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There is a clue unsolved right now on the Holiday Contest Clues Page!   [Official Contest Rules]
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Chessgames.com Holiday Present Hunt

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The Chessgames Staff

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

clue #1: prize claimed by AnimusEtOblivio!
Please Silence Your Phones

SOLUTION: B Stillger vs V Kovacevic, 1990
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to Chessgames.com
COMMENT: Shown are portions of movie posters that have numbers in their titles: 10, 8.5, 28 Days Later, and Seven. String them together to get the game ID 1085287.

clue #2: prize claimed by SwitchingQuylthulg!
Wheel of 4tune

SOLUTION: Yates vs Carls, 1925
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to Chessgames.com
COMMENT: Starting with the F, every fourth letter spells FRED YATES. Starting with the C in the upper left, every fourth letter spells CARL CARLS.

clue #3: prize claimed by SwitchingQuylthulg!
Four or Five Different Ways

SOLUTION: Capablanca vs Lasker, 1914
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to Chessgames.com
COMMENT: A scene from the American television drama Twin Peaks, season 2, episode 16, in which Pete (Jack Nance) was asked to find a way to draw a game of chess with a minimum number of captures. The website yarn.co archives the clips from the scene: "There are four or five different ways of doing this thing. They all have their virtues. I remember Capablanca and Lasker ... St. Petersburg, 1914."

clue #4: prize claimed by fastcache!
4*90

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

SOLUTION: Judit Polgar vs C Hansen, 1993
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to Chessgames.com
COMMENT: Take four 90 degree turns and you make a square. Take the square root of the number and you'll get the game ID, 1111111.

clue #5: prize claimed by tpstar!
Nice Color

SOLUTION: A Caoili vs N Goodhue, 2006
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to Chessgames.com
COMMENT: Arianne Caoili (wife of Levon Aronian) appeared on the the Australian television show, Dancing with the Stars, and this is a still from their act. You can see the entire segment on YouTube. The opponent Goodhue was hinted at by the title.

clue #6: prize claimed by Sastre!
Find the Game

Legal's mate wins on move 24.

SOLUTION: Leycester vs Philidor, 1788
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to Chessgames.com
COMMENT: Philidor was taught chess by Kermur Sire De Legal, so he is "Legal's Mate."

clue #7: prize claimed by tpstar!
tt0031252

SOLUTION: T Piceu vs T E Wiley, 2006
PRIZE: A 1-year digital subscription to the New in Chess Yearbook
COMMENT: Pictured are The Talking Heads, minus lead singer David Byrne. No, this has nothing to do with the Byrne brothers--it has everything to do with a side project of Talking Heads called "the Tom Tom Club" which consisted of the members of Talking Heads minus David Byrne. So the solution is a game between two people named Tom. (The title is the IMDB code for Drums Along the Mohawk, an alternate way of arriving at tom-tom.) Clue by OBIT.

clue #8: prize claimed by AnimusEtOblivio!
Trick

A common trick is using the obvious.

SOLUTION: R Duijker vs L Cako, 2011
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to Chessgames.com
COMMENT: Simply take the number of letters in each word, to get 1-6-5-2-5-3-7.

clue #9: prize claimed by BVer!
Sharpie™ Not Included

Alt text is NEVER important, OK?

SOLUTION: A Artidiello vs B Babapour, 2002
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to Chessgames.com and a Chessable.com Trial Package
COMMENT: This is just a QR code with the three corner squares removed. You don't need any particular computer skills, just use a Sharpie like we did and you'll be scanning that code in no time. It takes you straight to the answer.

clue #10: prize claimed by OBIT!
First played First

First of Twenty

SOLUTION: Castellvi vs Vinyoles, 1475
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to Chessgames.com
COMMENT: The first player in the database makes the first move in the first known recorded game of chess; and it happens to be the first most popular move (of the 20 possible starting moves) according to our Opening Explorer.

clue #11: prize claimed by panthercat!
Bork bork bork!

SOLUTION: J Borges Mateos vs M Blasco, 2001
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to Chessgames.com
COMMENT: Pictured is the Muppet Show's Swedish Chef with a shopping list. The trick is to translate the food items into Swedish, then use the numbers to index into the Swedish words. The results are (with indexed letters in bold): mjölk, fisk, smör, bröd, ost, kyckling, and köttbullar. That spells LISBONA as in Miguel Angel Blasco Lisbona.

clue #12: prize claimed by Sastre!
Court Docket

Benjamin vs Benjamin

SOLUTION: Joel Benjamin vs J L Watson, 1979
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to Chessgames.com
COMMENT: The biblical Benjamin was also named Benoni, so this is a game of Joel Benjamin playing against the Benoni. Clue by Annie K.

clue #13: prize claimed by BVer!
A Great Miracle Happened There

SOLUTION: Randviir vs Simagin, 1947
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to Chessgames.com
COMMENT: If you interpret the Hebrew letters as numbers, and multiply them, you get 300 * 5 * 5 * 3 * 50 = the game ID 1125000.

clue #14: prize claimed by tpstar!
Arrows

SOLUTION: Keres vs Bogoljubov, 1936
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to Chessgames.com
COMMENT: The clue is a reference to the web comic xkcd #1078 titled "The Agincourt Gambit", and this game was given the title of "The Battle of Agincourt" when used as the Game of the Day in 2015. The title to the clue is the secret text visible when you hover your mouse over the artwork on the xkcd website.

clue #15: prize claimed by SwitchingQuylthulg!
Tarot



Hint: It has to do with a short story.

SOLUTION: Capablanca vs Tartakower, 1922
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to Chessgames.com and a Chessable.com Trial Package
COMMENT: The Tower Struck by Lightning is a short story by Fernando Arrabal tracks the famous Capablanca-Tartakower 1922 game up to White's 21st move and has Black vary with 21...f5 and win the decisive game of the World Championship match. This is the tarot card that the title of the story is based on. More information is available at Cards of Marseilles from wikispaces.com. Clue by crawfb5.

clue #16: prize claimed by Domdaniel!
Chance as fair and choose as true!

(__ Palms CA
__ Stages of Man
)

SOLUTION: I Galic vs Khenkin, 2009
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to Chessgames.com
COMMENT: There is a city named Twentynine Palms in California. The are seven stages of man in Shakespeare's As You Like It (hinted at by the Shakespearean title from Merchant of Venice). Combined with the notation symbols and the word choose in the title, this gives you "29 choose 7" (math-speak for: the number of ways to pick 7 things from a set of 29 items.) The answer according to WolframAlpha is 1,560,780.

clue #17: prize claimed by 7krzem7!
American Cuisine

SOLUTION: D Byrne vs Fischer, 1956
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to Chessgames.com
COMMENT: This tweet by Arby's was an unexpected reference to the "Game of the Century" on its 61st anniversary.

clue #18: prize claimed by tpstar!
Musical Intermission

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN

Hint: I don't keep a mirror inside the house, 'cause I even scare myself.

SOLUTION: D Wedding vs Dangerman, 1994
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to Chessgames.com
COMMENT: The first few bars of the song "Danger Man" by bluesman David Bromberg.

clue #19: prize claimed by The HeavenSmile!
Time and Relative Dimensions in Space

SOLUTION: Kasimdzhanov vs Judit Polgar, 2002
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to Chessgames.com
COMMENT: Pictured are six of the incarnations of Doctor Who, numbered 12, 5, 1, 9, 3, and 4 — compress the numbers to get the game ID 1251934. The final scene depicts Tom Baker playing chess against K9.

Errata: A Doctor Who fan was quick to point out that it should read Dimension, singular, and not Dimensions.

clue #20: prize claimed by Sastre!
Time Lord

Send the TARDIS to November 22, 2002!

SOLUTION: NN vs Blackburne, 1871
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to Chessgames.com
COMMENT: The Wayback Machine archives websites, and that link shows that on November 22, 2002 the puzzle of the day was the solution game.

clue #21: prize claimed by 7krzem7!
tt0051893

SOLUTION: W Norton vs J Sarfati, 1977
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to Chessgames.com
COMMENT: On the left is a reconstruction of the famous Mechanical Turk hoax, in which a strong player was secretly hidden within the machine's innards. To the right is a scene from Season 7 Episode 12 of Doctor Who in which a "hollow" Cyberman is tasked with the job of playing chess for a penny, much in the style of the Mechanical Turk, and wins with Fool's Mate. It was then revealed that the Cyberman was actually inhabited by guest star Warwick Davis. And so this is a game where a player named Warwick won. The title offered an alternate way to get to the answer: it's the IMDB page for The Man Inside (1958) which was created by Warwick Film Productions. Clue by crawfb5.

clue #22: prize claimed by SwitchingQuylthulg!
Rinse and Repeat
106596887
141134473
137794680
121696669
106596884
100834672
95235473
115533883
137797867
124835879
121697076
95236885
89793077
124835078
118593865
128016878
124834468
137793868
95236673
92496286
137797073
95233068
115536469
98013866
118596489
84515884
141135887
95236879

SOLUTION: Short vs Beliavsky, 1992
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to Chessgames.com
COMMENT: Examination of these integers reveals properties unlikely to be caused by chance: the 7th digits are all even numbers, and the 8th digits are all 6, 7, and 8. Now focus on the rightmost two digits (87, 73, 80, 69, etc.) -- they are ASCII for "WIPETHISCOLUMNANDDIVIDEBYTWO". If you remove the two rightmost digits, then divide what's left by two, you'll get a new list of numbers starting with 532984, 705672, 688973, etc. Applying the same technique, the rightmost two digits are ASCII for "THISTIMEYOUTAKETHESQUAREROOT". Once again strip the rightmost two digits, and this time take the square root of what's left. This gives you a list of small numbers starting with 73, that are ASCII for "ITSNIGELSONECOMPOSEDSELFMATE". (Nigel Short, losing in good humor after walking directly into mate, jokingly referred to this game as his "only composed selfmate.")

clue #23: prize claimed by BVer!
Tune In, Turn On, Drop a Piece

SOLUTION: R Antonio vs D Moody, 1995
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to Chessgames.com
COMMENT: Pictured are the iconic 60s band Moody Blues, and here Michigan Hall-of-Famer David Moody (chessgames member "Phony Benoni") has a case of the blues.

clue #24: prize claimed by Sastre!
Last played Last

Last of 308

SOLUTION: M Vachier-Lagrave vs J Xiong, 2017
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to Chessgames.com
COMMENT: Here is the most recent example of Grob's Attack (1.g4) played by Vachier-Lagrave. 1.g4 is the last (worst) move when sorted by Stockfish evaluation.

clue #25: prize claimed by SwitchingQuylthulg!
Nate's Mate



SOLUTION: Fischer vs J House, 1964
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to Chessgames.com
COMMENT: This chess puzzle leads to the finishing combination (1.Ne7+ Kh8 2.Rxh7+! etc.) from a game featured on the American medical drama House M.D. in the episode The Jerk which aired in May, 2007. You can see analysis by Antonio Radić on YouTube.

clue #26: prize claimed by 7krzem7!
Out of the Gate

x2 + 811/25x - 2092 = 0

SOLUTION: Anand vs A Kovalyov, 2017
PRIZE: A 1-year digital subscription to the New in Chess Yearbook
COMMENT: When you solve this equation you get a dual solution of x ≈ 32.30925, -64.74925. When these values are interpreted as longitude and latitude coordinates, depending on the order you choose, you'll either end up off the coast of Antarctica or, more appropriately, right in the midst of the Island of Bermuda. (Here's a nice postcard courtesy of Google Maps.) This is a reference to the controversial "Bermudagate" incident at the 2017 World Cup (see chessbase.com for a report) in which Anton Kovalyov was forfeited for wearing "unappropriate attire." This is his victory over Anand in the prior round, while he was still permitted to wear his Bermuda shorts.

clue #27: prize claimed by JamesBJames!
D'oh!

SOLUTION: Reti vs Tartakower, 1910
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to Chessgames.com
COMMENT: A scene from the Simpsons episode The Cad and the Hat which aired February 19, 2017. In this episode it was revealed that Homer is a chess master. In the scene shown, Homer moved his Queen to d8 and explained to Marge that it's mate in 3, in the style of the famous Réti-Tartakower game.

Images © 2017 FOX Broadcasting.

clue #28: prize claimed by martin1456!
Trickier

To be trickier, you simply use offsets.

SOLUTION: P Claesen vs V Chuchelov, 2001
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to Chessgames.com
COMMENT: Just like in the clue Trick, you count the letters of each word, but this time you subtract one from each digit to get 1172526. But there's no game at that ID! So use the offset one more time to get 1172525.

clue #29: prize claimed by Sastre!
Ahimsa

SOLUTION: Jakovenko vs I V Kovalenko, 2016
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to Chessgames.com
COMMENT: This is probably the longest decisive game among top-tier players in which no pieces or pawns were captured.

clue #30: prize claimed by fastcache!
Fascinating!

DESTROYED VULCAN

SOLUTION: Einstein vs Oppenheimer, 1933
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to Chessgames.com
COMMENT: The hypothetical planet Vulcan was proposed to exist in an orbit between Mercury and the Sun in order to explain the peculiar precession of Mercury's orbit. The hypothesis was rendered obsolete when Albert Einstein developed the General Theory of Relativity in 1915.

clue #31: prize claimed by JohnBulten!
Cross-promotion

  • Loaner
  • NY borough
  • High priest
  • Sunshine state
  • Sometimes babbles?
  • Beginner
  • Dropping eggs?
  • Sir prerequisite
  • Hocked
  • Swindler

SOLUTION: N Studer vs Navara, 2017
PRIZE: The Book Timman's Titans courtesy of New in Chess
COMMENT: The pawns on the 1st and 8th rank must be "promoted" to represent "rook", "queen", "knight", or "bishop". The pawns in the center of the board must be interpreted as "pawn". This gives the solution words: pawnshop, Brooklyn, archbishop, Queensland, brook, rookie, spawning, knighthood, pawned, and crook. Taking the leftover letters, and reading downward as can be seen from this solution, you get the secret-phrase "FIND THE LONGEST GAME FROM BIEL". This 83 mover was the longest of the 2017 Biel Tournament.

clue #32: prize claimed by JamesBJames!
Let's Meet Halfway

19. Nxh8+ Kc8 20. Qg4+ Nxh5 21. Bd8# 1-0
23. Nxf6+ Ke8 24. Qe8+ Nxd7 25. Bf6# 1-0

SOLUTION: Anderssen vs Kieseritzky, 1851
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to Chessgames.com
COMMENT: The trick here is to take averages of both the move numbers and column and row designations. For example, 19. Nxh8+ and 23. Nxf6+ average to 21. Nxg7+, as g is between f and h, while 7 is beween 6 and 8. Continuing this process, you get 21.Nxg7+ Kd8 22.Qf6+ Nxf6 23.Be7# 1-0 which should be easily recognizable as the finish of the Immortal Game. Clue by MostlyAverageJoe.

clue #33: prize claimed by BVer!
Font of Wisdom

SOLUTION: Layne vs A Zwaig, 1975
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to Chessgames.com
COMMENT: If you connect the red dots the lines are drawn through the letters of three words: EIGHT MOVE NIMZO.

clue #34: prize claimed by BVer!
Magical Thirty-Four
  F  C  I  *

* M G B

* J D *

A * * K

SOLUTION: H Ploehn vs T Amelang, 1996
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to Chessgames.com
COMMENT: Convert all letters to numbers (1-26) and you'll discover the magic square (all rows, columns, and diagonals add up to 34):
  6   3  9 16

12 13 7 2

15 10 4 5

1 8 14 11
The missing numbers/letters spell out "PLOEHN".

clue #35: prize claimed by shalgo!
You Rang?

SOLUTION: Gulko vs Adams, 2000
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to Chessgames.com
COMMENT: Shown is Wednesday Addams, and this is last Wednesday's Puzzle of the Day featuring Michael Adams.

clue #36: prize claimed by OBIT!
Magical Thirty-Six
  1. Adds
  2. Underling
  3. Empower
  4. What anglers await
  5. Buck
  6. The Grinch's grins
17, 3, 9, 25, 18, 30, 2, 29, 32, 34, 8, 31, 33, 4, 21, 13, 10, 36, 24, 35

SOLUTION: Lenderman vs A Eisenbeiser, 2003
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to Chessgames.com and a Chessable.com Trial Package
COMMENT: The six clues all refer to words which can be placed in a perfect 6x6 word square (the same words reading from left to right also read from top to bottom) : AMENDS, MINION, ENABLE, NIBBLE, DOLLAR, and SNEERS. The grid looks like this:
A M E N D S
M I N I O N
E N A B L E
N I B B L E
D O L L A R
S N E E R S
If you label the squares from 1-36 (upper left to lower right) and use the numerical key, you get the string of letters LENDERMANEISENBEISER taking you to this game.

clue #37: prize claimed by anneliescuv!
This contest has been HACKED AND HIJACKED courtesy of cR33pG04t

What a bunch of clowns these Chessgames admins are! Have they never heard of a security patch? And look at the code, it's written in Perl — LOLOLOL! What's the problem, wasn't COBOL available, grandpa?

As a representative of LulSec I am hereby taking over this contest to show you what some real puzzles look like. My puzzles aren't for the technologically impaired, lusers! — cR33pG04t

SOLUTION: Adianto vs S Atalik, 1994
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to Chessgames.com
COMMENT: If you noobs were paying attention you'd notice that the glob of words to the right of the LulSec logo is actually functional Perl code. I know that most of you have no idea what to do with that, but I bet a couple of script-babies probably had enough brain cells to make a text file that declares the location of their Perl interpreter, like this:
#!/usr/bin/perl

not exp log srand xor s qq qx xor
s x x length uc ord and print chr
ord for qw q uc tie undef time qx
xor eval xor print qq q q xor int
eval lc q m cos and print chr ord
for qw y abs do int atan2 not tie
oct y m xor scalar srand print qq
q q xor int eval lc qq y sqrt cos
and print chr ord for qw x socket
undef and telldir x y or print qq
s s and eval q s undef or oct xor
time xor ref print chr int ord lc
foreach qw y atan2 tell and local
ioctl kill y s gt sin exp sort lc
Even you babies with iMacs can run that program from your Terminal program. Only due to my immense über-1337 skills was I able to craft this obfuscated code so that it outputs "utut adianto suat atalik", the names of the players in the game. (Based on an idea from PerlMonks by fellow hacker "blokhead". Mad props.) See ya soon, buttercups!

clue #38: prize claimed by JohnBulten!
DRY ROT
by cR33pG04t

BJG LGEVUG LO QRQVIVQ EROZHA GPRSERC UGSVS RUG

SOLUTION: Geller vs Keres, 1949
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to Chessgames.com
COMMENT: This is ROT 13 for the string "OWT YTRIHT YB DEDIVID REBMUN TCEFREP HTFIF EHT" which is backwards for "THE FIFTH PERFECT NUMBER DIVIDED BY THIRTY TWO" which is 33550336/32 = 1048448. This one was just a warm up. We'll see how you choke on the next one, buttercups!

clue #39: prize claimed by OBIT!
A SUBTRACTION PROBLEM
by cR33pG04t

3CFD3 - 218


NOTE: Fooled ya suckers, it wasn't 3DCD, it's really 3CFD — LOL

SOLUTION: S Christensen vs M Helin, 2009
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to Chessgames.com and a Chessable.com Trial Package
COMMENT: cR33pG04t here again folks! Since you noobs can't think natively in hexadecimal you're probably best off to convert it into decimal. 15613^3 - 33^8 = 2,399,506,333,156. But that's way too big of a number to be a game ID, right? So you take the square root (don't you remember clue 4, dummy?) to get 1549034. But guess what, suckers... I deleted game 1549034 from the database.... mauahahahaha! (Say goodbye to some game by a guy named Goldby or something LOL!!) Therefore you have to use the title: "A SUBTRACTION", which is hexadecimal for "10 SUBTRACTION", and you check game 1549024 instead. Easy-peasy lemon squeezy. See ya soon, buttercups!

clue #40: prize claimed by AnimusEtOblivio!
ROOTKIT
by cR33pG04t


Boy, you chess nerds sure are good at solving my clues. But it doesn't matter, snowflakes... there's no way you're going to get me rid of me, cuz I installed an easy-to-access rootkit somewhere on this mickey-mouse server. Even if you found it, you'd never figure out my passphrase anyhow! So you might as well get used to it, noobs ... you've been pwned by Chessgames member cR33pG04t!

SOLUTION: I Stohl vs Korchnoi, 1993
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to Chessgames.com
COMMENT: FROM THE CHESSGAMES STAFF: Thank you very much for ridding us of this obnoxious hacker. Like ourselves, you probably discovered the rootkit installed at www.chessgames.com/rootkit (easy to access) and you probably guessed he goes by the username "cR33pG04t" -- but we didn't expect is that you would be able to derive his passphrase from the hash found on his profile page. There you get several lines of hex which, when concatenated, are af139fa284364215adfa49c889ab7feddc5e5d1c52512ffb2cfc9baeb67f220e, the SHA256 hash of his password. But our hacker didn't pick a very safe passphrase, because a quick trip to Google brings up this page that tells us that this is the SHA256 hash of the phrase "Correct Horse Battery Staple" (note: caps are required). Entering that info into the rootkit allowed you to ban his IP which finally returned the code 1133337. Well done! cR33pG04t's IP address is banned and the Holiday Christmas Contest can now proceed normally!

NOTE: The rootkit contained an option to delete all kibitzing of users. Fortunately, this was not coded properly, and in fact all it does is add the user to your ignore list instead. You can edit your ignore list at any time to undo mischief Mr. cR33pG04t might have caused. Sorry for the inconvenience!

clue #41: prize claimed by JohnBulten!
Temptation

SOLUTION: Zsofia Polgar vs L Apol, 1988
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to Chessgames.com
COMMENT: Pictured is Zsofia Polgar, "Q" from Star Trek, and a sack, so the solution is a queen sac by Zsofia. Puzzle and graphic design by Annie K.

clue #42: prize claimed by sleepyirv!
Last Played First

First of 501

SOLUTION: Nakamura vs Stockfish, 2014
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to Chessgames.com
COMMENT: We use the special code 000 to begin our list of ECO codes, representing odds games (thereby expanding the ECO codes from 500 to 501 chapters.). This is the most recent example of an odds game, in which Nakamura was defeated by Stockfish even after being given pawn odds.

clue #43: prize claimed by martin1456!
Poplar Mechanics

SOLUTION: E Cohn vs Burn, 1909
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to Chessgames.com
COMMENT: This reconstruction of Monet's Paintings of Poplars can be split into an upper and lower half, which represents Braille for ⠉⠕⠓⠝/⠃⠥⠗⠝ which spells COHN/BURN.

clue #44: prize claimed by shalgo!
That Old Schtick

PxKN1=N ch

SOLUTION: G Thompson vs Lasker, 1902
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to Chessgames.com
COMMENT: This well-known trap in the Albin Countergambit scalped another victim in this Lasker simul.

clue #45: prize claimed by anneliescuv!
Seven Stages of Man


(click for larger view)

SOLUTION: V Tukmakov vs D Guadalpi, 1991
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to Chessgames.com
COMMENT: This one is as easy as finding the hidden numerals in each column. Note that the 9 could have been a 6; you had to check both games. The four was especially devious. Photograph found here.

clue #46: prize claimed by AnimusEtOblivio!
Sicily and France

SOLUTION: T Trotter vs H Weinberg, 1965
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to Chessgames.com
COMMENT: On the left is a trotter, on the right is a vineyard (weinberg). The game is the Franco-Sicilian variation.

clue #47: prize claimed by The HeavenSmile!
Doublets

OY, NO, AW, HG, HO

Hint: Play with everything but mercury. Never play with mercury.

SOLUTION: Chandler vs Yoon Wah Goh, 1977
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to Chessgames.com
COMMENT: When you reverse each pair of letters, except for the HG, it spells "Yoon-Wah Goh", a Malaysian candidate master, and this is one of his games.

clue #48: prize claimed by martin1456!
Ferz? Nyet, slon!

SOLUTION: Karpov vs Kasparov, 1993
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to Chessgames.com
COMMENT: Shown is the somewhat controversial logo recently released for the 2018 World Chess Championship. Among its many oddities is a pawn sitting on the last rank. In this game Kasparov intended to play 24...cxd1=Q+ — but without a second queen handy, he pointed to the black pawn and said "Ferz!" (Russian for the queen chess piece). According to some accounts, Karpov then cheekily played QxN, pointing to the pawn and saying "Slon!" (Russian for elephant, i.e. bishop). The clocks were stopped, and an arbiter quickly located a second queen. Karpov was given an extra two minutes as Kasparov's play was a technical infraction, but Kasparov won in a few more moves.

clue #49: prize claimed by kevinatcausa!
Magical Forty-Nine
  • Football guts
  • Onion fumes?
  • Rabbit ear of old
  • Emergency number
  • American state capitol
  • Compulsory
  • Holy day
a7 c4 e2 c6 a2 f6 a5 d1 b3 f5 g7 d2 d1

SOLUTION: J Santana vs M Ritter, 1999
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to Chessgames.com and a Chessable.com Trial Package
COMMENT: Much like clue 36, here we have a perfect word square where each word is 7 letters. As an extra challenge, the order of the clues was scrambled. The answers are BLADDER, TEARGAS, ANTENNA, HOTLINE, ATLANTA, BINDING, SHABBAT. Rearrange them to make this grid:
S H A B B A T
H O T L I N E
A T L A N T A
B L A D D E R
B I N D I N G
A N T E N N A
T E A R G A S
Then it's simply a matter of taking the indicated letters (using the algebraic notation, with a1 in the lower left) to spell out the secret phrase SANTANA-RITTER.

clue #50: prize claimed by JohnBulten!
Me Gusta

SOLUTION: Gente vs Wocke, 1961
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to Chessgames.com
COMMENT: A still from the video of the contemporary hit Mi Gente by J Balvin and Willy William.

clue #51: prize claimed by shalgo!
Now and Venn

SOLUTION: Spassky vs Smyslov, 1953
PRIZE: The Book Chess for Hawks courtesy of New in Chess
COMMENT: This Venn diagram shows the intersections of five attributes:
  • BLUE "Miles": Contains the letter M
  • GREEN "Korchnoi": Has beaten Garry Kasparov (in any time control or circumstance)
  • YELLOW "Tarrasch": Name contains double-letters
  • BROWN "Fischer": American
  • RED "Carlsen": Alive today
We're looking for a game between two people who both have beat Garry Kasparov. By deduction the ? on the left side can only be Smyslov or Kholmov, and the ? on the bottom is either Spassky or Dreev. This is the first game between Spassky and Smyslov.

clue #52: prize claimed by Stantler66!
Quiz Question

71•89

SOLUTION: Pirc vs Lilienthal, 1935
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to Chessgames.com
COMMENT: A reference to Edward Winter's Chess Notes #6319 titled Quiz Question. In it, Winter asks which game is displayed on the demonstration board, and this is it. (The game spliced into the foreground is Ragozin-Flohr.)

clue #53: prize claimed by sleepyirv!
Pictures at an Exhibition

SOLUTION: G da Cutri vs Perbin, 1580
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to Chessgames.com
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 Chessgames.com
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 Chessgames.com
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 Chessgames.com
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!
Trickiest

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 Chessgames.com
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 Chessgames.com
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 Chessgames.com
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 Chessgames.com
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!
Rebus

SOLUTION: AlphaZero vs Stockfish, 2017
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to Chessgames.com
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 Chessgames.com
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!

SOME GENERAL TIPS AND HINTS:

  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 Chessgames.com 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 http://www.chessgames.com/1233404. (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. Chessgames.com will be the most important site to use for all clues, but being skilled with Google.com 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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