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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

RULES FOR THE 2013 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 until December 24th, 2013. 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 2013 Chessgames Holiday Puzzle Hunt is over! Congratulations to the winners. All mailed prizes will be sent out by the first week of January. Thanks to everybody for playing, and we hope to do it again next year.

Merry Christmas!
The Chessgames Staff

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

clue #53: prize claimed by DRENNAN507!
Marshall in the Marshmallows
  • _ _ _ _ ◯ _ ◯  is hiding in CARBONIZATION
  • ◯ _ _ _ _ _ _  is hiding in BARNYARD
  • _ _ _ _ _ _ ◯ _  is hiding in CHANDELIER
  • ◯ _ _ _ _ _ _  is hiding in SHELLING
  • _ ◯ _ ◯ _ _ _  is hiding in CONSTELLATIONS
  • _ _ _ ◯ _ _ _  is hiding in SANDPAPERING
  • _ _ _ _ ◯ ◯ ◯  is hiding in GOVERNING
But where is  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ ?

SOLUTION: H Behling vs Z J Szabo, 1999
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: Each word has the name of a player embedded in it. The answers are: Aronian, Barnard, Chandler, Helling, Collins, Sandrin, and Goering. The circled letters spell "IN BEHOLDING", the intended answer to which is Behling.

clue #54: prize claimed by sleepyirv!
Prime Games of 2013

Reid vs
De Haan
Radjabov vs
Belous vs
?Navara vs
Guseinov vs
Paehtz vs
Carlsen vs
Kovalenko vs

SOLUTION: Ponomariov vs A Moiseenko, 2013
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: Notice that the number of moves in the game are all prime numbers. More than that, they form a magic square adding up to 177 horizontally, vertically, and diagonally:
   17  89  71
113 59 5
47 29 101
The missing number is 113, so your goal is to find a 113 move game from 2013. There are 7 in the database; this is one of them.

clue #55: prize claimed by BVer!
Open Wide and Say...

SOLUTION: R Hopton vs F Eastwood, 1860
PRIZE: A signed copy of Introduction to 1993 World Chess Championship by Ray Keene
COMMENT: This is a cryptogram where every symbol is the capital letter "A" in a different font. First turn it into a normal cryptogram, then using a tool like Decrypto you end up with the plaintext, "A DUTCH OPENING WHERE BLACK WINS IN SIX MOVES".

clue #56: prize claimed by MostlyAverageJoe!
Wrote Memory

  • Tiffany's measurement (WA)
  • Game stopper (D)
  • Greek letter (E)
  • Like Swiss cheese (C)
  • Conceited (T)
  • Low poker hand (B)
  • Swell places? (ME)
  • Sacred (U)
  • Caviar, e.g. (W)
  • Editor's mark (R)
  • Witnesses (E)
  • Gold source (O)
  • Trim (Y)
  • Live like a king? (E)
  • On a bit (W)
  • Altogether (E)
  • Partridge's tree (E)
  • Confiscate (T)
  • Have a stroke? (E)
  • Points on a farm? (O)
  • Proverbial incentive (E)

SOLUTION: Miles vs A Butcher, 1969
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: Every one of the items on the left column combines with one in the middle column and one in the right column, in that they are all homophones. For example: Like Swiss cheese is HOLEY, Sacred is HOLY, and Altogether is WHOLLY. The answers to the left column are: CARAT, RAIN, RHO, HOLEY, VAIN, PAIR, SEAS. The answers to the middle column are: HOLY, ROE, CARET, SEES, VEIN, PARE, and REIGN. The right column answers are REIN, WHOLLY, PEAR, SEIZE, ROW, VANE, and CARROT. Once you find the triplets, string the letters in parentheses together to get these seven words: WARE DEW EWE CUE TOO BYE MEET (Where do you queue to buy meat?) which indicates the answer, "BUTCHER".

clue #57: prize claimed by JamesBJames!
Memoirs of a Vegas Clown

He stared at the carbon copy in disbelief. What an invoice! After years of being a professional clown, he finally made the bigtime. Over two thousand bucks for handing out helium balloons to kids! When the day was done, he strolled down the neon avenue with a pocket full of cash and a golden future ahead.

SOLUTION: J L Llapasset vs P Chenaux, 1989
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: Four of the words in the narrative are found on the periodic table: carbon (C), helium (He), neon (Ne), and gold (Au). That spells CHENEAU.

clue #58: prize claimed by sleepyirv!
Where is the Woman?
  • (zip code for Unionville, Virginia) * (the number of human chromosomes)
  • (A Spanish liqueur) * (the number on Herbie the Love Bug) * (submarine in 2000 film)
  • (first Mersenne prime) * (Reggie Jackson's uniform number) * (area code of Lafayette, Lousiana) * (area code of Newcastle upon Tyne)

SOLUTION: Adler vs Maroczy, 1896
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: First do the math: 22567*46 = 1038082; 43*53*571 = 1301309; 3*9*337*191 = 1737909. These are game IDs, and the winners are all characters from Sherlock Holmes: Watson, Mycroft, and Moriarty. "The woman" of Doyle fiction is Irene Adler.

clue #59: prize claimed by goldfarbdj!
First and Last
  1. So you're telling me there's a chance... YEAH!
  2. Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
  3. Daddy, I got cider in my ear.
  4. That's my puck, baby, don't you ever touch my puck!
  5. He gave life to a body that he made from parts of other bodies that had died.
  6. We won't get any older, and we won't ever die.

SOLUTION: Ivkov vs I Bilek, 1966
PRIZE: The book Techniques of Positional Play from New in Chess
COMMENT: Each of these quotes comes from a movie. They are: 1. Dumb and Dumber (1994), 2. Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986), 3. Guys and Dolls (1955), 4. Happy Gilmore (1996), 5. House of Frankenstein (1944), and 6. Cocoon (1985). If you take the first letter of each movie, and the last digit of each year then you end up with a list of chess squares--for example, "Dumb and Dumber (1994)" indicates "d4". The squares are: d4 f6 g5 h6 h4 c5. Now go to the Opening Explorer and interpret these squares as a chess opening: 1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5 h6 3.Bh4 c5. This is the only game that starts like that.

clue #60: prize claimed by BVer!
Waiting for Cluedot

  • VERA
  1. _ _ _ _   ◯ _ _ _ _
  2. _ ◯ _ _   _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
  3. _ _ _ _ ◯ _
  4. _ _ _ _ _ _ _ ' _   _ _ ◯ _ _ _
  5. _ _ _   _ _ _ _ _ _ ◯
  6. ◯ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

SOLUTION: M Porges vs Steinitz, 1874
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: The reference to Waiting for Godot was to get you thinking in the direction of "unseen heroes": characters from literature and television who never fully appear in scenes. They are: 1. Twin Peaks (Diane), 2. Home Improvement (Wilson), 3. Cheers (Vera), 4. Charlie's Angels (Charlie), 5. Don Quixote (Dulcinea), 6. Seinfeld (Steinbrenner). The circled letters spell "PORGES".

clue #61: prize claimed by Oliveira!
Missile Toe

SOLUTION: B Hoenlinger vs H Steiner, 1951
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: Pictured is Baldur, the Norse god, slain by Loki's dart made of mistleloe. In the game, Baldur Hoenlinger is pierced by a bishop.

clue #62: prize claimed by Spuddy!
Christmas Math

SOLUTION: J Ramakrishna vs B S Shivananda, 2005
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: Returning to the theme of upside-down calculators: if you multiply 461375 (SLEIGH) with 040404 (HOHOHO) you get 18641395500. Now divide that by 13650 (OSGEI) to get the game ID, 1365670.

clue #63: prize claimed by AnimusEtOblivio!
Yummy Christmas Treats


SOLUTION: Emms vs J C Hawksworth, 1986
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: There are 20 Ms, which brings to mind John Emms. Here he wins in 20 moves.

clue #64: prize claimed by Pi Guy!
In Closing

SOLUTION: D Papadopulos vs D Podesta, 2000
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: The 3rd, 7th, 10th, 16th, 17th, 25th, and 26th words are red. Use these numbers to index into the closing "Happy Holidays, Chessgames Staff" to reveal the letters PODESTA. We hope you've had fun during this contest and wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


  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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 1234567 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.) 1,700,000. So you don't have to examine all 10 million numbers, "only" about 700 thousand.
  6. 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.
  7. Starting last year, all clues will have titles. These titles may provide additional hints to help solve the problem, although some are red herrings.
  8. Some clues draw upon popular chess literature and anecdotes.
  9. 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.
  10. 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".)
  11. We like to pick games from collections, so don't rule out the Chess Game Collection Search as a solving method.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Many clues are intentionally misleading, in the spirit of crossword puzzles.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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. 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.
  21. 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. 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.
  22. 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:

  23. 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.

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