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New in Chess   Coach Jay

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

RULES FOR THE 2016 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, 2016. 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 2016 Chessgames Holiday Puzzle Hunt is over! Congratulations to the winners. Thanks to everybody for playing, and we hope to do it again next year.

If you didn't win a prize, go over to our Santa Claus Page and enter into our 'Dear Santa' Contest where over 20 more premium subscription will be given away!

Merry Christmas!
The Chessgames Staff

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

clue #53: prize claimed by DavidDM!

SOLUTION: Kasparov vs Smyslov, 1981
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: When you solve this nonogram (a.k.a. Picross) you'll get this image spelling out "GK VS".

clue #54: prize claimed by 7krzem7!
Way Out There

SOLUTION: Ehlvest vs Kamsky, 2010
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: These are simply astrological planetary symbols, you should assign each one a number based on how far it is from the sun. Mercury, Jupiter, Uranus, Venus, Mars, Saturn, Neptune = 1572468.

clue #55: prize claimed by OBIT!

SOLUTION: Harper vs Blackburne, 1868
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: On top is a Harpist ("Harper"), on the bottom is the "Black Death" (a nickname for Blackburne).

clue #56: prize claimed by AnimusEtOblivio!
Gotta Catch 'em All

Pokémon leave us songs of natural enthusiasm.

Hint: Here's but one example of natural enthusiasm. Here's another one.

SOLUTION: N Gaprindashvili vs A Aleksandrov, 1990
PRIZE: A One Year Subscription to NIC Magazine Digital
COMMENT: The title is a Pokémon indication, and the text is an acrostic for "PLUS ONE". The trick is to focus on a particular aspect of Pokémon: their proclivity to say (or sing) their own name. Of the characters shown, the ones often say/sing their own name are 500,000 (Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy, "I am Groot!"), 325,000 (Timmy from South Park, "Timmmmmy!"), 65,724 (The Dinks from Spaceballs, "Dink!"), 50,000 (American rap artist Flavor Flav, "Flava Flaaaaav!"), 66,503 (Scooby Doo, "Scoooooooby Doo!"), 40,001 (The Incredible Hulk, "Hulk Smash!"), and 349 (the cuckoo bird, sings "cuckoo, cuckoo"). Simply add these numbers up: 500000 + 325000 + 65724 + 50000 + 66503 + 40001 + 349 = 1047577; then use the acrostic ("plus one") to get 1047578.

clue #57: prize claimed by tpstar!
On That You Can Rely

Three Little Words

SOLUTION: Lasker vs Tarrasch, 1908
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: A reference to the Lasker vs Tarrasch WCC of which there is a famous (probably apocryphal) anecdote that Tarrasch said something to the effect of, "Mr. Lasker, I have only three words to say to you: check and mate!"

clue #58: prize claimed by shrdlu!
Say Uncle!

SOLUTION: Spirit of Adventure vs Donald Duck, 1959
PRIZE: A One Year Subscription to NIC Magazine Digital
COMMENT: Pictured are jazz legends Hugh Masekela, Miles Dewey Davis, and Louis Armstrong. Together this makes "Huey, Dewey, and Louie" -- the nephews of Donald Duck!

clue #59: prize claimed by 7krzem7!
Have a Slice of Christmas Pi


SOLUTION: M Cichy vs R Fiala, 1995
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: The code is a YouTube ID for 9,999,999 Tears by Dickey Lee. According to tools such as the Pi Search Page, the first occurance of the string 9999999 appears at position 1722776 after the decimal point. (Fun fact: the slightly shorter 999999, against all odds, appears at the very early position of 762.) Clue by Sargon.

clue #60: prize claimed by lucifuge1968!
Merry Pawn Mass


SOLUTION: Ding Liren vs Aronian, 2013
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: The diagram illustrates the pawns on the queenside at the end of this game.

clue #61: prize claimed by druid!
Join the Band

SOLUTION: Zsuzsa Polgar vs V Spasov, 1993
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: Depicted are elements from The Twelve Days of Christmas song: a piper piping, a lord a-leaping, a goose a-laying, and drummer drumming. Using the numbers in the song this gives you 11-10-6-12 or 1110612.

clue #62: prize claimed by DavidDM!
That's What Christmas Is


(This is an audio clue. If your browser does not play the file, download it to your favorite MP3 player.)

SOLUTION: Labelle vs J Hardinge, 1969
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: This is Patti LaBelle singing That's What Christmas Is To Me. You can watch the performance live on YouTube.

clue #63: prize claimed by kevinatcausa!
Air Traffic Control

SOLUTION: Ikarus vs Comet, 2000
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: Oh no, Icarus and Comet are on a collision course! Clue idea by Annie K.

clue #64: prize claimed by AnimusEtOblivio!
Easiest. Clue. Ever.

SOLUTION: NN vs Santa Claus, 1908
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: This clue was a real present, and also a reminder that if you didn't win a prize in our annual Holiday Present Hunt Contest, you still can register to win a free year of Chessgames premium services over at our Santa Claus page. Just make a post starting with the words "Dear Santa" and you'll automatically be entered into the drawing.

Merry Christmas to all!


  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. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.) 1,800,000. So you don't have to examine all 10 million numbers, "only" about 800 thousand.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Some clues draw upon popular chess literature and anecdotes.
  10. 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.
  11. 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".)
  12. We like to pick games from collections, so don't rule out the Chess Game Collection Search as a solving method.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Many clues are intentionally misleading, in the spirit of crossword puzzles.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. There is no rule against discussing clues in progress. Traditionally, this is done at the Kibitzer's Café.
  24. 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:

  25. 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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