Crazyhouse Chess

Crazyhouse chess is more than simply a two-player version of bughouse chess. But its provenance is murky and unclear at best.  No matter, we can still examine its online history as it only recently made a splash onto the online chess servers just a couple of years before the millennium.


   When the online server US Chess Live (USCL) was partnered with the US Chess Federation (USCF), they were allotted about a page or two in every Chess Life magazine.  During the winter of 2001, I was asked by Amy Sullivan (Indigo) to write an article on a chess variant - preferably a popular one that would entice new players to come online and play on USCL.  And so I selected Crazyhouse chess, set out in search of a suitable game, found one that was rather short and began researching and writing a short article.  And in February of 2002, the article was finally published in that month's Chess Life.  I submitted it without a byline and it was printed as is.  Consider this your very short introduction to this chess variant!

I have copies of the article in two versions (a scanned image) and a rough (PDF file) that was submitted to Chess Life.

The Start of Online Crazyhouse

    Prior to MEWIS-2, there wasn't an automated way to play crazyhouse on an ICS server.  You could play an odd game of bughouse with each player logging into the ICS twice, or actually using a strange chess engine that was designed to allow crazyhouse play on unrated games by simply setting up a position where each player on the other board would immediately give to the player what they had just captured on their board.  Unfortunately, the names of such engines have been lost to time (or at least as far as my memory serves me).  Another option would have been to use the bsetup option, which is rather clunky and only works as untimed games.

    MEWIS-2 was the first chess server to offer online play of crazyhouse chess, and this feature was offered in the spring of 1998.

[Last Modified : 18 May 2009 -- Nick Long]
2009 Nick Long