I'm interested in running a local competition for bughouse engines. What chess server software can I use to run the games? The most relevant question I found was but the answer is almost 4 years old.

Is there an well-maintained open source chess server I can use to host a bughouse server?

  • Random thought, how would you run a server for standard chess? If there's something nice/open source, perhaps you could talk to the creators about making a bughouse version?
    – stevec
    Jul 4, 2020 at 2:38

1 Answer 1


As the question you linked indicates there is a way to run bughouse engine games via FICS using XBoard/Winboard, which I also explained in my answer to a related question.

However, if all of your engines are anyway running locally, that is neither very convenient nor an efficient way of running such matches, since the server communication in principle is completely unnecessary. Unfortunately, there does not seem to be any tool for engine matches similar to cutechess as there is for other chess variants.

Therefore, a few months ago I started to develop fairyfishtest as a script for testing bughouse (and many other variants) based on and for my engine Fairy-Stockfish, but it should also work with other CECP engines. It currently still has two issues with bughouse rules, but those are far from impossible to solve.

There is also a fork of python-chess that supports bughouse, but there does not seem to be any documentation on it, so I do not know whether/how it can be used for engine testing in bughouse.

  • Thanks, I'll look at both of those! Do you have any idea how strong Fairy-Stockfish is at bughouse? Does it handle things like stalling on a lost board while playing for the win on the other board? Jul 3, 2020 at 18:05
  • It is in principle quite strong (e.g., superhuman strength in crazyhouse), but so far is lacking in coordination and time management, therefore it sometimes falls for simple sac-sit strategies. Unless I explicitly try to exploit those known weaknesses it is however very hard for me (~2250) to defeat. Improved coordination is in development, but not stable enough yet, see github.com/ianfab/Fairy-Stockfish/issues/122. Jul 3, 2020 at 19:11
  • @ThomasJohnson: It turns out that stalling at a lost board can be prevented by using this rule-set, which is fair and yet guarantees progress.
    – user21820
    Jan 9, 2022 at 6:35

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