Holiday Present Hunt


Impala Press   New in Chess

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 2011 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, 2011. 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 2011 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 SOLVED: [click here for short list]

clue #1: prize claimed by WannaBe!

SOLUTION: Nimzowitsch vs Levenfish, 1911
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: We start you off with a fun one. The graphic should be interpreted as "Levenfish with notes" (eleven fish with notes). They get much harder; good luck to all!

clue #2: prize claimed by SwitchingQuylthulg!
Getting Even
  • That's life--and chess.
  • Add an element of spice to our little encounter.
  • Knight--yes, knight!--to queen six.
  • Several local chess masters have, upon observing your technique, flipped out.
  • Your king is trapped, unguarded and alone in the center. Best to you.
  • The knight, grovelling its way back into play, torpedoes your endgame!
  • My first word is "ZANJERO." Look it up.

SOLUTION: V Gashimov vs J Smeets, 2010
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: These are lines from the short story by Woody Allen, The Gossage-Vardebedian Papers. Locate which correspondence (1-9) each quote comes from to get the game number, 1578369.

clue #3: prize claimed by Kipah!


SOLUTION: M Vitinik vs I Frog, 1990
PRIZE: The book The Joys of Chess from New in Chess
COMMENT: If you look at the middle two digits (obliquely suggested by the title) you see numbers ranging from 1 to 20. This is a simple cipher of A=1, B=2, C=3, etc., and it spells out "SINCE LAST PRIME". Now compute how far each number is from the last prime number: e.g., 1193 is prime, so 1194 is 1 "since last prime". Now you have a new list of numbers which also can be solved with the simple A=1 cipher, to spell "A QUICKIE BY FROG". Frog's 8 move Petroff draw was certainly a quickie.

clue #4: prize claimed by tpstar!
8 = 93m

HINT: The "m" stands for moves.
HINT: The "=" stands for draws.

SOLUTION: N Kosintseva vs T Kosintseva, 2011
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: Read as, "8 draws, 93 moves." Who would play such a streak of very short draws? The Kosintseva sisters! This 15 move game is the longest game on record between the two.

clue #5: prize claimed by kevinatcausa!
The Rule of Five

have we mentioned, alt-text is not important?

SOLUTION: H Homes vs F de Mol, 2003
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: The pictures all represent something which is the fifth of a sequence.
  1. Atom Heart Mother (album cover), the 5th album by Pink Floyd.
  2. Dumbo, the 5th Disney movie.
  3. The Empire Strikes Back, episode V of the Star Wars saga.
  4. Catherine Howard, the 5th wife of Henry VIII
  5. James Monroe, the 5th president of the United States.
Now look at the 5th letter of each name, it spells H-O-M-E-S. Look up Helmut Homes, and (you guessed it) this is game #5.

clue #6: prize claimed by BVer!
  • Can an emotional child cause the demise of a tuber?
    ❒❒ ❒❒❒❒❒ ❒❒❒❒ ❒❒❒❒ ❒ ❒❒?
  • What Napoleon said upon his exile.
    ❒❒❒❒ ❒❒❒❒ ❒ ❒❒❒ ❒❒❒.
  • Dangle preserved meat; I'm a pig for flat pasta.
    ❒ ❒❒❒❒ ❒ ❒❒❒❒❒❒, ❒'❒ ❒ ❒❒❒❒❒❒❒ ❒❒.
  • What the first man said, upon meeting the first woman.
    ❒❒❒❒❒, ❒'❒ ❒❒❒.

SOLUTION: T Schmelz vs Geese, 1988
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: As the title implies, this is a clue about palindromes. Each of the lines describes a famous palindrome: MAY A MOODY BABY DOOM A YAM, ABLE WAS I ERE I SAW ELBA, GO HANG A SALAMI I'M A LASAGNA HOG, and MADAM, I'M ADAM. The red letters spell "MAY SEE GOD", referring to the palindrome, "DO GEESE SEE GOD?"

clue #7: prize claimed by SwitchingQuylthulg!
Seconds Count
  • Psychokinesis comes in handy when you play this game against gangsters. (5)
  • Once a year, the mannequins from this floor come to life. (4)
  • Cryogenically frozen criminals prefer this investment vehicle. (4)
  • I'll bet you a million dollars you can't keep from doing this for a year! (5)
  • For five thousand bucks, you can buy a new one of these. (4)

SOLUTION: A Aguiar Riopo vs A Konan, 2003
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: The questions refer to various episodes of The Twilight Zone. The numbers are simply the number of letters of each answer. The answers are: CRAPS (from The Prime Mover), NINE (from The After Hours), GOLD (The Rip Van Winkle Caper), SPEAK (The Silence), and BODY (The Trade-Ins). As the title suggests, take the second letters of each answer to spell R-I-O-P-O.

clue #8: prize claimed by FSR!

SOLUTION: Bronstein vs Larry Evans, 1955
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: The still is from Larry David's HBO series "Curb Your Enthusiasm", and this game is Larry-David.

clue #9: prize claimed by kevinatcausa!
To Boldly Go

SOLUTION: Spassky vs Fischer, 1992
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: First, identify which Star Trek episodes these are: T = "The Trouble With Tribbles", R = "Return to Tomorrow", E = "A Piece of the Action", K = "The Corbomite Maneuver". Now solve the formula, substituting the constants T, R, E, K with the appropriate stardates of the episodes: T = 4523.3, R = 4768.3, E = 4598.0, and K = 1512.2. The solution to the formula is the game ID.

clue #10: prize claimed by FSR!
The Caged Queen

HINT: Shakhmaty Riga

SOLUTION: Shirov vs A Yuneev, 1989
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: In Shirov's classic Fire on the Board p. 43, he writes: "These annotations were made in November 1989 and first appeared in Shakhmaty Riga under the title 'The Caged Queen.'"

clue #11: prize claimed by acirce!
Hznkl oxn kojn pf czzwl wyan kn,
Ptd ziwf Mzj eoi koan o dxnn.

SOLUTION: E Godbold vs J O'Keefe, 1954
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: A simple cryptogram for the last lines of Kilmer's famous poem, "Trees": Poems are made by fools like me, But only God can make a tree. The word God is in bold, ergo the solution is Godbold.

clue #12: prize claimed by SwitchingQuylthulg!
Word Jazz
  1. is a broken rake
  2. is a snake on edge
  3. is an unfinished triangle
  4. is just someone
  5. a tipped-over Z
  6. a C gone wrong

SOLUTION: F K Esling vs J Wisker, 1880
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: These colorful descriptions of the letters E-S-L-I-N-G are derived from Ken Nordine's poem/song, Alphabet.

clue #13: prize claimed by SwitchingQuylthulg!

SOLUTION: A Slavotinek vs C Travers, 1981
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: Each photo is an electron microscope scan of an everyday object. They are: 1. guitar string, 2. stamp (the torn perforation), 3. velcro, 4. toilet paper, 5. sugar. Filling in the answers yields the clue, TRAVERS.

clue #14: prize claimed by dit890le!
Turtles, All the Way Down

3 19 20 15 26 9 7 6 4 100 18 20 150 6 4 115 12 20 150 6 4 100 16 21 18 20 160 6 4 107 12 20 160 16 4 5 14 4 20 15 26 1 7 16 21 12 20 90 6 4 350 18 20 75 16 4 6 4 106 2 11 106 18 20 30 6 4 107 2 11 107 18 20 75 16 21 6 4 60 16 4 12 20 90 6 4 100 2 11 50 18 20 35 6 4 62 2 11 62 18 20 110 6 4 62 5 14 4 26 9 7 26 9 7 26 1 7

SOLUTION: Kramnik vs NN, 1999
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: If you substitute a-z for each number from 1-26 (and leave the other numbers alone) you get a computer program written in Logo. Now you have to adjust the spaces so it makes sense, and it will look like this:

cs to zig fd 100 rt 150 fd 115 lt 150 fd 100 pu rt 160 fd 107 lt 160 pd end to zag pu lt 90 fd 350 rt 75 pd fd 106 bk 106 rt 30 fd 107 bk 107 rt 75 pu fd 60 pd lt 90 fd 100 bk 50 rt 35 fd 62 bk 62 rt 110 fd 62 end zig zig zag

If you enter the code into a Logo interpreter (e.g., there's a nice Online Logo Interpreter) will move the "turtle" and draw a picture that spells out "VK NN".

clue #15: prize claimed by kevinatcausa!
please ignore alt text.  thank you

SOLUTION: Petrosian vs Keene, 1974
PRIZE: The book The Times: Winning Moves from
COMMENT: Rebus for Tea + Grandpa + Trojan + Verses + Reiki + N. Say it quickly and you get "Tigran Petrosian versus Ray Keene."

clue #16: prize claimed by shalgo!
What a patzer, falling for the old Nxd5 schtick twice!

SOLUTION: Alekhine vs Rubinstein, 1930
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: Poor Akiba not only fell for the Nxd5 trap in this game, but also in this one against Euwe.

clue #17: prize claimed by kevinatcausa!
Urban Folklore Checklist
  1. A person can shatter a wine glass simply by singing.
  2. A duck's quack does not echo.
  3. A lighter can explode when in a hot laundry dryer.
  4. You can get a smoother ride on a rough outback road by driving faster.
  5. In baseball, runners really do reach the base faster by sliding.
  6. Humans only use 10% of their available brain capacity.
  7. Pain from eating hot peppers can be ameliorated with milk.
  8. In a pinch, you can repair a fuse box by wrapping the burnt-out fuse with tin foil and reinserting it.
  9. In a house during a hurricane, it is smart to slightly open a window or two.
  10. A sailboat stranded in calm water can move forward by using an on-board fan to blow air into its own sail.
  11. A bullet fired horizontally from a gun and another bullet dropped from the same height will hit the ground at the same time.
  12. It is possible to survive a freefalling elevator by jumping up at the last moment before it hits the ground.
  13. Women have a higher pain tolerance than men.
  14. A car's tire pressure can significantly affect its fuel efficiency.
  15. Two cars, both moving at 50 mph, crash into each other head on. Each car sustains damage roughly equivalent to that of a single car hitting a wall at 100 mph.
  16. Tattoos can explode when exposed to an MRI.
  17. A refrigerator door can stop a spray of 9mm bullets.
  18. Eating enough poppy seed bagels can cause one to test positive for heroin on a urine test.
  19. In shark-infested waters, a person can reduce their chance of being attacked by playing dead.
  20. In an open field devoid of obstacles, a man wearing a blindfold and earplugs cannot walk in anything resembling a straight line.
  21. A baseball bat partially filled with cork allows batters to swing the bat faster and hit the ball farther.

SOLUTION: J Huebener vs W Elm, 1946
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: These bits of urban folklore were all tested on the popular TV show "Myth Busters." As the title implies, we should give "1" as true and "0" as false (as determined by the show). Therefore, the truth of these myths is "100110110110110001110" which is binary for the number 1273230. The false myths in the list above are: 2, 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 16, 17, and 21. All of the others are believed to be true. Please note that claim #8 (the tin-foil fuse fix) is a fire hazard and should not be attempted. See for details of any particular claim.

clue #18: prize claimed by kevinatcausa!

SOLUTION: Anand vs Wang Yue, 2009
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: Princess Peach intentionally misspelled several words in hopes to deliver a coded message to Mario. "Look beyond the problems" was a clue to look at the word immediately following the misspelled words. The first letters of these words, in sequence gives you: A-N-A-N-D-Y-U-E

clue #19: prize claimed by dakgootje!
Supplemental Materials

    6   20   0.01

NOTE: Imhotep is invisible.

SOLUTION: Sherzer vs N Lamza, 1990
PRIZE: A Chessgames T-Shirt
COMMENT: "Imhotep is invisible" is a reference to the British mock-educational series, Look Around You. The title hints at a humorous period table of the elements with bizarre entries such as "Wood" (Wd) and "Christmas" (Xm), referenced several times on the show. The numbers above are atomic numbers from this chart: element 6 is "Lambert" (La), element 20 is "Marzipan" (Mz), and element 0.01 is "Atom" (A). That spells La-Mz-A.

Thanks, Lamza. Thamza.

clue #20: prize claimed by SwitchingQuylthulg!
Citation Needed
  1. a concert hall situated on the northern edge of the South Kensington area, in the City of Westminster, London
  2. a term in American English used to describe Pentecostal Christian churchgoers
  3. an oration by a prophet or member of the clergy
  4. an evangelical Christian organization dedicated to distributing copies of the Bible
  5. a commune in the Drôme department in southeastern France

SOLUTION: J Acers vs G Hulburd, 1968
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: Each item is a verbatim phrase from Wikipedia describing: 1. The Albert Hall, 2. Holy Roller, 3. Sermon, 4. Gideon's Bible, 5. Montelimar. The last article contains a clue as to the nature of this puzzle: "Montelimar nougat is mentioned in the opening lines of the Beatles' Savoy Truffle from The White Album." Indeed, all five items are mentioned in Beatles songs. The first letters of each song spell out "Acers": (A Day in the Life, Come Together, Eleanor Rigby, Rocky Raccoon, Savoy Truffle). The game was used as Game of the Day with the title, "Hey Jude".

clue #21: prize claimed by wienke7!

SOLUTION: C Tang vs H Burger, 2001
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: This is a "caesar box": you fill in a 3x7 grid with the letters to reveal the secret message

   S I N E O F G
So what is sin(g) * sec(g)? Of course, tan(g).

clue #22: prize claimed by tpstar!
Nag a Ram
  1. Vermillion bat
  2. Evocative plumes
  3. A nuclei positron
  4. Clawing kings abuzz
  5. Moon levy

SOLUTION: S Siebrecht vs A Naumann, 2008
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: The title is an anagram for "anagram", and the items are anagrams of chess annotations: 1. brilliant move, 2. speculative move, 3.unclear position, 4. Black is in zugzwang, 5. only move. As the title also suggests, you are to find the NAG codes for these notes: they are 1, 5, 13, 23, and 8. String them together to get 1513238.

clue #23: prize claimed by moppa!

SOLUTION: Kolisch vs Loyd, 1867
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: The mouse is "Ignatz" from the Krazy Kat comic strip (1910-1944). Here, Ignatz Von Kolisch "throws a brick" at Sam Loyd with Qxg6!!

clue #24: prize claimed by The HeavenSmile!
Domo arigato

SOLUTION: H Bogart vs L Bacall, 1951
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: Mr. Roboto's face is a QR code that can be scanned by most cell phones. It will redirect you to this image which contains another QR code. Scan that to get yet another image. Notice the sign in the man's hand; scan that to get one last QR code. This one is a mirror image of the actual QR code, and you'll find that QR readers will choke on it. So, you'll have to find a way to flip the image. (One low-tech method is to point a mirror at your computer screen, then point your camera at the mirror.) Scanning the mirror image gives you text: I could use a -----. Thanks. Now I need a ---------. That's a line by Lauren Bacall: "I could use a match. Thanks, now I need a cigarette."

clue #25: prize claimed by sleepyirv!

SOLUTION: Adorjan vs H Dudek, 1967
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: Pictured is actor Jack Kruschen playing "Grandmaster Dudek" in the Columbo episode The Most Dangerous Match (1973).

clue #26: prize claimed by dit890le!
Word Soup

root@fischer:~# cat clue.txt | tr " " "\n" | sort | tr "\n" " "

SOLUTION: M Olsen vs B Tilenbaev, 2004
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: Wizards of the Linux shell will tell you that this code will alphabetize all of the words in file. The original unsorted clue read, "INSTEAD OF PLAYING THE EXCHANGE VARIATION OR THE NORMAL RETREAT TO THE ROOK FILE SHE SACRIFICED HER BISHOP FOR THE PAWN". In this game, a normal Ruy Lopez goes crazy when the bishop sacrifices itself against the a6 pawn. (You can find that game using the Opening Explorer.)

clue #27: prize claimed by AnimusEtOblivio!
Name Your Game

Each player starts with four pawns. (1)
This game comes with 54 pieces and one die. (2)
The Polish edition comes with ZZZZZ. (3)
Geography will make you blue. (8)
Ask for giant steps, be happy with baby steps. (10)
Your dad wants you to roll up the universe. (1)

SOLUTION: I Serpik vs Blatny, 2003
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: You are expected to figure out the 6 games from the clues: Sorry!, Jenga, Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit, Mother May I?, and Katamari Damacy. Using each number as a letter-index of the solutions, you spell out S-E-R-P-I-K.

clue #28: prize claimed by MostlyAverageJoe!
Publish or Perish
(For this clue, you must be able to read Adobe Acrobat *.PDF files.)

592 1996
006 2000
331 2008
619 1999

SOLUTION: V Vepkhvishvili vs Blonsky, 1986
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: Each line represents the winner of an Ig Nobel Prize. The numbers are Dewey Decimal codes (006 = Special computer methods, 331 = Labor economics, 592 = Invertebrates, 619 = Experimental medicine). The one that is not linked was most awarded in 1999 to by George and Charlotte Blonsky for inventing a device to aid women in giving birth. (Blonsky's invention entails strapping the expectant mother into a circular table which is then rotated at high speed.)

clue #29: prize claimed by Scardini!

SOLUTION: Short vs Piket, 1997
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: The first 10 moves of this game are recited in the French movie Joueuse ("Queen to Play"). The still is from the very scene where the verbal game takes place.

clue #30: prize claimed by acirce!
Spelling Checklist
  1. Here's another clue in the same vein.
  2. The cops patted down the suspects.
  3. The crook was on the lamb.
  4. The case against him was cut and dry.
  5. The thief got his just deserts.
  6. I was estatic about the outcome.
  7. To be frugal one must reign in spending.
  8. Strikes wreak havoc with the economy.
  9. Have a loan to tie you over until payday.
  10. He sacheted out of the room.
  11. Santa let out a hardy chuckle.
  12. The skiddish cat ran under the bed.
  13. Suzie's chess results were fair to middling.
  14. These puzzles really test your metal.
  15. We hit the mother load!
  16. The boxer was whaling on his opponent.
  17. The preying mantis devoured a beetle.
  18. The new software doesn't cut the mustard.
  19. Judy isn't use to playing the Ruy Lopez.
  20. Hear, hear, I couldn't agree more!
  21. He cut off his nose despite his face.

SOLUTION: M Walek vs M Staszko, 2004
PRIZE: The book The Joys of Chess from New in Chess
COMMENT: Some of these are preferred English spellings, others are not. Giving a "1" for the preferred spellings and a "0" for the others we get 110010010000100101010, which is 1646890 in decimal. The proper spellings should be: 3. on the lam, 4. cut and dried, 6. ecstatic, 7. rein in, 9. tide you over, 10. sashayed, 11. hearty chuckle, 12. skittish, 14. test your mettle, 15. mother lode, 17. praying mantis, 19. isn't used to, 21. cut off his nose to spite his face.

clue #31: prize claimed by MostlyAverageJoe!
Classic Rock

MP3 playing ability required; if your browser cannot play MP3 files try downloading it
to your hard-drive (right click; Save As...) then play it in your favorite MP3 player.

SOLUTION: Carlsen vs Aronian, 2008
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: It's the Eagles, "Desperado" and this game features at least two desperado tactics, 22.Qxd4! and 28...Nxf3.

clue #32: prize claimed by sleepyirv!
Crossing Over

Scholars now believe that NN's tremendous victory in Howard-NN, 1983 was, incredibly, due to spiritual guidance. Using a ouija board, NN consulted the spirit of Chigorin for move 4, Keres for moves 5 and 6, and Lasker for moves 7 and 8.

HINT: The ghosts don't speak English.

SOLUTION: G Underhill vs J W Kells, 1935
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: Good thing NN was a polyglot or he'd never understand the ghosts. Chigorin's 4...Nbd7 was a конь (knight), Keres moved an ettur (pawn) with 5...c6 and a lipp (queen) with 6...Qa5. Then Lasker came in to move his laufer (bishop) with 7...Bb4 and his springer (knight) with 8...Ne4. The initial letters of these chess pieces, in their original languages, spell out K-E-L-L-S.

clue #33: prize claimed by goodevans!
All Your Base
  • An even prime number.
  • Large commercial airliner called "Queen of the Skies."
  • Positive 7 digit integer that you're looking for.
  • Hypotenuse of a triangle with legs 225 and 272.
  • Atomic number of lutetium.
  • Biggest 7-digit palindromic multiple of 8663.
  • Exactly 565.325 acres, in square rods.
  • The number of days of the Counting of the Omer.
  • Integer which is the 42nd centered heptagonal number.
  • Zazpiak!
  • Each of 10 people at a table shakes hands with everybody else, once. How many handshakes?

SOLUTION: A Sydor vs Barsov, 1995
PRIZE: The book Mind Sports 2000 from
COMMENT: The first letter of the clues spell "ALPHABETIZE", which leads you to alphabetize the clues. Once you do this, solve for the numbers, and you get 2, 71, 8281828, 45, 90452, 353, 6028, 747, ?, 49, 7 where ? is the clue about the game number. Examining these numbers we see that they form the digits of the number e (2.71828182845...), and the missing 7 digits are 1352662.

clue #34: prize claimed by dit890le!
World Wide Web

SOLUTION: Romanishin vs Seirawan, 1983
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: The flags indicate Romania, Morocco, Nicaragua, Saint Helena, India, Sweden, Iran, Aruba, and the Netherlands Antilles. If you use the top-level internet domain names for these countries (as hinted by the title, and the color graph of the internet) you spell out

clue #35: prize claimed by JamesBJames!
Alternate Movie Titles
  1. Glowfinger (1982)
  2. Sleeping With Anemone (2003)
  3. Women with Base Motives (1982)
  4. Candy's Bad for Children (1989)
  5. Con Autist (1988)
  6. Of Bison Men (1990)
  7. Pitt Fighter (1999)
  8. Bell Rings for Wings (1946)
  9. C'est la V (2006)
  10. The Rolling Stoned (1969)
  11. Chipper Gore (1996)
  12. All Ore Nothing (1948)
  13. Carving Pumpkins and People (1978)
  14. Mama Mia! (1968)
  15. Bad Heir Day (1977)
  16. Fu and Fro (1973)

SOLUTION: Fine vs J Rappaport, 1931
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: Most of these joke titles are directly or indirectly from the website, Four Word Film Review. The movies are: 1. E.T., 2. Finding Nemo, 3. Officer and a Gentleman, 4. Uncle Buck, 5. Rain Man, 6. Dances with Wolves, 7. Fight Club, 8. It's a Wonderful Life, 9. V for Vendetta, 10. Easy Rider, 11. Fargo, 12. Treasure of the Sierra Madre, 13. Halloween, 14. Rosemary's Baby, 15. Eraserhead, 16. Enter the Dragon. The first letters spell out "E FOUR D FIVE F THREE". The Opening Explorer will lead you straight to this game.

clue #36: prize claimed by jqwerty!
Chess Has Its Ups and Downs

SOLUTION: Y Masserey vs J Gallagher, 2001
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: These are all real photographs of people playing chess on rollercoasters (at least so it seems), inspired by this web comic. The photos are all zoom-ins from this web page, and to solve the clue you had to identify the location of each: 1. King's Dominion, 2. Legoland, 3. Dollywood, 4. Six Flags, 5. Hershey Park. The circled letters spell out "MASSEREY" while the red letters spell out "GALLAGHER".

clue #37: prize claimed by The HeavenSmile!
Across, Down, and Diagonally
  1. Disgusts
  2. 212, briefly
  3. Best time for 5
  4. Worn down over time, chafed
  5. Carbo _______
  6. ________ to Kill
  7. Insulted in cricket
HINT: We clarified #4 by adding chafed.

SOLUTION: Znosko-Borovsky vs S Von Freymann, 1909
PRIZE: The book The Joys of Chess from New in Chess
COMMENT: The 7 clues form a "word square" (the same 7 words read from left to right as from top to bottom.)
    a p p a l l s
p a r b o i l
p r e r a c e
a b r a d e d
l o a d i n g
l i c e n c e
s l e d g e d
The long diagonal (upper left to lower right) now reads aaeaicd which, after using the A=1 cipher, translates into 1151934.

clue #38: prize claimed by OBIT!

SOLUTION: Short vs Beliavsky, 1992
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: The image in the upper left is called a "hex dump". The silhouette is that of an antelope. Solving for x we conclude that x = hex dump + antelope - expound. This is true for x = helpmate. In this game, Short humorously calls his move 58.Ke6?? "his only composed helpmate", as he played the only possible move sequence which allows Black to checkmate.

clue #39: prize claimed by AnimusEtOblivio!

SOLUTION: F J Lee vs H Shoosmith, 1904
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: This game has the record for the most adjacent pawns on the 7th rank, according to Tim Krabbé's Chess Records Site.

clue #40: prize claimed by kellmano!
"I've played a lot of players: I've played the Carlsens, I've played a lot of really unpleasant chess players. But none of them scared me like this guy. I mean, this guy was scary to play. It's like he's looking... looking into my soul. He was making my heart beat faster."

SOLUTION: D Gormally vs S Williams, 2006
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: A quote from the video of When the Black Chess Dog Calls, by "Ginger GM" Simon Kim Williams. The game was featured as GOTD in August of this year.

clue #41: prize claimed by onesax!

SOLUTION: A Debbeche vs A Mezhoud, 2000
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: This clue is a reference to John Horton Conway's game of "life", and moreover the first issue of "Lifeline" in which Conway identified seven "unknown heptominoes". Conway labelled these arbitrarily B, C, D, E, F, H, and I. Use these letters to decode the name "DEBBECHE".

clue #42: prize claimed by shalgo!

SOLUTION: P Damiano vs NN, 1497
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: Russian for first and this is the first Russian game.

clue #43: prize claimed by AnimusEtOblivio!

SOLUTION: Cochrane vs Mohishunder, 1851
PRIZE: The book Mind Sports 2000 from
COMMENT: Each of the five colored areas can be cut out and formed into a cube by taping the edges together. When this is done, you can rearrange the cubes in a pile so that each of the four edges reads "CLAIM PRIZE FIRST NIMZO." (The remaining letters are all red herrings.) The solution game is the first Nimzo Indian in our database.

clue #44: prize claimed by Billy Vaughan!
Eon, Tow, Ether...


SOLUTION: Oll vs O Renet, 1984
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: The title indicates this is a clue about anagramming numbers (Eon Tow Ether = One Two Three). "MILLION" is an anagram of "MINI OLL" which this game is.

clue #45: prize claimed by RMKvdS!
A = the 7 digit game ID that you're looking for
B = A divided by 7
C = the square root of B
D = C divided by 7
E = the square root of D

NOTE: A, B, C, D, E are all positive integers.

SOLUTION: J Gilbert vs M Velcheva, 2006
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: The only appropriate values that meet this definition are A=1404928, B=200704, C=448, D=64, E=8.

clue #46: prize claimed by romdouze!
The Only Difference...

       1    2    3    4    5    6

SOLUTION: H Becher vs M Achenbach, 1960
PRIZE: A Chessgames T-Shirt
COMMENT: As the title implies, something is not quite right with these Dalí paintings. Each one is missing a single element: 1. a book, 2. a pear, 3. bacon, 4. a fish, 5. a rifle, 6. a flower. Use the numbers as an index (take the b from book, the e from pear, etc.) and it spells BECHER.

clue #47: prize claimed by Domdaniel!

SOLUTION: C H Alexander vs Milner-Barry, 1946
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: The photo is Bletchley Park, and the game is between two of the chess masters who worked there on the Enigma project during World War II.

clue #48: prize claimed by AnimusEtOblivio!
A Rare Distinction

The first player to beat the last to lose to the first to beat the first to beat the first to beat the first to beat the first to beat the last to beat the first to beat Paul Morphy.

SOLUTION: Von Scheve vs B Huelsen, 1889
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: The first player to beat Paul Morphy is Maurian. The last to beat Maurian is Steinitz. The first to beat Steinitz is Jeney. The first to beat Jeney is Kolisch. The first to beat Kolisch is Anderssen. The first to beat Anderssen is Seligo. The first to beat Seligo is Von Der Lasa. The last player to lose to Von Der Lasa is Caro. The first to beat Caro is Bernhard Huelsen. This is the other game by Bernhard Huelsen.

clue #49: prize claimed by Warm!

SOLUTION: L Mattos vs F Bohatirchuk, 1973
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: This unfair "thumbnail" is actually a different graphic than the large one that is being linked to. Specifically, there have been items rearranged. They are, from left to right: mushroom, apple, tree, toilet, octopus, and strawberry. The initial letters spell MATTOS. (The artwork courtesy of the exceptionally talented Jeoff from

clue #50: prize claimed by czxcjx!
Time Out

SOLUTION: M Bensdorp vs G M Muis, 2000
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: The seven-segment LCD type output will cycle through 8 consecutive states, indicated by the 8 bits on each segment. For example, the first state displays a zero because all segments begin with a "1" except for the central one. The next state displays the numeral "1" because the 2nd bit of the right two segments are 1, while the second bits of all the other segments are 0. This process repeats to get the complete 8 digits: 01238914.

clue #51: prize claimed by SamAtoms1980!

ERRATA: Embarrassingly, we set up the board incorrectly. The revised board has white in the lower right as intended.

SOLUTION: J Rejfir vs A Muffang, 1928
PRIZE: A ZmartFun Digital Clock from The House of Staunton
COMMENT: This one is a bit involved so hang on tight:
  1. Pictured is Robert Wade, this will come in handy later.
  2. The flavor text "examines each and every square" and "boggles" suggests that the letters spell a sentence, in the style of the game Boggle.
  3. Sure enough, starting in the upper left you can move like in Boggle (like a king can move) to visit each square once and only once, spelling out the sentence "TO WORK OUT THIS CLUE YOU MUST LOOK AT EVERY SQUARE A KNIGHT CAN GO TO FROM D FOUR."
  4. Now examine the 8 squares that a knight can go to from d4: you get W-T-H-A-R-V-E-Y. This is the name of a popular chess puzzle site.
  5. Now you'll visit to look up Robert Wade.
  6. You should notice that after each puzzle on that page there is an extraneous chess square in parentheses--e.g. (c6) (d3) (d1) etc.
  7. These extra squares relate to the chessboard above, to spell out the next secret phrase: "WHERE DUTCH QUEEN LIVES".
  8. The Queen of the Netherlands, Queen Beatrix, lives in a palace in the Hague.
  9. This brings you WT Harvey's page on the 1928 Hague Chess Olympiad.
  10. One of the puzzles on that page involves a knight moving from d4 to e2. (Remember, you have to look at every square a knight can go to from d4!)
  11. Go find that game on Chessgames, and enjoy your brand new ZmartFun Digital Chess Clock!

clue #52: prize claimed by aphasia!
Odd One Out


SOLUTION: J Mortimer vs Showalter, 1900
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: In each column of 5 words, four have a commonality and one is the "odd one out." From left to right: 1. all words but more are unrhymable. 2. all words but timer are a chess piece with one letter changed, 3. all except show can be typed with your right hand on a typewriter, 4. all words spell something backwards except for alter, 5. all words are contract bridge terminology except kipper. This gives you the five word key: more timer show alter (Mortimer Showalter) plus the odd one out, kipper (a herring).

clue #53: prize claimed by JamesBJames!

SOLUTION: T Nessi vs L Peretti, 2000
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: The three photos imply elements: Neon, Sulphur, and Silicon. The chemical symbols are Ne + S + Si, or NESSI.

clue #54: prize claimed by JamesBJames!
Wax Nostalgic

Chartreuse❒❍❒❒❍   ❒❒❒❍❍
Indian Red❒❒❒❍❍❒❒❒
Ultra Yellow❒❒❒❒❒❒   ❒❒❒❒❍❒❍❍❒

SOLUTION: M Aaron vs Stein, 1962
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: These are the old names for Crayola Crayon colors. You are expected to fill in the more modern names: PEACH, LASER LEMON, CHESTNUT, and ATOMIC TANGERINE. The circled letters spell AARON-STEIN.

clue #55: prize claimed by buRnINGbeNd!
Oh No, Not Another One!
   M   M   U   I   M   E   R   P








HINT: The word pairs is unintentional.
HINT: There's a kind of an Apple called a "g5".

SOLUTION: Fischer vs J Plaster, 1964
PRIZE: The book Mind Sports 2000 from
COMMENT: There are seven (intended) words in the word search puzzle: munition, predates, apple, summit, lancer, paper, and premium. If you look at the left over letters in typical word-search style, it reads "EACH WORD TELLS WHICH SQR". Indeed, each word can, if you use your imagination, imply a chess square: c4 munition (plastique), predates = before = b4, apple g5 (a CPU), g8 summit, b1 lancer (also known as the b1 bomber), a4 paper (the most common paper size), premium = a1. (Sure, there is C5 explosive, Apple G4, and A5 paper--but the intended solutions are the most common.) Now go back and see what letters are on these seven squares. With a little anagramming, you get P-L-A-S-T-E-R.

clue #56: prize claimed by JamesBJames!

SOLUTION: Larsen vs R T Cardoso, 1973
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: These are memes sometimes known as "Advice Animals" (see, e.g., or with specific names: Annoying Facebook Girl, Futurama Fry, Successful Black Man, Technologically Impaired Duck, Foul Bachelor Frog, and Philosoraptor. Filling in the templates below the pictures, the red letters spell LARSEN-CARDOSO.

clue #57: prize claimed by shrdlu!
Here's One for Everybody

❒ ❒ ❒ ❒ ❒ A swindle each
❒ ❒ ❒ ❒ A barrier each
❒ ❒ ❒ ❒ ❒ A hobo each
❒ ❒ ❒ ❒ ❒ A policeman each
❒ ❒ ❒ ❒ A birdcall each
❒ ❒ ❒ ❒ ❒ A pig thigh each

SOLUTION: D Camper vs B Rush, 1995
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: The answers are all puns ending in -per: scamper, damper, bumper, copper, cooper, and hamper. The red letters spell CAMPER.

clue #58: prize claimed by OBIT!

royal flushfour of a kindfull houseflushstraightthree of a kindtwo pairone pair
Baltic AvenueIncome TaxVirginia AvenueBoardwalkIndiana AvenueFree ParkingB&O RailroadGo

SOLUTION: V Plotkin vs Nakamura, 2009
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: LCD stands for Least Common Denominator, and the object of this puzzle is to determine which item in each group is the least common. The answers are: 1. royal flush (probability of poker hands), 2. AB- (frequency of blood types), 3. rhodium (abundance of metals), 4. 1.Nc3 (popularity of first moves), 5. Japanese (number of speakers), 6. what (frequency of words in written English), 7. Baltic Avenue (probability of landing on a square in Monopoly). Therefore the game number is 1543751.

clue #59: prize claimed by Sastre!
More Urban Legends
  1. The Marlboro Man died of cancer.
  2. Charles Manson auditioned for the Monkees.
  3. Kotex® were first manufactured as World War I bandages.
  4. The flush toilet was invented by a man named Crapper.
  5. The "S" in Harry S. Truman does not stand for anything.
  6. Mussolini made the trains run on time.
  7. Chewing gum takes 7 years to fully digest.
  8. Storing batteries in the freezer will improve their longevity.
  9. Sidewalk chalk may contain lead.
  10. Jack Benny arranged to have his wife sent a rose every day after his death.
  11. The modern image of Santa Claus was created by Coca Cola.
  12. Lemmings are liable to fall to their doom by following one another over cliff edges.
  13. Elephants are afraid of mice.
  14. Alligators dwell in the sewer systems of New York.
  15. A policeman promised a waitress half of the winnings from a lottery ticket. He won, and kept his word.
  16. Osama bin Laden was buried at sea.
  17. A dress made of rotting meat was displayed in a Canadian art gallery.
  18. In some states, anyone who has taken LSD more than seven times is automatically deemed as legally insane.
  19. Cinderella's slippers were made of fur in the original version, but got turned to glass due to a mistranslation.
  20. The children's rhyme "Ring Around the Rosie" is actually about the Bubonic Plague.
  21. The Texas legislature unanimously passed a resolution honoring the Boston Strangler.

SOLUTION: Plachetka vs D Supancic, 1977
PRIZE: A Chessgames T-Shirt
COMMENT: These urban legends are all mentioned on and are regarded as either true or false. The true ones are: 1, 3, 5, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, and 21. That gives you the binary number 101010001100001110001, which is 1382513.

clue #60: prize claimed by SamAtoms1980!
How Did it Get So Late So Soon?

SOLUTION: B Lasker vs Lasker, 1890
PRIZE: The book The Joys of Chess from New in Chess
COMMENT: The title is attributed to Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss). This is a simple cipher in which 19 was added to every letter: A becomes T, B becomes U, etc. However, for letters beyond Z, we employed the alphabet from Dr. Seuss' On Beyond Zebra. This decodes into the secret message, "LASKER PLAYS HIS BRO".

clue #61: prize claimed by MostlyAverageJoe!
Opening Hand

SOLUTION: C Jaffe vs Capablanca, 1912
PRIZE: The book Mind Sports 2000 from
COMMENT: These are Magic the Gathering cards with their names obscured. From left to right: Deep Spawn, Black Knight, Benalish Knight, Pawn of Ulumog, and Farie Queen. The goal is to find a game which fits the template of "Pawn move, Knight move, Knight move, Pawn move, Queen move."

clue #62: prize claimed by MostlyAverageJoe!
Gee, I'm a Tree!

A rectangle is circumscribed by a circle, as shown.
What is the length of a-d?

SOLUTION: Berliner vs Rokhlin, 1965
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: If you were using trigonometry, you were doing it the hard way. The circle has a radius of 0.417 + 0.850009 = 1.267009. Therefore the distance from b to c is 1.267009. Due to symmetry, the distance from a to d is also 1.267009.

clue #63: prize claimed by FSR!

SOLUTION: Nimzowitsch vs Tarrasch, 1928
PRIZE: A Chessgames T-Shirt
COMMENT: Nimzowitsch infuriates Tarrasch with his unorthodox opening play. We're not exactly sure of the best method to solving this clue, but we were confident somebody would find a nifty way to do it.

clue #64: prize claimed by imag!
Artistic License

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
He filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And placing his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a wink, up the chimney he rose!

He jumped to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all fled like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, as he drove out of sight,
"Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good-night."

SOLUTION: E Garcia Garcia vs J Durao, 2002
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: Some of the words of the poem have been changed. On line two, He should read And--since that's the first word of the line, "1" is the first digit. On the next line, "placing" should be "laying"; that's the second word, so 2 is the second digit. The other words are: wink for nod, jumped for sprang, fled for flew, as for ere, and Merry for Happy. That gives you the game number 1242561, the final Christmas prize, and Happy 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.
  3. Some clues involve initials. E.g., the clue "B.F. vs B.S." might refer to Bobby Fischer vs Boris Spassky.
  4. Starting this year, some clues will have titles. These titles may provide additional hints to help solve the problem.
  5. Some clues draw upon popular chess literature and anecdotes.
  6. 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.
  7. Some clues are wordplay. 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".)
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Many clues are intentionally misleading, in the spirit of crossword puzzles.
  11. 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.
  12. 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. Don't bother investigating those details, because we assure you that it will never help.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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 Be aware that the valid range of game ID's goes from 1,000,000 to (approx.) 1,650,000. So you don't have to examine all 10 million numbers, "only" about 650 thousand. Every valid game ID begins with the numeral "1".
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. These hints are not inclusive; some types of clues might not be described herein. You're on your own--good luck!

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