Members · Prefs · Laboratory · Collections · Openings · Endgames · Sacrifices · History · Search Kibitzing · Kibitzer's Café · Chessforums · Tournament Index · Players · Kibitzing Holiday Present Hunt

See previous contests:
The 2007 Present Hunt | The 2008 Present Hunt | The 2009 Present Hunt | The 2010 Present Hunt
The 2011 Present Hunt | The 2012 Present Hunt | The 2013 Present Hunt | The 2014 Present Hunt
The 2015 Present Hunt | The 2016 Present Hunt | The 2017 Present Hunt

RULES FOR THE 2018 HOLIDAY PRESENT HUNT: Each clue below refers to a chess game in our database, and these games contain a banner that you can click on to claim a present. Be the first to find the game and click the banner to claim your prize. We will be adding more clues to this page at random intervals through December 31st, 2018. See our Official Rules to view the prizes and for other important information.

NOTE: You are not currently signed into In order to claim a prize, you must have an account. Registration is easy, free, and confidential. If you don't have an account already, visit our Registration Page page to get a free account now! If you do have an account, sign-in so you can claim prizes.

The Clues So Far:

THESE CLUES HAVE BEEN RECENTLY SOLVED: [click here for full list]

clue #31: prize claimed by anneliescuv! (clue by SwitchingQuylthulg)
Easy as XYZ

Results of the Xanadu Young Zebras' club blitz championship:

  1. Zlatko Ilincic
  2. Zoltan Gyimesi
  3. Alexander Goloshchapov
  4. Irakli Bakuradze
  5. Nelli Alexanian
  6. Yaroslav Remizov
  7. Zombor Erdelyi
  8. Oleg Rogozhnikov
  9. Feridun Oney
  10. Xu Ruoying
  11. Yevgen Zamekhovskiy

SOLUTION: J Santos vs Taimanov, 1985
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: Note that the players' initials, read in a zigzag pattern, spell ZIGZAG BINARY ZERO FOR XYZ. So create a binary number by reading the names again, in the same zigzag order, appending 0 for every name (given name or surname) that includes one or more of the letters X, Y, or Z, and 1 for every name that doesn't contain any of those letters. The resulting number, 0100010110000001100000, corresponds to the game ID 1138784.

clue #32: prize claimed by 7krzem7! (clue by SwitchingQuylthulg)
And Another Banana...

SOLUTION: A Antinyan vs E Moradiabadi, 2011
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: A plaintext clue: the solution is simply a game between Antinyan and an Iranian. That all occurrences of "AN" are highlighted in red is a herring.

clue #33: prize claimed by martin1456! (clue by Sargon)
Be Fruitful

SOLUTION: C Landenbergue vs Chiburdanidze, 1990
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: Simply multiply the number of bones in the human body (206) by the number of organs (79) squared. Thus 206 x 79 x 79 = 1285646

clue #34: prize claimed by 7krzem7! (clue by SwitchingQuylthulg)
Return of the Country Code

Nicely eccentric Polish Opening! And Naka's Italian, totally awesome! As novel as Grischuk's Russian attacking moves.

SOLUTION: S Prayitno vs A Margana, 2012
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: The first letters of the sixteen words spell NEPO ANITA ANAGRAM - or, if you read them backwards, MARGANA AT INA OPEN; and this is a game played by Adhy Margana at the 2012 Indonesia Open.

clue #35: prize claimed by The HeavenSmile! (clue by Daniel Freeman)
A Place Both Wonderful and Strange

SOLUTION: G Gallus vs F Jacoby, 1989
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: Pictured is Dr. Jacoby (a.k.a. "Dr. Amp") from the American drama series Twin Peaks.

clue #36: prize claimed by Sastre! (clue by Annie K. & Daniel)
From Europe, with Love

Behind the curtain, in the pantomime
Looking out for a place to go
And you come to me on a summer breeze
Take me to the magic of the moment
Yes Sir, already told you in the first verse
It's no better to be safe than sorry

SOLUTION: V Georgiev vs G Borgo, 2001
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: These are lines from songs of European bands. The solution is to find the track # of each song on its original album:

Behind the curtain, in the pantomime - The Show Must Go On (Queen) - album 'Innuendo' track #12
Looking out for a place to go - Dancing Queen (ABBA) - album 'Arrival ' track #2
And you come to me on a summer breeze - How Deep Is Your Love (Bee Gees) - album 'Saturday Night Fever' track #2
Take me to the magic of the moment - Wind of Change (Scorpions) - album 'Crazy World ' track #4
Yes Sir, already told you in the first verse - Yes Sir, I Can Boogie (Baccara) - album 'Baccara' track #1
It's no better to be safe than sorry - Take On Me (A-Ha) - album 'Hunting High and Low' track #1

clue #37: prize claimed by martin1456! (clue by SwitchingQuylthulg)
Speak, Friend


Hint #1: Think like 17.

Hint #2: One can, the other cannot.

SOLUTION: J Ballent vs Larsen, 2002
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: In this Tolkien-esque puzzle, every row contains one word that can be turned into a new, unrelated word by adding the word "ent" to either the beginning or the end of the word, and one that can't. Every word can also be matched with a different word on the list that is either related to it or synonymous with it. Matching every word that can be modified with "ent" with one that can't, and keeping the modified words in their original order, we get: ENT-ANGLE CORNER, STUD-ENT HUNK, ENT-RAPPER EMCEE, ENT-ICE CREAM, POT-ENT KETTLE, TANG-ENT BITE, ROD-ENT BAR, ENT-WINE ALE, STRING-ENT LINE, ENT-OIL LARD, ENT-RAIL GUARD, ENT-IRE ANGER, ENT-RAIN MIST and PAR-ENT EAGLE. Looking at the first letters of the unmodified words, you'll find the secret message CHECK BBALL GAME; and the solution is a game between B-Ent and Ball-Ent.

clue #38: prize claimed by mooseheadchris! (clue by Annie K.)
Get Your News Here!

Marandi vs Kaleoglu / 5

Hint #1: Here. Right here.

Hint #2: 2122.

Hint #3: _ _ - _ - _ _ - _ _

Hint #4: This is a math problem — no alphabet conversions involved.

SOLUTION: D Dzhakaev vs Y Bayram, 2003
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT:  Marandi vs Kaleoglu is gid 1692122, which references clues 16, 9, 21, and 22 (as implied by "here"). Applying the indicated division to the sum of the gids of the respective solutions to those clues gives (1141269 + 1785690 + 1866877 + 1520839) / 5, which yields the gid 1262935.

clue #39: prize claimed by Stonehenge! (clue by Sargon)
Nostalgic Christmas Collectible

Daniel gave me this Galileo 7 shuttlecraft ornament as a Christmas gift about 20 years ago—right around the time the project was born. Now he's crossed the great divide—far too soon. This unique community; the gift; some amusing comment he left behind in a script—I'm reminded of him every day. And that's a good thing.

Until we meet again my friend,

SOLUTION: H Silbermann vs Vidmar, 1935
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: The solution is to simply compute a 7-digit game ID from NCC 1701/7. "N" is the 14th letter of the alphabet and "C" is the 3rd, so we have 14-3-3 combined with 1701/7 (divide), or 243, producing the game ID 1433243

clue #40: prize claimed by martin1456! (clue by Annie K.)

SOLUTION: Carlsen vs P Potapov, 2002
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT:  The pictures are 'Waterfall' by Maurits Cornelis Escher and 'Landscape with the Ruins of Mount Palatine in Rome' by Peter Paul Rubens. As the title suggests, this clue is about the initials. The first names of the artists are MC and PP, and this is a game between Magnus Carlsen and Pavel Potapov.

clue #41: prize claimed by roentgenium! (clue by Sargon & Annie K.)
Calculated Risk


SOLUTION: N Georgiadis vs Leko, 2017
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: When viewed in a digital font and upside down, the numbers spell "BielB91" (Biel B91), with the solution being one of the most recent games with that opening from Biel.

clue #42: prize claimed by tpstar! (clue by Annie K. & Sargon)
In Memoriam

SOLUTION: A Artidiello vs D Freeman, 2002
PRIZE: A $25 Coupon to the Online Store
COMMENT: These are founders' memorials. This game was played between the founders of


  1. This list is designed to provide some helpful hints and tips to win the contest. See the Official Rules for complete information.
  2. Bookmark this page and check back frequently. You never know when the next clue might appear, and as soon as it does, the race is on. The top of all pages will announce a clue when one is available.
  3. Follow us on Twitter to get tweets the minute a clue is announced.
  4. Read MIT's Have You Tried? guide to solving these types of puzzles.
  5. Each clue has a title. Occasionally the title is critical to solving the clue, most of the time it's intended to be a hint, and sometimes it's utterly meaningless.
  6. Some clues involve initials. E.g., the clue "B.F. vs B.S." might refer to Bobby Fischer vs Boris Spassky. But don't expect the obvious: we like to be intentionally misleading, too.
  7. If you are trying to solve a clue, keep your eye out for a seven-digit game ID number, for that is the index to all games in our database. For example, to see game number 1233404 you just go to (Alternately, you can enter the 7-digit number into our EZ Search on the homepage.) Be aware that the valid range of game ID's goes from 1,000,000 to (approx.) 1,900,000. So you don't have to examine all 10 million numbers, "only" about 900 thousand.
  8. Because every valid game ID begins with the numeral "1", if you see a sequence of 7 items try to figure out how the first item could possibly be interpreted as a "1"--once you've got that, the rest may follow.
  9. Starting in 2012, all clues will have titles. These titles may provide additional hints to help solve the problem, although some are just for amusement, if not red herrings.
  10. Some clues draw upon popular chess literature and anecdotes.
  11. Not all clues will narrow the field down to a single game; some clues may refer to more than one possible game. Some clues are very hard exactly because they are very vague. For clues like these, you'll simply have to search through the possible games and hope that you get lucky. We're not cruel: we try to keep the number of possibilities down to a manageable number.
  12. Some clues involve anagrams. For example, if a clue was "Apply Humor 1850" then you might want to look at Paul Morphy games from 1850. ("Apply Humor" is an anagram of "Paul Morphy".)
  13. We like to pick games from collections, so don't rule out the Chess Game Collection Search as a solving method.
  14. Some clues are puns, similar to what you might find on our Game of the Day. The Game of the Day Archive might come in handy, even though it only goes back one year.
  15. For some clues, a knowledge of chess players and chess history is helpful--but there are also references to literature, language, pop culture, mathematics, and the arts.
  16. Many clues are intentionally misleading, in the spirit of crossword puzzles.
  17. Some clues look easy and truly are. We call these "race clues" because once it's released, the race is on to get to the right game page and claim the prize.
  18. Sometimes a clue will be very hard, and then a subsequent clue will make a reference designed to act as a hint for the earlier very hard clue. So if everybody is stuck on a real stumper, pay careful attention to the new clues being released.
  19. We promise that we will never insert hints into the HTML of the pages. This includes the filenames (e.g. what the clue graphic file is named in our web server) as well as "alt text" that we use for our graphics. In other words, there's no point in viewing the hidden elements of the HTML page, because we assure you that it will never help.
  20. Don't ask the chessgames administrators for any clarification of the meanings of clues. Some of them are designed to be confusing and ambiguous; we will refuse to clarify their meaning. However, we sometimes offer additional hints to clues which go unsolved for a long period of time.
  21. To give everybody a fair chance, there is a limit of five (5) prizes per member. If you are skilled enough to win 5 prizes you'll have to stop playing until next year.
  22. It is possible to design software that downloads thousands of games in bulk to scan the HTML pages for prize graphics. This is regarded as cheating and results in immediate forfeit of all prizes. We have measures in place designed to detect and prevent this. Anybody caught using these methods will be disqualified, and the prizes will not be awarded but instead returned to the prize pool.
  23. will be the most important site to use for all clues, but being skilled with can also help a lot. Some of the clues will involve anagrams, for which the Internet Anagram Server is an indispensable resource. Cryptograms are easily cracked with an online tool such as QuipQuip. For questions of history, art, mathematics, or a number of other subjects that our clues reference, Wikipedia will surely come in handy. Having a good dictionary will also be an asset.
  24. There is no rule against discussing clues in progress. Traditionally, this is done at the Kibitzer's Café.
  25. Since many clues refer to player names, our Player Directory will be a valuable tool. When searching for players by name, it's probably best to use the Advanced Search on the homepage.

    and finally:

  26. This contest would not exist were it not for the generous contributions of our sponsors. Whether or not you win, you should take a minute to visit their websites and see the fine publications and merchandise they have to offer.

home | about | login | logout | F.A.Q. | your profile | preferences | Premium Membership | Kibitzer's Café | Biographer's Bistro | new kibitzing | chessforums | Tournament Index | Player Directory | Notable Games | World Chess Championships | Opening Explorer | Guess the Move | Game Collections | ChessBookie Game | Chessgames Challenge | Store | privacy notice | contact us
Copyright 2001-2019, Chessgames Services LLC