ICS Interview – grogers

THE ICS INTERVIEWS SERIES – No. 007 – GROGERS
Interview conducted March 2011
First published March 2019

 

INTERVIEWER

Thanks for agreeing to be interviewed as part of the ICS Interviews project. You’ll be categorized under the Crazyhouse category. You’ve played more than 90,000 rated crazyhouse games on FICS – the most known by any human. Closing in on 100,000 games, what keeps you chugging along with these games?

GROGERS

Well… to be honest, I stink at chess.  I’ve never studied, I always play fast, and never think as much as I should.  Because of this, I always found better success at the variants (but even then, modest success).  Years ago (late 90’s and early 00’s), suicide had an active following, so I played that.  Suicide play cooled off, so I moved to crazyhouse.  I find it an interesting and dynamic game.  I’m faster than average so mostly play 1 0.  14 years of 1 0 play can rack up a lot of games.  Is Grateful (RIP) still number 2 in all time games?

INTERVIEWER

How did you get introduced to online chess? Have you ever played anywhere other than FICS?

GROGERS

Can’t remember how I stumbled on FICS back in ’97, but it’s the only place I’ve ever played online.  I may have logged on to chess.net (was that what it was called), ICS, EICS, and others over the years, but 99.999999% of games have been on FICS.

INTERVIEWER

I assume you were introduced to crazyhouse on FICS, as that variant was first added to an _ICS server at MEWIS in 1998. FICS then implemented it in early 1999 with ICC lagging behind by at least several months – I believe ICC may have finally implemented in 2000. Previous to that point on FICS, people had to play crazyhouse either in examination mode or by using a homemade pair of unrated bughouse bots that each player would partner. Since you’ve been on FICS from at least 1997, I assume you remember this period of time? Did you ever play crazyhouse using either of the other two methods described? Did you ever have a crazyhouse teacher?

GROGERS

Never played crazyhouse before it was introduced as an official variant.  Back then, I was playing suicide. Never had a teacher.  I did take a few bughouse “lessons” from tantheman.  Amazing stuff.  But thanks to the conditions I usually play under (see below), I find it hard to incorporate much of any “learning”. As an aside, someday I’ll write an engine to solve suicide.  The game reduces so quickly with forced captures and lines that it will be solved. It drives me crazy that people still play 2 … Bb7 which is a losing line.  I miss lenthep’s “Bb7 loses” page.  If anyone has it archived, I’d love a copy.

INTERVIEWER

Your 90,000+ crazyhouse games dwarf your games in all other variants – even bughouse is only at about 37,000 or so. What do you enjoy the most about crazyhouse?

GROGERS

Generally, I’d rather play bughouse.  But I often play these games at work (don’t tell my partners) and it’s a lot easier to pop in and play a few 1 0 crazyhouse games than it is to find a partner and play bug.  I also don’t think it’s fair to my partners or opponents in bug that I may have to leave at a moments notice. I actually think I’m an honest 2200 crazyhouse and maybe 2000 in bug at today’s rating levels.  But 95% of my games are played without sound, taking phone calls, and looking over my shoulder.

INTERVIEWER

Have you ever played shogi? Crazyhouse is generally considered to have been first played somewhere around 1827 and there are recorded crazyhouse games played by correspondence players from AISE from at least the 1960s. It was known as “chessgi” by most of those players due to the “combination” of chess and shogi. Do you know anything else about the background of crazyhouse? On ICC, Qualo claims to have invented the game, but that seems rather doubtful.

GROGERS

Never played shogi, but I’ll probably look it up now!

INTERVIEWER

Apart from bughouse, are there any other chess variants you love? Do you generally enjoy playing chess online? Do you play chess OTB?

GROGERS

See above – suicide!  Brief dabble with atomic when it was first implemented, but people so quickly learned deep opening theory, that it lost its appeal. Never play OTB – not since high school.

INTERVIEWER

Do you enjoy playing bughouse chess as well?

GROGERS

Love it, but it’s usually an emotional challenge!


This was an abbreviated interview as the interviewer and grogers ended up spending the rest of time talking about wine instead. The interviewer would like to thank grogers for sponsoring the entire production runs of a few small vineyards. You can continue to find grogers playing crazyhouse at lichess. Raise a glass to him and play some crazyhouse yourself!

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