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 https://challonge.com/noxtc1kv. 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 https://twitch.tv/jannleecrazyhouse 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.
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!|
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:
Here is the 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#