The 60-game Final of 3+2 crazyhouse on lichess.org was split across three days on December 17th, 19th & 21st at 18:00UTC. The match was live-streamed by LM JannLee at http://www.twitch.tv/jannleecrazyhouse joined by GM Yasser Seirawan, Mugwort, Kleerkast, FM zyxon and OldHas-Been also known as therealgnejs on Twitch who streamed most of the Candidates matches.
If you want to re-live the action, then read no further and watch the streams!
In the run-up to the Final, catask was hotly favoured with a 200-point rating advantage (2965 to 2763) on lichess, five Candidate adoptions (vs four for Jasugi99 in 2020), an 88% Candidate win rate (vs 85% for Jasugi99 in 2020) and the match fitness of the Challenger on his side, having had his mettle tested by the best in the game and emerging undefeated and practically unscathed.
His narrowest margin of victory was 7-3 against JannLee, opperwezen & zyxon, the latter coming closest to unsettling him with a strategy of creating chaos on the board and hoping catask would make mistakes in the resulting complications. Zyxon missed a mate in 19: Qxh2!! and a mate in 11: N@c6+!! as well as having good chances in other games. However, when catask is in his comfort zone, he is impossible to contend with. He steadily improves his position, making useful moves, keeping his king extremely safe before unleashing on his opponent and exploiting their weaknesses. So any opponent who adopted a chess-like approach tended to get demolished. Jasugi99, the master of attack, would certainly be the one opponent who could take him down.
On day 1, Jasugi99 won the first and last game, but catask proved too strong, winning by the same ratio of 7 to 3 as he had against JannLee, opperwezen & zyxon in the Candidates. So day 1 ended with catask already with a formidable 14-6 lead. Game 20 won by Jasugi99 was a monumental struggle lasting 151 moves, a new record for the Crazyhouse World Championship, surpassing the 94-move game between blitzbullet & mariorton in the 2021 Candidates, this itself surpassing the 2018 marathon 93-move game between ciw & crosky.
Jasugi99 started day 2 brightly winning the first two games, bringing the deficit down to just 6, but it was one-way traffic after that. Jasugi99 suffered a painful missed mate in game 11 after dropping a knight on h6 where he missed it could be taken by a backward-moving bishop instead of on f6 and this ended up being the third in a streak of 12 games catask won to conclude day 2. This would be the sixth adoption streak for catask in the 2021 Crazyhouse World Championships. Having lost only 4 games on day 2, this left catask on the brink of victory with a 30-10 lead going into the final 20 games.
Jasugi99 would have had to win every game on day 3 just to force a tiebreak, so to keep the match interesting, JannLee augmented the $2000 prize fund with an extra $100 with $5 on offer for every game won on day 3. When catask took the first two games to extend his winning streak to 14 games unanswered, he confirmed his title as the 2021 Champion, but then came the Jasugi99 fight-back taking the next five games. A massive tournament on lichess disrupted the servers momentarily in game 10, but fortuitously the position had already petered out into a forced draw, the first ever in CWC Final history. At that stage, Jasugi99 actually led 6.5-3.5 on day 3, but a streak of 5 for catask in the final stretch put him back on top for the day 10.5-9.5. The total score across the 60 games was a dominant 40.5-19.5 in favour of catask.
With the two best players of the game fighting it out for the title, and six top players in the commentary stream led by JannLee & GM Yasser Seirawan, it was an awesome spectacle and we have a formidable Champion. Here is a roster of Champions past & present:
Massive Congratulations to catask!
You can keep up to date with any future crazyhouse events in the calendar in the sidebar of https://zhchess.blogspot.com.
If you are interested in following or participating in this event in 2022, please join the Crazyhouse World Championship team on lichess.
In the meantime, do join the House: Chess Variants Discord Server to follow the latest happenings in the Bughouse World Championship. And finally we would also like to extend congratulations to fast-tsunami from Brazil for taking the crown in the 2021 Atomic World Championship (AWC) which has taken place every year since 2016.
Have a very Merry Christmas and wishing you all the best in the New Year!