Crazyhouse Chess is a game that has been gaining popularity in the last few years. It’s a chess variant where you can win your opponent’s pieces, and the rules are similar to regular chess.
But the differences between these two games are what make Crazyhouse Chess so unique and exciting.
In this blog, we will discuss everything you need to know about Crazyhouse Chess. We will start with an introduction explaining what is crazyhouse chess, followed by a brief history of this game, how to play crazyhouse chess, and how to improve in crazyhouse chess.
What is Crazyhouse Chess?
As mentioned, Crazyhouse chess is just like a normal game of chess wherein you can win your opponent’s pieces, the catch is that a piece that has been won can be returned on to the board.
Now stay with us here, it’s not called Crazyhouse for nothing.
Crazyhouse is in a way a 2-player version of Bughouse chess, also known as Tandem or Siamese chess, wherein two boards are used and there are 4 players, players of the same color exchange each other’s won or captured pieces and can return them on to the board.
Basically, Crazhouse is the same but with only 2 players.
There is no direct history on how Crazyhouse chess came to be, but it can be deduced that like Bughouse, it’s just a variation to make it more accessible and playable for 2 players.
How to play Crazyhouse Chess
As mentioned, the big difference in Crazyhouse chess compared to classical chess is the capability to bring back or reintroduce a captured or won piece back onto the board. The rest of the rules are almost the same as seen below:
- A piece that is captured or won will automatically reverse its color and will be added to a player’s “bank”.(If you’re playing online like on chess.com, a captured or won piece will have an @ symbol beside it for notation purposes).
- Captured or won pieces can only be reintroduced onto the board on an empty square.
- A captured or won piece can be reintroduced onto the board to execute a check or checkmate.
- A captured or won piece can be reintroduced onto the board to block a check or checkmate.
- Your turn can be done with either a move or reintroducing a captured or won piece onto the board.
- Pawns don’t need to be dropped on the 1st or 8th ranks.
- Games are still won via a checkmate, stalemate, or time-out.
How To Improve in Crazyhouse Chess
There really isn’t a set all way to improve in a game of Crazyhouse chess.
But one way to be able to survive a round of Crazyhouse chess is to play more games of classical chess and create your own tactics — how you would execute your opening or answer back to a player’s initial response.
Crazyhouse in its sense is a variation of classical chess, which is why it would be best to get yourself accustomed and well versed with classical chess strategies, and from there plug in the possibilities with the possible reintroduction of captured or won pieces.
With the reintroduction of pieces on the board, one must not only take into account of the onboard possibilities but as well as the pieces in the opposing player’s bank.
This then pushes a player to choose wisely on what pieces they would like to computer or win with, and what pieces they will allow to be captured or won.
If you think of it, the game itself doesn’t have any tactical options by the book, since anything is possible, even literally bringing the dead back alive. To get better at Crazyhouse, learn how to get better at Chess in general and your improvements will correlate with other variants as well.
In the opening game, the White has the advantage to set the tempo of the game while the Black needs to be able to foresee and halt whatever the White is planning to on to the onset.
- Do not make unnecessary pawn exchanges or moves, your pawns will be highly profitable resources in the mid-game that you will need to block or execute a check or checkmate on a reintroduction on your turn.
- Castling isn’t always assuring your King’s safety, castling in Crazyhouse means being prepared for pawn exchanges as well as sacrificing pieces in order to keep your King safe.
Essentially, once you’ve established your lines in a game of Crazyhouse, anything and we mean anything is possible at this point.
Exchanges are the name of the middle game, and there will be a lot of this. Make sure that your exchanges are tactical (whatever that may mean to you) and if you do make an exchange as much as possible make it equal (a pawn to a pawn, a bishop for a bishop).
The middlegame happens fast, hence it being called Crazyhouse, and you need to be prepared for this. In the event that you see a weakness, but your bank isn’t enough to go for it, you will need to force exchanges, and this happens a lot.
But in the same like, don’t center your tactics on exchanges, this will take time and ultimately make you slower in the game, make sure that you balance your moves with the exchanges that you need to execute in order to win the game.
Exchanges…exchanges…exchanges, there will be a lot of these — exchanges to block, exchanges to execute, and exchanges to just keep the game going.
Overall for the endgame, you just need to keep your head in the game and be observant of what’s happening all the time, because the minute one player blunders, that gives an opening to the opponent to take the win.
Crazyhouse chess seems crazy (pun intended), the game itself pushes a player to literally think out of the box, and be prepared for anything on the board.
Most often, a game of Crazyhouse is played to kill time, a lot of Chess aficionados sit down for a game when they are bored with classical chess and would like to do something different.
So now, are you ready for a round of Crazyhouse?