a rook e.g. Rf8 Bxf8 Bxf8 [Qxf8 R@h8 Kxh8 @g7 soon mates] R@h8 Kxh8 Nxf7 Kg8 and take the queen or even better Qxh7!! Kxh7 @g6 Kg8 @h7#) Qb6! Qxh7!! 

Qb6! sets a trap. If Nxe8?? Qxf2!! is an unstoppable mate!

Qxf2!! If Kh1 R@f1 Rxf1 Qxf1 N@g1 (R@g1 R@h2 Kxh2 B@g3 Kh1 Qxg1 Kxg1 @f2 Kf1 R@e1 Qxe1 fxe1=Q#) Qxg1 Kxg1 @f2 Kxf2 (Kf1 N@g3 & R@f1) Bc5 hoping to pick up a pawn blocker after which B@e3 and pawn on the second rank mate, 

so if blocking instead with knight: N@d4 Bxd4 cxd4 Be3 Ke1 N@f3!!! gxf3 (Qxf3 N@d3 Kd1 R@d2#) N@g2 followed by R@g1/R@c1 & Re1# 

or if not blocking at all: Ke1 N@d3 Qxd3 B@f2 Kd1 R@e1 Kd2 (Kc2 cxd3 Kb3 Q@c2 Ka2 Rxa4 and Rxa3#) Bce3 Qxe3 (if Kc2 even better than taking the queen, Rc1#) fxe3 Kc2 Q@b1#]

If after Qxf2!! Kxf2, Bc5 to pick up a blocker and then B@e3 is again mating e.g. Bc5 @d4 Bxd4 cxd4 B@e3 Kf1 R@g1 Ke2 Rxg2 Qxg2 @d3 Kf3 @g4 hxg4 @e3 Kxe4 Rxe8 & either Kf3 @e4 or take all blockers ending with Rxe5 dxe5 N@g5#

But after Qxh7!! Kxh7 @g6 & N@g5 in some order is mating e.g. @g6 fxg6 N@g5 fxg5 hxg6 Kxg6 N@e5 Kh5 @g4 Bxg4 hxg4 Kh4 Nf5#

Second Chance: These puzzles come from an interactive study made by Kleerkast, and you can play out your solutions here in ch. 12-20. The final puzzle is from ch. 4 in this study and the answer is Kxg5!! after which it is impossible for Black to gain control over the dark squares.

Candidates: You Show Up! 1. R@g4# 2. Qxh7# 3. N@h3 Kf1 Bxg2 Kxg2 (Ke2 Q@c2 B@d2 Nf4 Ke3 Nd5 Ke2 @f3#) Q@g4 Q@g3 @f3 Kh1 @g2 Qxg2 Qxg2# 4. Two solutions: Ne4+ Rxe4 Q@f4+ Rxf4 (Kc2 Q@d2 Kb3 Qxb2#) Q@e2#. Or slower but more natural: Q@c2 Kxc2 Nb4 cxb4 Q@d3 Kc1 @d2 Kd1 @c2# 5. Nxf2! Kxf2 Bc5 @e3 N@g4decent attack! 6. g5! undermining the defender 7. e5! developing with tempo 8. N@d3! interference Bxd3 (cxd3 N@c2/Qxc3) Qxc3

Candidates: You Show Off! 1. N@d6 cxd6 (Kf8 @e7 Kxf7 N@f5 & N@d5) N@c7 Kf8 @e7 Kxe7 N@d5 2. @e6!! (the immediate @d7 does nothing) 3. B@h6! deflecting defence from f6 4. Be3! 5. Bxh3! Kh1 (Kxh3 Qxh4 Kg2 @h3 Kf1 @g2 Rxg2 hxg2 Kxg2 R@h2 Bxh2 Qxh2 Kf1 B@g2) R@h2 Bxh2 @g2 Rxg2 Bxg2 Kxg2 Nxh4 Kg1 (Kh3 @g4 Kg3 R@g2#) R@h1 Kxh1 @g2 Kg1 R@h1# 6. Kd1! (Kxf2?? @e3 Ke1 @d2 Bxd2 exd2 Kf1 [Kxd2 @e3 Kc3 B@d2 Kb3 Q@b4#)] Ne3 Kf2 B@e1 Rxe1 dxe1=Q Kxe1 Nxg2 Kf1 Q@e1 Kxg2 R@f2 Kg3 @h4#; while if Kf1 fxg1=Q Rxg1 (Kxg1 @f2 drawing the king to f2) Ne3 Ke1 @f2 after which knight and queen will mate, and if Kd2?? Q@e3 Kd1 fxg1=Q Rxg1 Qxg1 and White only has Queen blockers so is soon mated 7. gxf1=Q Kxf1 (Rxf1 Qxg3+ with check! Unlike Qxg3 in the starting position which hung mate starting with R@h7. After Qxg3 R@g2 N@e2 trying to deflect the bishop Kh1 hxg2 with check Bxg2 R@h2#) N@h2 Ke1 R@f1 Ke2 N@f4 gxf4 N@g3 Bxg3 N@g1# 8. @c4! blocking Bb5 and instigating a queen exchange when White’s king is unsafe

Candidates: You Show Opper! 1. Qxg7 Kxg7 B@h6 Kh8 @g7# 2. Q@d2 Kf3 (Kf1 Nxe3/@e2 both mate) Ne5 (moving either knight on the board) Bxe5 Nxe5 Kg3 several mates, but prettiest is @f4!! exf4 N@e2 Kxh3 Nxf4 (Kxf4 N@e2 Kxe5 [Kg5 Qd8 mating] f6 Ke4 B@d5) Kg3 @h4 Kxh4 Qxf2 N@g3 @g5 Kxg5 B@f6#) Kg3 @h4 Kxh4 Qxf2 N@g3 @g5 Kxg5 B@f6# 3. gxf3!! controlling the e4 square since the f6 knight is pinned, and the King can run to the Queenside. Running immediately gets White mated. 4. Bxd2 Nxd7 Qh4! mate threat on h2 saving the queen with tempo B@g3 Bxg3 fxg3 Qxh2 Kxh2 N@g4 Kh1 Bxd1 5. B@h8!! Kxh6 (Kg6 R@g3 & Bxf6 next; Kf8 R@g8 Ke7 Bxf6) Ng8 Kg6 R@h6 taking the queen with check next move & mate follows soon after. 6. N@a6!! “opper would be proud of me” (gsvc said of his move) Bxc5 Qxb8 Kd7 Qxc7 Ke8 Nf6# 7. R@a3 Kxc2 B@d1 Kc1 (Kb1 Ra1 Kxa1 Qxd4 & Qxb2#) Rc3 Kb1 Bc2 Kc1 Bb3 Kb1 Nd2 Kb2 Rc2 Ka3 Ra2 Kb4 Qxd4 Kb5 Qc4 Kb6 a5# 8. R@c6!! Kxc6 Nxe7 Kb7 N@a5 Kb6 Nxd5 Kc5 B@b6 Kd6 Q@c5#

Keep playing crazyhouse!

Happy Christmas!


Thursday, 3 September 2020

Season 8 of the ZH League

Season 8 of the crazyhouse team league played on was the toughest ever with former and current world champions JannLee and IM opperwezen both playing as well as Jasugi99, IM gsvc, TheFinnisher, Kleerkast & VariantsOnly. There were six teams of six players as well as 15 alts playing over five weeks, concluding in the first week of August with victory for ZHit Happens after five hard fought rounds. The winning team was made up of gsvc on board 1, pkr5025 on board 2, team captain pepellou on board 3, jamesog on board 4, earlpurple replacing JoannaTries for the last three rounds on board 5 and kostasvl with colwem subbing in for one round on board 6. ZHit Happens won the season thanks to four 7-5 team wins and was one match away from another 7-5 win in round 5 but denied by my own 2-0 victory against pepellou which clinched instead a 7-5 win for The Glass Bead Gamers against the Season 8 champions, and second place for our team headed up by Kleerkast. Coming in third place in the league was VariantOnly’s team Radical Posture captained by Marlonc.

IM gsvc was top board 1, LegionDestroyer top board 2, Bleichkind top board 3, SRTOBIAUDI top board 4, the_crocodile_hunter top board 5 (although earlpurple with an impressive 2000+ performance over fewer games) and adande1 top board 6 (although kostasvl with the slightly better performance).

Below are two sets of puzzles, one medium and one hard, based from positions in Season 8 of the League. I hope you enjoy them! If you prefer to try them directly in a lichess study, here is a practice with computer study. There is also a solution study with full variations as well as a highlights of Season 8 study with full games at the end of the blog.

Too easy? Try your hand at these instead!

Practice with Computer Study

Solution Study

Full Highlights Study

(includes full games & positions too complicated for puzzles)

The 2020 Candidates are well underway and you can see upcoming matches in the calendar to the right of this blog!

Keep playing and enjoying crazyhouse!


Thursday, 30 July 2020

Crazyhouse 960 Team League (Season 7.960)

As an intermezzo between Season 7 at the end of 2019 and Season 8 in July, 2020, we had a more informal crazyhouse 960 league in which matches against opponents on other teams could be played at any time and match times, game and results were recorded on a zh960 calendar sheet. 

Matches could be played either on ProgramFox’s or on the newer site just created this year by gbtami since lichess does not implement 960 functionality for variant play (although lichess is still useful for post-match analysis). In practice, Pychess proved overwhelmingly popular.

There were six teams of five headed up by Mugwort, JKtheBullfrog, littleplotkin, firefly (aka zyxon), 12teen and Fumitoks. The time control as usual for the league was (4+b)+(4+b) on board b, so 5+5 on board 1, 6+6 on board 2, 7+7 on board 3, 8+8 on board 4 and 9+9 on board 5.

Unlike the standard crazyhouse team league, players could agree to play more than two games and the score they received was the proportion of games they won. Some matches were therefore 4 games instead of the standard 2 and a 3-1 match win would score 0.75 for the winner and 0.25 for the loser. There was also a cutoff point for the season of March 21st after which a match scored d days late would result in a d * 0.01 penalty to the winner and if the resulting winner’s score w were less than 0.5, then a (0.5 - w) penalty for the loser as well, with of course any negative scores rounded up to zero. In practice, no matches were played in this period of slow decay from March 21st till the end of June for two reasons: first, the worldwide outbreak of a pandemic meant some players had more important priorities than crazyhouse 960, and secondly once the 2020 Crazyhouse World Championship kicked off, organised in 2020 by JannLee, all eyes were on the double elimination event. The latter has now run its course and whittled down the more than 128 contestants to 12 Candidates who will do battle over the coming months in “10 games of 3+2” round-robin matches, the winner playing IM opperwezen in a Grand Final at the end of the year for the 2020 Crazyhouse World Championship trophy. To see all upcoming matches both in the CWC and in the league, check out the zh calendar in the right-hand column of this blog.

In Season 7.960, unfortunately 17 of the 75 matches went unplayed, with board 1s especially lackadaisical in arranging their matches (only 7 of the 15 board 1 matches were actually played while there was also 1 missed match on board 2, 3 missed matches on board 3, 4 missed matches on board 4, and 2 missed matches on board 5). However, since this was an informal league, there were no penalties and no forfeits for failure to play, although both players would suffer in contributing zero points to their team from the missed match. These unplayed matches were fairly unformly distributed among the teams, with each team missing 5-7 matches, so no team benefitted especially. After all there were 58 matches which did get played and over 128 games of crazyhouse 960 recorded in the following two studies on lichess:

Fumitoks was top board 1, Isachess hero of so many former editions of the league was top board 4 fgalla was top board 5, but the top board 2 the-lone-wolf and top board 3 pkr5025 carried their teammates Mugwort, krxou & colwem to a team Mugwort win in Season 7.960 by the narrowest of margins, a quarter of a single match point! Team plotkin came second, and team FumiLegion a further half match point behind came third. If some of the remaining matches had been played the results could easily have been different. But this to take nothing away from a fantastic win from team Mugwort and a great celebration of crazyhouse 960 on the newly created

Here are 50 puzzles from positions in the zh960 season. You can alternatively practice them directly against computer here.

Level 1.1

Level 1.2

Level 2.1

Level 2.2

Level 3

You can see the solutions in this Highlights from Season 7.960 study, along with annotations of some of the games, or else practice these puzzles for yourself against the computer here.

Enjoy the CWC 2020 Candidates which are about to get underway, have a great summer & keep playing crazyhouse!


Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Seasons 6 & 7 of the ZH League

Congratulations to Schaker ZHulu for winning Season 6 of the crazyhouse team league! The members of the winning team were RapidVariants, AmelyPlaying, d4rkn3ss23, MarlonC, Isachess, adande1 & Zher0.  You can find a summary of the season here:

Player of the season was Isachess with 9/10. This is also the second win in a row for both RapidVariants and Isachess who were in the winning team in Season 5 also. Loch Zhess Monsters came second and TwelveTeam third. Well done to everyone for making an exciting and competitive season. 4th 5th and 6th all came essentially equal with only tiebreaks separating them.

As well as doing several recap videos of the season, I also hosted a first ever crazyhouse puzzle battle setting two big-hitters LegionDestroyer & CrazyHome up against each other (and the clock) to solve puzzles based on this Season. Enjoy the puzzles below and watch how the puzzle battle unfolded to see some of the solutions. You can also practice the studies below in the following practice against computer studies:
Practice Against Computer Studies

I will also post links to the solutions at the end of the blog.

Level 1: (1700)

Level 2: (1800)

Level 3: (1900)


Level 4: (2000)


Level 5: (2100)

Level 6: (2200)

Level 7: (2300)

Level 8: (2400)

Level 9: (2500)

Level 10: (2600)

Once you have had a go for yourselves, you might enjoy the puzzle battle between LegionDestroyer & CrazyHome played on April 1st, 2020 on Levels 1-7.

Practice Against Computer Studies

Full Solution Studies
Season 7 of the crazyhouse league finished on Christmas Day 2019 and had six teams with six players on each team and at least one alt on each board in a 5-week round-robin. The teams were one board smaller than in Seasons 5 and 6 but still showcased some of the best players of the game on board 1: JKtheBullfrog, Mugwort and gsvc took turns for Kneel Before Zhod, while the other teams were headed up by TheFinnisher, RapidVariants, LegionDestroyer, vectorveld and CrazyHome.

The champions of Season 7 after a hard-fought race were the undefeated Recovering Buggers (2 wins and 3 draws) who won on tiebreaks from Rook & Rollers (3 wins and 1 draw). Both scored 7 match points out of a maximum of 10, but Recovering Buggers’ game score of 35/60 outmatched Rook & Rollers on 32/60. Meanwhile, Kneel Before Zhod recovered from 2 match losses to surge into third place after hammering their last two opponents racking up an impressive 35 game points (equal with the leaders, although with one fewer match victory). 

Congratulations to the MVPs of Season 7: Chronatog and fgalla who both won 9/10. We expect them both to play a board higher in future. But even bigger congratulations to the winning team for an amazing combined effort: Recovering Buggers LegionDestroyer d4rkn3ss23 (7/8) Chronatog (9/10) Isachess (8/10) UpGoerFive & adande1 (7/10). 

Player of 2019 goes to (drumroll) Isachess for winning three successive team seasons of the zh league, and one game short of being MVP for a third successive season. Each season he plays a board higher. He is an inspiration to so many that we can keep improving! Finally thanks to the mods colwem, kostasvl, Zher0 and okei for keeping the show on the road. 

Before we embark on Season 8 of the zh league, we have been enjoying the beginning of 2020 with a  special Season 7.960 of 960 crazyhouse on  This is drawing to a close but the Crazyhouse World Championship 2020 is up and away. See the calendar on the right for upcoming matches and some of them will also be streamed live by myself, Mugwort, Kleerkast, JannLee and others. I hope you enjoy them!


Sunday, 29 March 2020

Mating Nets

Crazyhouse might not improve your chess in the short-term. If you play crazyhouse, you might find yourself considering sacking your queen to go for a huge attack or doubling your pawns for better central control and end up suffering as your opponent trades down pieces into an endgame. It will however improve your mind and your vision of mating nets and in the long-term you cannot help but improve your tactical vision. Extra pieces means extra potential.

Here are some standard chess puzzles that crazyhouse players will enjoy, all from a recent series of 157 bullet games played over the course of four hours after midnight Norwegian time under coronavirus lockdown between Andrew Tang (penguingim1) and the World Champion of classical chess, Magnus Carlsen (DrNykterstein). The Iranian teenager Alireza Firouzja (alireza2003) had just hit 3200 bullet on lichess last week, after a couple of impressive wins over Carlsen in Lichess Titled Arenas. Magnus played a long series with Penguin, probably hoping to overtake the young Iranian, and despite winning the series 100½-56½, Penguin was too good and 3200 remained out of reach. Penguin at 3100 now still holds the all-time peak rating of 3256.

Write down your solutions. Highlight the line below each set to read the solutions. How many did you get out of 12?

Solutions: Rh8; Qg1; e7 Ke8 Bc6; Qxh6 Bxh6 Rxh6; f4 Ke4 Re6; g6 Kh8 (Kh6 Qh3 Bh4 Qxh4) Nf7 Kg8 Nh6 Kh8 (Kf8 Qf7) Qg8 Rxg8 Nf7; Bc5! (the final combo to conclude the series, deflecting the defender Nxc5 Rh2 Qg3 is mating, while Ke1 Qe3 only delays mate a few moves)

Solutions: Qa8; g6 Kh6 Rd8 Kh5 Rh8; f4 Nxf4 Bxf4 Kxf4 Qd2! Kxg3 Qh2; Rd8 Rxd8 Rxd8 Ka7 Bb8 Kb6 (Ka8 Bf4 Ka7 Bxe3) Rd6 Ka5 b4 Kb5 (or Black loses the queen) a4; Kg2! Qc7 Nxf6 with a clear advantage, but Kxh4 or gxh4 both lead to mate: Kxh4 Qg4 while gxh4 Qg4 Kh2 Qg1 Kh3 Qh1 Rh2 Qf1 Rg2 Qxg2

In crazyhouse news, the 2020 Crazyhouse World Championship has started and we hope to keep you updated in future blogs!


Wednesday, 30 October 2019

2019 1+0 Candidates Recap & Announcing the Final

The 2019 Bullet Crazyhouse World Championship Candidates are completed after a summer hiatus and the Grand Final between IM opperwezen (Vincent Rothuis from Holland) and JannLee (Justin Tan from Australia) is now underway. The first session of the Final happened last Saturday at 1200UTC with 30 games of 1+0. The second and third sessions will be on the 2nd and 9th November 1200UTC with a further 30 and 40 games respectively to complete the 100 game match. All games will be played on and can be watched on the Lichess TV channels of the respective players as well as being streamed by JannLee (without commentary), Mugwort and okei on Twitch. After the first session opperwezen leads 18-12 with 50.5 being the target for victory. This post is to report how we got here since our announcement of the eight Candidates back in the spring.

The first match of the Candidates was on 21st May between the reigning 2018 World Champion in 3+2 crazyhouse IM opperwezen and the tournament organiser and 2018 CWC Candidate FM littleplotkin (Mark Plotkin from Canada). Opperwezen proved too strong and went on to win six out of his seven matches over the subsequent 31 days, again the first to complete all his matches as in 2018. He only lost to JannLee 14-16. In total he racked up 145 game wins out of 210 games (69% win rate) all but guaranteeing himself a spot in the Final which could only have been denied if two other players scored a greater total of game wins. Despite most matches being completed within 7 weeks as planned, OTB tournaments and the birth of Jann's second child put a stop to the action for a couple of months and the last few matches were not completed till October. With the final match of the Candidates, JannLee overtook opperwezen's game total by one game, scoring 146 game wins, along the way also scoring the biggest demolition of the round robin with 26-4 against VariantsOnly. We are in store for a great Final! Moreover, the winner of the Final will play an exhibition match with a separate prize fund with Jasugi99 (Janak Awatramani from Canada, formerly known as TwelveTeen aka cheesybread on FICS, 12teen on

In third place on 116.5 game wins was chickencrossroad (who famously withdrew from the 2017 Candidates making way for opperwezen to take his place after an intensive qualifying tournament against all-comers). Apart from JannLee and opperwezen, chickencrossroad beat everyone else. In fourth place was penguingim1 on 109 game wins who beat everyone apart from Jann, opper and chicken, and in fifth was mastertan on 96 game wins who beat everyone apart from Jann, opper, chicken and penguin. In 6th was blitzbullet beating littleplotkin in 7th who in turn beat VariantsOnly in 8th, but VariantsOnly saw off blitzbullet in his final game, so the bottom three all won one match. Below is the full table of results and on the second page of the Candidates spreadsheet you can also find all the game links and streams. Thanks to TheFinnisher and LegionDestroyer for helping keep this updated!

See you on coming Saturdays at 1200UTC to watch the Final. To whet your appetite, here are a selection of 40 puzzles of various difficulties which you can either solve in your head, or if you prefer play out against the engine in a Practice with Computer Puzzle Study on lichess. There is also a solutions study. For a video recap of the Candidates (don’t look if you want to enjoy the puzzles below), check out part 1 and part 2 of the Highlights video. Coverage of all the 2019 CWC 1+0 matches (including my own coverage of week 1 of the Finals) may be found in the 2019 CWC 1+0 playlist with 39 videos to date.

Level 1 (1800): Improver

Level 2 (2000): Intermediate

Level 3 (2200): Expert

Level 4 (2400+): Potential Candidate

Instead of solving these in your head, you could also try to play out your solutions against an engine.

Check out the variations here.

We leave you with Jann's own recap of the Candidates and looking forward to the Final:

Keep playing crazyhouse and supporting the community!


Jasugi99 is the 2020 Crazyhouse World Champion!

Jasugi99   (real name NM Janak Awatramani from Canada) followed up his win earlier in December partnering chickencrossroad in the inaugural ...