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Between December 10th and December 24nd, 2014, will be hosting the 7th annual Chessgames Holiday Present Hunt. We will give away 64 prizes over these 14 days.

The 2014 Chessgames Holiday Present Hunt is sponsored by New in Chess, Chess Evolution, Coach Jay's Chess Academy, and The Chessgames Store.


Out of our 738,000 chess games, 64 of them have been specially selected to display a prize-banner at some point during the month of December. Between December 10th, 2012 and December 24th, 2012, sixty-four clues will be slowly released to the public on our Clues Page. These clues are designed to help lead you to the game pages that contain the special winning prize banners.

You never know when a clue might be released, and when one is available and unsolved there will be a prominent message at the top of every page on the site. So simply use Chessgames a lot this December, and if you are both lucky and clever you can pounce on a clue to claim a prize!


What kinds of clues are these? Some are visual, some are anagrams, some are mathematical, some are in the spirit of crossword clues, some require a knowledge of chess history, and some are just plain bizarre. To get a feel for the kinds of clues that you will have to cope with, check out last year's Present Hunt and Q&A section below.

EXAMPLE BANNER * DO NOT CLICK If you are the first person to discover a game page referred to by the clue, you'll see a special banner ad that reads "Congratulations, you are a winner!" Simply click on this banner to claim your prize.

NO PURCHASE IS NECESSARY; you do not have to be a premium member of Chessgames to participate. However, before you can claim a prize you must have a registered Chessgames username. If you don't have an account yet, take a minute to visit our Registration Page. The process is quick, confidential, and 100% free.


This year we are proud to offer several premium prizes, starting with a a no-holds-barred $150 shopping spree provided by The Chessgames Store. Also sponsoring prizes are New in Chess and Coach Jay's Chess Academy.

Chessgames Store 150 Dollar Shopping Spree GRAND PRIZE:
$150 Shopping Spree at the Chessgames Store - The Chessgames Store, supplier of all types of fine chess merchandise, has every thing that is chess: books, DVDs, sets, boards, clocks, clothing, and so much more. The winner of the grand prize will get a full $150 credit for any and all merchandise.

Improve Your Chess Pattern Recognition
x4 lucky winners

Improve Your Chess Pattern Recognition by Arthur Van de Oudeweetering.
New in Chess Pattern recognition is one of the most important mechanisms of chess improvement. Realizing that the position on the board has similarities with something you have seen before helps you to quickly grasp the essence of that position and find the most promising continuation.

Improve Your Chess Pattern Recognition supplies a wealth of essential, yet easy-to-remember building blocks for your chess knowledge.

Arthur van de Oudeweetering is an International Master and a chess trainer from the Netherlands. He has written regular columns for chess news websites ChessVibes and, and is a frequent contributor to the New In Chess Yearbooks

"Once the reader has started applying these patterns in their own games, they will find that the post-opening phase of the game becomes easier and they will more often build up a strong position." -- GM Ian Rogers

Chess Evolution: Top GM Secrets
x4 lucky winners

Chess Evolution Top GM Secrets editors GMs Arkadij Naiditsch and Csaba Balogh
New in Chess This weekly magazine features 25-30 pages of state-of-the-art chess materials in both PDF and PGN formats, including:

  • An editorial preface written by GMs Naiditsch and Balogh on the most exciting moments of the past week.
  • Super GM analysis of the 4 most exciting recently played games with insights, tips, and recommendations.
  • Chess Titans: a masterpiece by legends of the past with our modern, instructive annotations.
  • 2-5 endgame lectures: learn how to beat your opponent in the final stage of the game.
  • 10 chess puzzles. Solutions are provided in the next issue of the newsletter.
  • "Surprise" section: an interview, chess anecdote, theoretical advice or some other bonus article.
Winners will receive a free 6-month subscription ($32.99 value) to this cutting edge online chess magazine.
Fried Liver and Burning Pants
x4 lucky winners

Fried Liver and Burning Pants by Jay Stallings, illustrated by Paul Bauman This wonderful book by the founder of the California Youth Chess League is aimed at children from 8 to 80. Lavish and hilarious illustration adorn some of the most famous legends of the Royal Game.

Not just a book of fun chess stories, Fried Liver, Burning Pants is an introduction to some of the more important characters and events in the history of modern chess. Additionally, there are short mini-lessons that are connected to the stories. In each mini-lesson, there are four thematic problems of increasing difficulty to solve: Rookie, Club Player, Club Champ, and Expert.

"Coach Jay really shows us why his students love chess! The stories are fun and the lessons are real. I recommend this book for anyone who enjoys the game of chess or wants to enjoy it!" — GM Melik Khachiyan

Click here for more information on premium memberships.

example of prize banner


64 special banners will be placed in games in our database throughout the month of December. If you find one of these games, just click on the special banner and claim your prize. It's that simple!

You can see an example of what you should look for in the graphic to the right.

Clues will be released at irregular intervals on our special Clues Page, starting on December 10th, and ending on December 24th. In total, 64 clues will be published, each one referring to one of the special games in our database containing a prize banner.

To play the contest, just visit our Clues Page regularly and try to find the winning games. Or, poke around randomly, and if you're lucky enough you might stumble upon a prize banner. Good luck!


In previous years, people went to the Clues Page and pressed "reload" like maniacs to be the first to get a shot at the new clues, whenever they went online. This year we are going to give your mouse finger a break, and tell you in a big red box at the top of the page, every time a new clue goes online. All you have to do is use Chessgames as you normally would, and keep your eye on the top of the page for announcements of new clue releases.


Our Clues Page will present all of the clues currently released. Throughout the month of December, at irregular intervals, new clues will be added to this page. Clues that have been solved will be clearly marked in green, so that you can concentrate only on the clues that remain unsolved.

Some clues are so easy, it will be a race to locate the game and click on the banner. Some clues are very cunning and may take hours before anybody figures them out. Some clues are so impossible that we'd never figure them out in a million years, even though we wrote them. In those cases the winner will likely stumble upon the game by accident. If a clue proves to be too obscure for even our most ingenious members, we may (at our discretion) add more hints as the contest progresses to help encourage the location of the winning banners.


The following questions are the most commonly asked questions about this contest. For more thorough details, refer to the Official Rules, found at the bottom of this page. We hope that this avoids any confusion, but if you still have questions, feel free to ask us at the Chessgames Chessforum.


    Anybody at all, of any age, from any country, excluding: employees of, the contest sponsors, and such employees' and sponsors' immediate family members and persons with whom such employees are domiciled.


    No, but you must have an account (a "username") to claim a prize. You can get a free account quickly and easily at our Registration Page at any time.


    No. The banners will be placed on the game pages only when the clues are released. By December 24th all 64 banners will be online.


    64 dates and times were selected in advance between December 10th and December 24th, by a computer, completely at random. The average rate is 4 clues a day, but it's possible for a day to go by without a single clue, or for two clues released mere seconds apart.


    Yes. If you win one prize, keep on playing, and you might win another. However, if any single member wins five prizes, he or she will immediately become ineligible from winning any further prizes until next year.


    To give everybody, from all the time zones across the globe, a fair chance at being online when a new clue becomes available. Plus, we don't want you to know when they are coming ;-)


    This is very important if you want to win. Every game in our database has what we call a "game ID", which is a 7-digit number. Currently they are all in the range of 1,000,000 and (roughly) 1,780,000. Due to this fact, many (if not most) clues will lead you to a solution which is a 7 digit number. Once you know this game ID, finding the game is simple. Two methods: (1) You can type the number into the "EZ Search" at the top of our homepage, or (2) visit the URL followed by the game ID. For example, to get to game 1000000 (the very first game in our database) you would go to


    That's not true--we really want you to solve them! Some of them make perfect sense, but some are highly obscure. Not everybody will be able to solve every clue, but some of them are so easy we call them "race clues" because the first person to locate the banner and click wins. Be sure to read the tips at the bottom of the Clues Page. If a clue proves to be too hard for anybody to solve, we may add further hints to encourage its solution. If you want to practice solving clues, check out the crazy conundrums from previous years: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013.

  • WHAT ARE SOME WEBSITES THAT MIGHT HELP ME SOLVE THE CLUES? 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. The Cryptogram Solver will chew on the hardest cryptograms and give you an answer in seconds. Having a good dictionary will also be an asset. In recent years, we've found that some solvers have been using the website TinEye can help you figure out what an image is.


    Sure, if you want to. The Kibitzer's Cafe is a popular place to do that.


    Yes: the prize banners are visible to everybody, regardless of preference settings.


    Four extra months will be added to your account.


    Sorry, your four extra months cannot be added to your account. However, Chessgames will award these prizes to randomly selected non-premium members during our "Dear Santa Contest" to be announced later in December.


The Holiday Present Hunt ("the Contest") is a game of skill and luck available to the general public. It costs nothing to play. The official rules are listed below:

  1. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. To claim prizes, you will need to have a registered account at (If you do not have an account, visit our Registration Page and sign up; it's quick, anonymous, and free.)
  2. The prizes are not redeemable in cash and must be accepted as awarded. By claiming the prize, the winner authorizes the use, without additional compensation, of his or her name and/or screen-name for promotion and/or advertising purposes in any manner and in any medium.
  3. retains the rights, at its absolute and sole discretion, to make substitutions of equivalent kind or approximate value in the event of the unavailability of any prize or component of the prize for any reason whatsoever.
  4. Images of the prizes are provided only as examples; the true prizes received will not necessarily look exactly like the advertising photographs.
  5. To give everybody a good chance at winning, a limitation of prizes is in effect. If, at any time, a single member wins five (5) prizes, he or she will immediately become ineligible from winning any further prizes.
  6. A sponsored prize is any prize other than the 4-Month Chessgames Premium Membership. If a member wins two identical sponsored prizes, Chessgames will substitute a different sponsored prize from the remaining prize pool, at its discretion. If there are no remaining sponsored prizes, Chessgames will substitute a Chessgames Store gift certficiate, chess T-Shirt, or a 1-year premium subscription.
  7. In order to be eligible for any prize you must supply us with a working valid email address. If you register to our site with a bogus or nonfunctional email, we will be unable to contact you, and your prize may default to another member.
  8. If a clue is not solved in a timely fashion, may offer extra, alternate clues to encourage its solution. This may or may not be done by, at its sole discretion. Any prizes left unclaimed at the termination of the Contest will be void and not awarded.
  9. Four Month Premium Membership prizes are non-transferable. They will be activated upon the account that clicks the prize-banner first, and cannot be given to another member.
  10. In the event that a Four Month Premium Membership is won by a user who is already a premium member, the expiration date on the winning account will be extended by four months. In the event that a Four Month Premium Membership is won by a user who has a lifetime subscription to Chessgames, the prize is void.
  11. The use of web spiders or other automated software systems designed to spider web pages for purposes of the Contest is strictly prohibited. Anybody discovered using such techniques to find the gift-graphics will be disqualified from the Contest and the prize(s) won will be returned to the pool. However, the use of public search engines (e.g. Google) is permitted and encouraged.
  12. The Contest is subject to the laws of the United States and the State of Florida. This contest is void where prohibited by law. Employees of, the contest sponsors, advertising and promotional agencies and their respective affiliates and associates and such employees' and sponsors' immediate family members and persons with whom such employees are domiciled are excluded from this contest.

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