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That's Crazy!

One of my favorite chess variants is crazy house because of how dynamic and insane the position can become. This is because you are able to place the pieces that you capture back onto the board, resulting in each player having to be aware of potential drops that may take place. Pawns can't be placed on the backrank, but they can be placed a square away from promotion. This can also result in a king getting chased down and checkmated by placed pieces. Take this game for instance:

But recently, I would gain a new highest rating in crazy house during a live tournament, where each game was 1 minute with no time bonus. These are some of my favorite games.

Game 1

In this game, I was playing with the white pieces. I would start the game off with c4, to which black played e6. This would foreshadow a battle for the light squares, especially on d5. I would bring my knight out, and black would lash out with d5, taking control of the square. But I would trade in the center and play d4 to lock the center of the board. 

The game continues with fairly simple and standard development. We both bring out our knights, and I prepare to fianchetto my light squared bishop. However, black begins a quick rush into my position by developing his bishop to pin my knight and Ne4 to attack my knight. 

However, I know my knight is sufficiently guarded, so I castle and continue with opening principles. But then, black trades my knight, and then captures my pawn. I was caught off guard by this because I didn't think he would capture my pawn, and I instinctively moved my rook, but the bishop was just hanging and up for grabs.

Black moves his bishop out to safety, and I develop my queen to hit black's weak b and d pawns. Black decides to move his bishop in order to block my queen's line of sight on the b pawn. I could have taken the d pawn, but I decided to bring in my knight first, but this actually is too slow because black has a way to defend his center. 

Black places a pawn that he captured onto e6, defending his d pawn. This also builds up a chain of light squared pawns into the center of the board. I retaliate by dropped a pawn of my own to build a chain of dark squared pawns, counteracting black's bishop. Black, however, tries to attack my queen with his knight, but this locks his bishop in to be freely captured. Black can dely the capture with danger levels, but its fall is inevitable. 

I side step black's knight and trap the knight. Black has to sack his knight for a pawn. He also loses his bishop. It is not only losing 5 points but it is technically doubled since I gain 5 points to use on the board. This is one of the most powerful and dangerous aspects of crazyhouse. 

The game continues with me placing the bishop on the board to prevent my opponent from castling. Black pushes forward his b pawn, but I simply also put a knight into the game. I trade bishop for knight, but I'm not concerned over trading a somewhat bad trade because of how great the material advantage has grown. 

Black does try to come up with some counter play by also placing his pieces onto the board to harrass my queen, but I can simply sidestep black's attempts. 

The game ends with me gaining a rook, and chasing black's king down to checkmate when I place the queen down. This also shows how in crazyhouse, you have to be careful of the open squares next to the king because a piece can just be plopped right next to it. 

Game 2

 

In this game, I was playing with the black pieces. White plays e4, and I respond with c5. But instead of usual play, white decides to go for a quick scholar's mate. Shockingly, I defend against it with e6. 

The game continues with the development of the knights. But notice how I am able to gain momentum of the game early on because I am able to develop with tempo on the queen. This is a big reason that queens shouldn't be developed early in the game because it is the piece that can be easily attacked for a lot of points if it has no support. 

The game continues with white lashing out in the center of the board and an exchange takes place. I try to immediately put my gained material onto the board, but I accidentally place my knight a square off. I wanted to attack white's queen, but I ended up only looking at the bishop. It is not a terrible move, but not the best. 

The game continues with white placing a pawn down to build in the center, but the pawn isn't actually adequately defended, allowing me to capture it. Additionally, white sacks his bishop to bring out my king, but it is still fairly difficult to get to my king. So I don't think it was a great move, especially since white continued to give away pawns. 

However, black does sack one more pawn to lure my king into the center of the board and deliver a fork of my king and knight. I decide to try and set up my own fork with bishop and knight, but black defends by placing a knight to defend the c2 square. Luckily, I can remove this defender by attacking it with a pawn, allowing me to eventually deliver the fork. 

Here, white plays the insane move of sacking his queen for knight. Why? I think it may have been time trouble, although there were still about 15 seconds remaining. White tries to compensate by hunting down my king with captured knights. White may have relied on my open king to flag me, but I am able to counter the moment white doesn't check by placing down a second queen. 

I begin pushing white's king into the back of the board, and I am able to put a pawn onto the second rank. This is another annoying and powerful feature of crazyhouse. A pawn doesn't have to march across the board to promote anymore. Black does win the queen back with a rook fork, but its king is under a lot of pressure. 

And just like that, black can do nothing to prevent checkmate after my pawn promotes, and I am able to deliver mate with my queen. But what are your thoughts on these games? Do you like crazyhouse? Let me know!

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