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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 2017 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, 2017. 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 2017 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 29 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 sleepyirv!
Pictures at an Exhibition

SOLUTION: G da Cutri vs Perbin, 1580
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: A blurred detail of the painting "Sfida scacchistica alla corte del Re di Spagna" depicting Giovanni Leonardo Di Bona da Cutri at the court of Philip II of Spain, circa 1575.

clue #54: prize claimed by notliketal!
Order Up

26th of 1631

SOLUTION: Carlsen vs Anand, 2012
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: This is the 26th game of the 1631st event in our Tournament Index, which is Bilbao Masters (2012).

clue #55: prize claimed by PhilFeeley!
Vasárnapi Ujság

SOLUTION: Z von Balla vs Tartakower, 1921
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: Shown is an illustration from the 25 September 1921 issue of Vasárnapi Ujság (full document can be seen here) that had a lot of material on the Budapest (1921) tournament. It was featured in Edward Winter's Chess Notes 10610. The drawing is captioned "Balla és Tartakower".

clue #56: prize claimed by JamesBJames!
First played Last

One of Twelve

SOLUTION: Carlsen vs Radjabov, 2012
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: Here the highest rated player ever indulges in the least frequent opening move (1.a4) which exists only 12 times in our database.

clue #57: prize claimed by JohnBulten!
A Beautiful Change is Coming

Hint: Most of this clue is useless chrysalis. Discard it and discover the beauty within.
Hint: The answer is squarely beautiful, but you might get gray hairs trying to find it.

SOLUTION: D Ippolito vs V Kudryavtsev, 2009
PRIZE: A $100 Gift Certificate for the Chessgames Store
COMMENT: Eight of these items are not like the others: they are names of certain types of butterflies! The important items are: the painted lady butterfly (2), the yellow sulphur butterfly (3), the gray hairstreak butterfly (8), the queen butterfly (12), the skipper butterfly (13), the monarch butterfly (16), the map butterfly (19), and the tortoiseshell butterfly (24). When you write these numbers in sequence you get 2381213161924, which is much too large, but you can take the square root to get the game ID 1543118.

clue #58: prize claimed by 7krzem7!

To be the trickiest, the idea used before sets forth a new puzzle - OK?

SOLUTION: I Radulov vs K Langeweg, 1974
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: Just like the previous clues Trick and Trickier, you make a number out of the number of letters in each word. Igoring the "- OK?" part, you get 2239344645136. Using the square-root method that we've seen before this year, you get the number 1496444... but that's not it! You have to finally subtract 2 (because "- OK" is "-2") to get the game ID, 1496442.

clue #59: prize claimed by kevinatcausa!
A Loaf of Bread

SOLUTION: J Ambroz vs P Poloch, 1974
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: Shown is actor Hugh Jackman playing Jean Valjean from the 2012 film Les Misérables. Valjean's prisoner number was 24601. The solution is the first game in the database by player ID 24601, Petr Poloch.

clue #60: prize claimed by syracrophy!
In Soviet Russia...

Chess plays YOU!

SOLUTION: Botvinnik vs Bronstein, 1951
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: This might have been any of several games, but we selected this one because it's a game of considerable controversy. Many have believed Bronstein threw the game due to pressure by Soviet authorities. Bronstein himself said of the game:
"I have been asked many, many times if I was obliged to lose the 23rd game and if there was a conspiracy against me to stop me from taking Botvinnik's title. A lot of nonsense has been written about this. The only thing that I am prepared to say about all this controversy is that I was subjected to strong psychological pressure from various origins and it was entirely up to me to yield to that pressure or not."

clue #61: prize claimed by martin1456!
Extra Push Over the Cliff

SOLUTION: Aronian vs A Giri, 2016
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: A reference to the scene from the movie Spinal Tap in which an amplifier is believed to be louder because its knob goes up to 11. The Game of the Day from October 7, 2016 paid homage to that scene with the title "Turn it up to Levon".

clue #62: prize claimed by martin1456!
Merry Christmas from OCF

Hint: Getting nowhere? It's simple.
Hint: The state of Ohio has a role in the solution. The red letters do not.
Hint: The photo is merely decoration. You could solve the clue with only the first hint, combined with the knowledge that it's from OhioChessFan.

SOLUTION: S Hodak vs V Kovacevic, 1995
PRIZE: A 1-year digital subscription to the New in Chess Yearbook
COMMENT: The red letters spell out etrumeus teres — the scientific name for the red-eye round herring. So that's not it. The trick is to simply take the first letter of each sentence: it forms the acronym GNIS, which is the Geographic Names Information System, America's federal and national standard for geographic nomenclature. The GNIS code for the State of Ohio is the game ID, 1085497. Clue by OhioChessFan. Herring by Daniel Freeman.

clue #63: prize claimed by AnimusEtOblivio!

SOLUTION: AlphaZero vs Stockfish, 2017
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: Just say it out loud: "elf, Oz, gyro" = AlphaZero, the experimental AI designed by Google, which recently stunned the chess world when they released 10 of its most brilliant wins against Stockfish.

clue #64: prize claimed by sleepyirv!
Merry Christmas!

SOLUTION: Y Shulman vs Ljubojevic, 1996
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: It's not hard to see the numbers hidden in the sleigh's design: 1-0-9-2-7-1-3. Congratulations to all the winners, and we hope you had as much fun playing this year's contest as we did making it. If you still haven't won a prize, it's not too late to join the Dear Santa Contest. Just write a letter to Santa, and if you're lucky, you can win a full year membership!


  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.

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