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There is a clue unsolved right now on the Holiday Contest Clues Page!   [Official Contest Rules]
Please see this announcement for some updates. Holiday Present Hunt

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RULES FOR THE 2018 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 through December 31st, 2018. See our Official Rules to view the prizes and for other important information.

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The Clues So Far:

clue #38:
Get Your News Here!

Marandi vs Kaleoglu / 5

Hint #1: Here. Right here.

Hint #2: 2122.


THESE CLUES HAVE BEEN SOLVED: [click here for short list]
clue #1: prize claimed by BVer!
Ready, Set, Go

SOLUTION: W So vs R Praggnanandhaa, 2018
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: Sew = So; Prague + N + Anand + "Haa!" = Praggnanandhaa.

clue #2: prize claimed by tpstar!
Wordplay 101

Crush a relaxed king.
O Noel — Nirvana!

SOLUTION: Grischuk vs Aronian, 2010
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: Two anagrams: "O Noel — Nirvana!" = Levon Aronian; "Crush a Relaxed King." = Alexander Grischuk. The game is 101 moves.

clue #3: prize claimed by tpstar!
Gardening Tips

SOLUTION: Fruit vs Ant, 2006
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: Fruit beats Ant.

clue #4: prize claimed by shalgo!
Working Girl

SOLUTION: I Sokolov vs J Fluvia Poyatos, 2012
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: The photo is Joan Cusack (pronounced Joan Q-sac) from the movie Working Girl, and the game features a Q sac by a player named Joan.

clue #5: prize claimed by BVer!

9.Nxe5?? (9.Re1! +-)

SOLUTION: Bill Gates vs Carlsen, 2014
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: Gates would have had the better position if he didn't fall for the World Champion's sucker-punch. The game was televised on Norwegian television station NRK "Anarchy".

clue #6: prize claimed by anneliescuv!
Thank You For Your Contribution

SOLUTION: Woei Haw Tseng vs Van Thanh Nguyen, 2008
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: This Clue is a memorial to Stephen Hawking, and we hid the king symbol on the board behind him. Hawking - King = Haw, and this game is one of 3 games by players named Haw.

clue #7: prize claimed by brosnya!
Alpha and Omega

the last digit of 1-1
the last digit of 3-1
the last digit of 7-1
the last digit of 11-1
the last digit of 13-1
the last digit of 17-1
the last digit of 19-1

SOLUTION: F Ashiku vs S L Narayanan, 2013
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: Although most of these statements make no sense, they all produce answers from the mathematics site Wolfram Alpha. For example, the last digit of 3^-1 mysteriously yields the result 7. We're not sure why it behaves this way.

clue #8: prize claimed by 7krzem7!

Your flag is down!

SOLUTION: J S Rubin vs E Winter, 1974
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: The television sitcom M*A*S*H contained a character Colonel Sam Flagg who was played by actor Edward Winter.

clue #9: prize claimed by tpstar!
Another Flag

SOLUTION: D Dubov vs J K Duda, 2015
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: The two colors are hex codes #113399 (blue hue) and #126603 (green hue), as can be tested at online color checking sites such as These numbers are also the Chessgames player ID numbers of Daniil Dubov and Jan-Krzysztof Duda.

clue #10: prize claimed by BVer!
Total Recall


SOLUTION: Navara vs A Dergatschova-Daus, 2007
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: The message is in a backwards English alphabet in which A=Z, B=Y, C=X ... Z=A. Converted to the normal alphabet, the message is YNT OVO NDI VAD, or DAVID NOVOTNY backwards; and this is a game won by David Navara with a beautiful Novotny interference.

clue #11: prize claimed by JohnBulten!
Game Seven

1. 1101326
2. 1014405
3. 1119753
4. 1035354
5. 1115922
6. 1031050
7. ?

Hint #1: This is not a math problem.

Hint #2: If you've found the word "Basque", you're halfway there.

SOLUTION: J Zegada vs A Prameshuber, 1964
PRIZE: A One Year Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: The six numbers given are the game IDs of Bernstein-Najdorf (1-0), Adams-Kasparov (1-0), Rubinstein-Spielmann (0-1), Browne-Quinteros (0-1), Quinteros-Uhlmann (0-1) and Eliskases-Bogoljubov (1-0). Note that the first letters of the winners' names spell BASQUE, while the first letters in the losers' names are NKRBQB. Replacing the English piece abbreviations N, K, R, B, Q and B with their Basque equivalents Z, E, G, A, D and A gives White's name, Zegada.

clue #12: prize claimed by butterball777!
No Need To Rush


SOLUTION: J F Cubas vs O Zambrana, 2002
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: The image of the track title Before And After from the back cover of the debut album for the prog rock trio Rush simply indicates that the winning game can be identified by starting with "b4" and then determining what comes after. The second line is a "5". What comes after a "5"? A "6", or "a6". Thus, we have "b4" & "a6". Following this line in the Opening Explorer yields the winning gid. The symbols and time duration which appear after the track title are simply red herrings.

clue #13: prize claimed by 7krzem7!
Watch Out, There's Traps About

1. c4 c6 2. Nc3 e6 3. d4 d5 4. Bd2 Nf6 5. e3 Be7 6. Bd3 Bd7 7. Rc1 1/2-1/2

SOLUTION: E Steiner vs Capablanca, 1929
PRIZE: A One Year Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: The important thing here is the files in the moves: CCCEDDDFEEDDC. As Googling this string reveals, the files can be interpreted as musical notes, and correspond to the tune of the Swedish children's song "Gubben Noak" ("Old Man Noah"; the melody is a slight simplification of an older drinking song of the same name). Combined with the mention of "traps" in the title, this hints at the Noah's Ark Trap, which Steiner infamously fell into against Capablanca.

clue #14: prize claimed by BVer!
An Easy Puzzle

F. Oydnkan: w pnwejaz Patwj olu!

SOLUTION: Short vs J Vakhidov, 2014
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: A simple Caesar cipher - shift all letters by 4 to decode the first secret message: "J. SCHROER: A TRAINED TEXAN SPY!" Now look at every second letter to find the real secret message - SHORT AND EASY. This is a game won by Nigel Short that was used as an easy (Tuesday) Puzzle of the Day in 2016.

clue #15: prize claimed by WinKing!
Made It Happen

SOLUTION: Euwe vs Alekhine, 1935
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: Depicted in the image are Simpsons character Ned Flanders and comedian W. C. Fields; combine their names to get NED WC. NED is the FIDE country code for the Netherlands, while WC is short for World Champion, and this is the game that made Max Euwe the first chess world champion from the Netherlands.

clue #16: prize claimed by Let The Wookiee Win!
Chess Box


Hint: This is a math problem.

SOLUTION: P Ostojic vs Tarjan, 1974
PRIZE: A One Year Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: In this box, chess world champions are used as stand-ins for numbers, so that Steinitz = 1, Lasker = 2, Capablanca = 3, etc. Substituting these numbers for the champions, the box becomes:

3 4 1 7 1
6 2 2 8 ?
6 1 1 2 ?
6 4 2 4 6
5 7 6 3 9

The first row and the first column are checksums for the rest of the box; every digit in the first row is the sum of every other digit in its column modulo 10, and every digit in the first column is the sum of every other digit in its row modulo 10. The remaining 4x4 box is the main area of interest, and it has the following property: in any row or any column, the numbers in the middle are the product of the numbers on the sides, with the first number in the tens position and the second number in the ones position. (Thus, 2 14 7, 2 12 6, 8 24 3, 4 24 6 and 7 63 9.)

Accordingly, the missing champions must be Kramnik/14 and Karpov/12, completing the 4x4 box with 2 28 14, 1 12 12 and 14 126 9. The rightmost column now reads 1 14 12 6 9, a straightforward game ID.

clue #17: prize claimed by disasterion!
Magic Words


Hint #1: Who needs magic?

Hint #2: When you think of magic, think of the magician.

Hint #3: Two out of three ain't bad!

SOLUTION: V Kunin vs T K Antal, 2017
PRIZE: Special prize to be determined later OR A One Year Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: The grid contains 21 words, all of which end in a shorter word. Replace these shorter words with TAL (in some cases you can choose from more than one short word; try to find the replacement that gives the most sensible result). Each column contains two words that produce a valid new English-language word (FAMINE -> FATAL; POSSUM -> POSTAL) and one word that doesn't (ORIGIN -> ORITAL; CASSOCK -> CASTAL). The words that don't are ORIGIN, CASSOCK; TRILLIONS, UNDULATE, PILGRIM, LANGOBARD and ESCAPE; and the corresponding numbers are 7101647.

Now note that the first letters of these words spell OCTUPLE; replace TUPLE with TAL to get OCTAL, a hint that the number 7101647 is in base 8. Convert it to base 10 to get 1868711, the winning game ID.

clue #18: prize claimed by JohnBulten!
Christmas Crosstable

Valentinas P. NormantasLTU2405*00111101106.0
Igor RapoportUKR24861*1111111/2119.5
Alexandre Jose IraetaESP237010*111101107.0
Harold EdelsteinUSA2339000*00001001.0
Istvan DemeterHUN22430001*0001002.0
Sergey OkruginRUS231600011*001104.0
Tengiz GvarjaladzeGEO2528000111*01105.0
Elena TomilovaRUS22341011111*1108.0
Eloi RelangeFRA246401/2000000*000.5
Tase RistovSLO1867000110001*03.0
Hasan Bora AydinTUR19561011111111*9.0

SOLUTION: B Amin vs Gelfand, 2015
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: There are several ways to reorder these imaginary tournament results. If the players are reordered by points scored (1. Rapoport, 2. Aydin, 3. Tomilova, 4. Iraeta, etc.), the first letters of their surnames will spell RATINGORDER. So reorder the players by rating: 1. Tengiz Gvarjaladze; 2. Igor Rapoport; 3. Eloi Relange; 4. Valentinas P. Normantas; 5. Alexandre Jose Iraeta; 6. Harold Edelstein; 7. Sergey Okrugin; 8. Istvan Demeter; 9. Elena Tomilova; 10. Hasan Bora Aydin; 11. Tase Ristov. The first letters of their given names, from lowest rating to highest, now spell "The I's have it."

Note that every player's full name (as given in the crosstable) contains exactly one letter I. Take the positions of these I's and convert them to letters so that 1=A, 2=B, etc.; for example, I is the first letter in "Igor Rapoport", so that gives A; I is the thirteenth letter in "Hasan Bora Aydin", so that gives M. Computed for all players, these letters will be some anagram (depending on the player order) of "Amin-Gelfand"; if you calculate them with the players ordered by points, they will spell AMINGELFAND directly.

clue #19: prize claimed by Manatee!
Openings and Endings

YGEE (oxygen)
MDGU (lay)
HELI (trench)
DIZD (editorial)
MGWF (emotion)
OXEC (gymnast)
HMDH (hapless)
JOCI (oaf)
RHBI (triumph)
WEFG (eucalyptus)
MEIL (elbow)
NIDO (offer)
YGAC (dizziness)
HOHA (magenta)
ADOM (test)
OWCH (ear)

Teal, teal, orange, orange, orange, teal, teal, teal, teal, orange, orange, gold, gold.

Hint #1: To solve this puzzle, you will need to both convert numbers to letters, and convert letters to numbers.

Hint #2: The fifth line could be changed to "AJHC (equestrian)" without affecting the solution in any way; but changing it to "MGWF (equestrian)" or "AJHC (emotion)" would not work.

Hint #3: It is possible to solve this puzzle without any reference at all to the teal/orange/gold list; but the correct reading of the fourth secret message isn't immediately obvious, and the list of 13 "colors" can help there.

SOLUTION: B Y Margolin vs V Babula, 2017
PRIZE: Special prize to be determined later OR A One Year Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: There are four secret messages in this puzzle, and several stages that require converting numbers to letters and vice versa. For the first secret message, take the first and last letters of each word (oxygen->on, lay->ly, etc.), giving "only the lengths of these words matter." Now convert the four-letter codes to Chessgames player IDs by substituting numbers for the letters (so YGEE = 25755 = the player with that ID, Constant Orbaan). This gives the following list of players (substituting, as hinted, the lengths of the words for the words themselves in the second column):

Constant Orbaan (6)
Nimrod Veinberg (3)
Evgeny Ruban (6)
Tamaz Gelashvili (9)
A M Ewbank (7)
Ivan Devcic (7)
Francisco Restuccia (7)
Ondrej Mejzlik (3)
Daniel Edelman (7)
Carlos Incutto (10)
Milutin Antonijevic (5)
Lowie Tomme (5)
Octavio Troianescu(9)
Eric Rainieri (7)
Ninus Aronson (4)
Roman Yanchenko (3)

Using the word lengths as keys into the player names gives the second secret message - AMYANVSDEUTERIUM - while the players' initials give the third secret message, CONVERTGAMEIDFROMDECIMALTOTERNARY. Converting the game ID of to base 3 gives 2221221121222.

This now needs to be converted back to letters! There are several ways this could be done; the right one can be found by trial and error, but using the list of 13 colors as a clue helps, with the following correspondence: teal - (part of) two-digit letter; orange - one-digit letter; gold - immutable digit, not to be converted into a letter. So 22 (teal, teal) = V; 2 (orange) = B; 1 (orange) = A; 2 (orange) = B; 21 (teal, teal) = U; 12 (teal, teal) = L; 1 (orange) = A; 2 (orange) = B; 2 (gold) = 2; 2 (gold) = 2. So the fourth and final secret message is VBABULAB22 - and the solution is a game by Vlastimil Babula with the B22 (Alapin Sicilian) ECO code.

clue #20: prize claimed by JohnBulten!
The Great Unwashed

Hint: "Help me find the way to my lost pot of gold! -- R."

SOLUTION: G Newnes vs Count de Tamisier, 1890
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: Note that while all sixteen colors in the grid appear on exactly four squares, the food-item counts aren't similarly equal - there are ten carrots, strawberries and watermelons, and nine apples, bananas and eggplants, but only seven nectarines, a hint that the nectarines might be special and merit a closer look. The colors of the seven squares with nectarines on them correspond to the seven traditional colors of the rainbow: c2 is red, c4 is orange, f4 is yellow, b4 is green, b7 is light blue ("blue"), g7 is deep blue ("indigo") and g1 is violet. Moreover, there is only one way for a rook (or even queen) to start on one of these squares and land on the other six with its next six moves; and that is to start at one of the rainbow's ends and visit the remaining squares in the rainbow order. If that rook starts at the red end of the rainbow, and assuming North is up as usual, the directions taken by the rook will be North, East, West, North, East and South, or N-E-W-N-E-S.

clue #21: prize claimed by centralfiles!
Amen Corner

1. Max's little brother
2. Nose smells, but...
3. Egyptian for "I win!"
4. Not so easy to crack
5. Just a sigh, as time goes by
6. What Loki avoided when he wagered his head
7. Just a friend we do not know

Hint: "Down and Atum!"

SOLUTION: Martin Istona vs K Bulski, 2017
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: The theme is "Egyptian gods", as hinted by line 3 and the title; the answers being MIN, ISIS, SEKHMET, TEFNUT, OSIRIS, NEKHBET and ANUBIS. The first letters spell M. Istona.

clue #22: prize claimed by BVer!
Alien Math

SOLUTION: C Perena vs A Sharevich, 2008
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: The symbols in this clue are D'ni numerals. The numerals on the left side of the equation are 7, 1, 13 and 5, followed by 9 and 4; substituting letters for numbers, the left side can be read as GAME ID. The numerals on the right side are 3, 22, 8, 8 and 14; since the D'ni system uses base 25, this translates to 3*(25^4) + 22*(25^3) + 8*(25^2) + 8*25 + 14 = 1520839 in base 10.

clue #23: prize claimed by The HeavenSmile!

Results of the Grand Rapids Rooketeers' annual Christmas tournament, 2018:

1. Geoffrey Degrave
2. Ray Cornell
3. Raphael Persitz
4. Gennady Erushev
5. Robert J. Austin
6. Rozana Gjergji
7. Gabriela Olarasu
8. Russell Splain
9. Ruggiero Capuano
10. Glenn Johnstone
11. Roland Daamen
12. Rimantas Zebelis
13. Rejean Tremblay
14. Raymond Ratke

Hint: What's on third?

SOLUTION: R Sprague vs G Hartleb, 1959
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: The third letters of the players' surnames read "GRR! USE ALPHABET." This is a hint that the players should be ordered alphabetically - Austin, Capuano, Cornell, Daamen, Degrave etc; as a consequence, the third letters will be rearranged to read SPRAGUE-HARTLEB.

clue #24: prize claimed by The HeavenSmile!
Caesar's Revenge


SOLUTION: U S Arat vs K Megalios, 2015
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: Fill a 5x5 grid with the letters and read the columns instead of the rows:

  I A B E S
  T L A B A
  W O T U W
  A N T T O
  S G L U N

This reveals the secret message IT WAS A LONG BATTLE BUT USA WON; and the solution is a 92-move endgame win by a player with the initials USA.

clue #25: prize claimed by Wessel23!

32nd of 538
68th of 538
35th of 538
25th of 538
144th of 538
3rd of 538
18th of 538
7th of 538

SOLUTION: Bachir Chihani vs N E Ghabache, 2000
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: The title is a hint that this puzzle involves some kind of record; and 538 is the number of plies in the longest ever classical tournament game between two humans - I Nikolic vs G Arsovic, 1989. The eight items listed are moves within that game: 16...g4 (32nd ply), 34...h4 (68th ply), 18.a3, 13.b4, 72...a2, 2.c4, 9...h6 and 4.e4. (All of these are pawn moves, a strong indicator that this is the right track.) As in clue #13, the key to the solution is the files in the moves; here they directly spell out Black's name, GHABACHE.

clue #26: prize claimed by martin1456!
Nothing Wrong With My Eyes

Internet Chess International Championship,, December 12 (6 players):

1. Igor Iveljic (Bosnia and Herzegovina) 4.0;
2. Dipanjan Das (India) and Sujey Subramanian (Hong Kong) 3.0;
4. Pascal Openshaw (United States) 2.5;
5. Tatiana Revo (Belarus) 1.5;
6. Nyamaa Tumurhuyag (Mongolia) 1.0

SOLUTION: N Mnushkin vs V Vepkhvishvili, 1987
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: The keys here are that 1) the first letters in the players' last names spell IDSORT and 2) this was an Internet tournament. Reordering the six players by their Chessgames player IDs, from lowest ID to highest, gives the following result: 1. Tumurhuyag (Mongolia); 2. Openshaw (USA); 3. Subramanian (Hong Kong); 4. Das (India); 5. Iveljic (Bosnia and Herzegovina); 6. Revo (Belarus). The Internet country code top-level domains for these countries are .mn, .us, .hk, .in, .ba and .by, or MNUSHKIN BABY.

clue #27: prize claimed by me to play!
Local News

SOLUTION: L Times vs J Gonzales, 2001
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: Just another issue of the Lawyer Times

clue #28: prize claimed by Sargon!
What's New, Pussycats?

Hint #1: The "pussycats" were mentioned in historical articles.

SOLUTION: Silman vs V P Moskalenko, 1994
PRIZE: Special prize to be determined later OR A One Year Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: The pussycats represent the 8 individuals who each served 1-year terms as "President of the United States in Congress Assembled"—with very limited executive powers—under the Articles of Confederation from 1781 to 1789, until that document was replaced by the current U.S. Constitution. Thus, Thomas Jefferson was actually the 11th President, Abraham Lincoln the 24th, George Washington the 9th, and Teddy Roosevelt the 34th. Concatenating those 4 numerical strings in the order that they appear yields the winning game id.

clue #29: prize claimed by martin1456!
Another Country Code Puzzle?

SOLUTION: A Bangiev vs W Mglosiek, 1984
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: On the left side in the image is the national flag of Mongolia; on the right side is the city of Osijek. The title indicates that the three-letter country code MGL should be used for Mongolia; the "-10" is a hint that J, the tenth letter of the alphabet, should be removed from Osijek. MGL + OSIJEK - J = MGLOSIEK.

clue #30: prize claimed by 7krzem7!
The Secret History of James Mason

James Mason was born on December 31, 1786 in Russia. A high-ranking aristocrat, he lived in relative comfort until disagreements about their adoptive son led to disputes between him and his first wife, and eventually to a widely publicized adultery scandal, though the couple did briefly reconcile. Mason ultimately had many wives and mistresses and more than a dozen sons; the ambitions of his sons, and their plots to depose him as the head of the family, led him to escape the country under a false name. He gained new fame in England, where he remains well-remembered to this day (the Mason-class submarines of the Royal Navy were named after James Mason). No authenticated photographs of Mason are known to survive, although his likeness is known from paintings and hand-drawn illustrations.

SOLUTION: A Suhobeck vs O Oberon, 1954
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: Everything in this fake biography can be connected to something called "Oberon"; the biggest hints are the submarines (the list of actual submarine classes of the Royal Navy is fairly limited, and one of them is Oberon) and the date of birth (Russia still used the Julian calendar in 1786, so December 31, 1786 is equivalent to January 11, 1787, the date of William Herschel's discovery of Uranus's moon Oberon). The second sentence refers to fairy king Oberon and his disputes and reconciliation with his wife Titania, as described in the Shakespeare play A Midsummer Night's Dream, while the third sentence describes the character Oberon from Roger Zelazny's Chronicles of Amber. Oberon the fairy king is depicted in many paintings and illustrations, but since he's fictional, there can be no genuine photographs of him.

clue #31: prize claimed by anneliescuv!
Easy as XYZ

Results of the Xanadu Young Zebras' club blitz championship:

  1. Zlatko Ilincic
  2. Zoltan Gyimesi
  3. Alexander Goloshchapov
  4. Irakli Bakuradze
  5. Nelli Alexanian
  6. Yaroslav Remizov
  7. Zombor Erdelyi
  8. Oleg Rogozhnikov
  9. Feridun Oney
  10. Xu Ruoying
  11. Yevgen Zamekhovskiy

SOLUTION: J Santos vs Taimanov, 1985
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: Note that the players' initials, read in a zigzag pattern, spell ZIGZAG BINARY ZERO FOR XYZ. So create a binary number by reading the names again, in the same zigzag order, appending 0 for every name (given name or surname) that includes one or more of the letters X, Y, or Z, and 1 for every name that doesn't contain any of those letters. The resulting number, 0100010110000001100000, corresponds to the game ID 1138784.

clue #32: prize claimed by 7krzem7!
And Another Banana...

SOLUTION: A Antinyan vs E Moradiabadi, 2011
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: A plaintext clue: the solution is simply a game between Antinyan and an Iranian. That all occurrences of "AN" are highlighted in red is a herring.

clue #33: prize claimed by martin1456!
Be Fruitful

SOLUTION: C Landenbergue vs Chiburdanidze, 1990
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: Simply multiply the number of bones in the human body (206) by the number of organs (79) squared. Thus 206 x 79 x 79 = 1285646

clue #34: prize claimed by 7krzem7!
Return of the Country Code

Nicely eccentric Polish Opening! And Naka's Italian, totally awesome! As novel as Grischuk's Russian attacking moves.

SOLUTION: S Prayitno vs A Margana, 2012
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: The first letters of the sixteen words spell NEPO ANITA ANAGRAM - or, if you read them backwards, MARGANA AT INA OPEN; and this is a game played by Adhy Margana at the 2012 Indonesia Open.

clue #35: prize claimed by The HeavenSmile!
A Place Both Wonderful and Strange

SOLUTION: G Gallus vs F Jacoby, 1989
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: Pictured is Dr. Jacoby (a.k.a. "Dr. Amp") from the American drama series Twin Peaks.

clue #36: prize claimed by Sastre!
From Europe, with Love

Behind the curtain, in the pantomime
Looking out for a place to go
And you come to me on a summer breeze
Take me to the magic of the moment
Yes Sir, already told you in the first verse
It's no better to be safe than sorry

SOLUTION: V Georgiev vs G Borgo, 2001
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: These are lines from songs of European bands. The solution is to find the track # of each song on its original album:

Behind the curtain, in the pantomime - The Show Must Go On (Queen) - album 'Innuendo' track #12
Looking out for a place to go - Dancing Queen (ABBA) - album 'Arrival ' track #2
And you come to me on a summer breeze - How Deep Is Your Love (Bee Gees) - album 'Saturday Night Fever' track #2
Take me to the magic of the moment - Wind of Change (Scorpions) - album 'Crazy World ' track #4
Yes Sir, already told you in the first verse - Yes Sir, I Can Boogie (Baccara) - album 'Baccara' track #1
It's no better to be safe than sorry - Take On Me (A-Ha) - album 'Hunting High and Low' track #1

clue #37: prize claimed by martin1456!
Speak, Friend


Hint #1: Think like 17.

Hint #2: One can, the other cannot.

SOLUTION: J Ballent vs Larsen, 2002
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: In this Tolkien-esque puzzle, every row contains one word that can be turned into a new, unrelated word by adding the word "ent" to either the beginning or the end of the word, and one that can't. Every word can also be matched with a different word on the list that is either related to it or synonymous with it. Matching every word that can be modified with "ent" with one that can't, and keeping the modified words in their original order, we get: ENT-ANGLE CORNER, STUD-ENT HUNK, ENT-RAPPER EMCEE, ENT-ICE CREAM, POT-ENT KETTLE, TANG-ENT BITE, ROD-ENT BAR, ENT-WINE ALE, STRING-ENT LINE, ENT-OIL LARD, ENT-RAIL GUARD, ENT-IRE ANGER, ENT-RAIN MIST and PAR-ENT EAGLE. Looking at the first letters of the unmodified words, you'll find the secret message CHECK BBALL GAME; and the solution is a game between B-Ent and Ball-Ent.

clue #39: prize claimed by Stonehenge!
Nostalgic Christmas Collectible

Daniel gave me this Galileo 7 shuttlecraft ornament as a Christmas gift about 20 years ago—right around the time the project was born. Now he's crossed the great divide—far too soon. This unique community; the gift; some amusing comment he left behind in a script—I'm reminded of him every day. And that's a good thing.

Until we meet again my friend,

SOLUTION: H Silbermann vs Vidmar, 1935
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: The solution is to simply compute a 7-digit game ID from NCC 1701/7. "N" is the 14th letter of the alphabet and "C" is the 3rd, so we have 14-3-3 combined with 1701/7 (divide), or 243, producing the game ID 1433243

clue #40: prize claimed by martin1456!

SOLUTION: Carlsen vs P Potapov, 2002
PRIZE: A Four Month Premium Subscription to
COMMENT: Explanation: The pictures are 'Waterfall' by Maurits Cornelis Escher and 'Landscape with the Ruins of Mount Palatine in Rome' by Peter Paul Rubens. As the title suggests, this clue is about the initials. The first names of the artists are MC and PP, and this is a game between Magnus Carlsen and Pavel Potapov


  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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