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See previous contests:
The 2007 Present Hunt | The 2008 Present Hunt | The 2009 Present Hunt | The 2010 Present Hunt
The 2011 Present Hunt | The 2012 Present Hunt | The 2013 Present Hunt | The 2014 Present Hunt
The 2015 Present Hunt | The 2016 Present Hunt

RULES FOR THE 2012 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, 2012. 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 2012 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 kevinatcausa!
Alien Signals

SOLUTION: Razuvaev vs Anand, 1986
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: An easy one to get this party started! Simply turn your head on its right side, and ignore the upper half. It clearly reads, "ANANDE80" and this is the one game we have where Anand plays the ECO code of E80.

clue #2: prize claimed by SwitchingQuylthulg!
Help, Mate!
  • Stopping little devils? (3)
  • Polish medicinal plants? (8)
  • Warm up the chicken? (4)
  • Chromosome supplies? (5)
  • Assume floor covering? (7)
  • What you say to stop a snake? (2)
  • Anger in a coastal inlet? (2)
  • Protest starting after dinner? (5)
  • Count of mancaves? (1)
  • Recycling graphs and diagrams? (3)
  • Citrus fruit pitch? (5)

SOLUTION: A M Petrisor vs S Das, 2011
PRIZE: A $25 Gift Certificate for the Chessgames Store
COMMENT: Every clue refers to a word which can be interpreted as two smaller words, e.g. "HELPMATE" is "HELP MATE". The answers are: IMP/ENDING, BUFF/ALOES, HEAT/HEN, GENE/RATIONS, INFER/TILE, ASP/HALT, COVE/RAGE, LATE/RALLY, DEN/TALLY, CHART/REUSE, and LIMES/TONE. Use the numbers to index into the solution words to get the letters PETRISOR-DAS.

clue #3: prize claimed by BVer!
Armageddon Outa Here

SOLUTION: Greco vs NN, 1623
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: This is a painting depicting the end of the world by the painter El Greco. Around the same time, the Greco of chess fame produced this quaint miniature.

clue #4: prize claimed by Annie K.!
Perennial Favorites

SOLUTION: T Sachdev vs Uhlmann, 2012
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: Pictured is a Galanthus, or "Snowdrop", a plant that blooms into beautiful white flowers in the winter. If you've been watching the homepage, you'll have noticed we just recently uploaded the Czech tournament called Snowdrops and Old-hands (2012).

clue #5: prize claimed by imag!
Two Thumbs Up

A group goes to the movies, consisting of Viktor, Yifan, Vladimir, Zsofia, Veselin, Natalia, and Silvio. They sit in seven adjacent seats in the same theater row. Vladimir will sit next to neither Veselin nor Silvio. Viktor won't sit next to Zsofia. Natalia won't sit next to a man. Yifan won't sit next to a lady.

SOLUTION: Huebner vs R Ruck, 2010
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: First, assign each guest a number from 1-7 (in the order named). There are only four possible ways to arrange the guests to conform to their preferences, provided that Viktor is in the first seat:
(Viktor, Vladimir, Yifan, Veselin, Silvio, Zsofia, Natalia)
(Viktor, Vladimir, Yifan, Silvio, Veselin, Zsofia, Natalia)
(Viktor, Veselin, Silvio, Yifan, Vladimir, Zsofia, Natalia)
(Viktor, Silvio, Veselin, Yifan, Vladimir, Zsofia, Natalia)
Note that we demanded Viktor in the first seat to conform to legal game IDs, the correct one being 1572346 (Viktor, Veselin, Silvio, Yifan, Vladimir, Zsofia, Natalia).

clue #6: prize claimed by SwitchingQuylthulg!
Not Impressed

SOLUTION: Maroczy vs Reti, 1927
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: Pictured is American gymnast McKayla Maroney from the 2012 London Olympics. Two more things to realize: first, that the Safari™ logo is pointing to the northeast (NE), and second that the map is that of the Czech Republic (CZ). Therefore, MARONEY after you substitute NE->CZ gives you MAROCZY. But which of his hundreds of games could it be? Of course, one of his games in a London Olympiad!

clue #7: prize claimed by SwitchingQuylthulg!
I know I am--gee, you are too?


HINT: If you find an image of a movie poster, you're on the right track.

SOLUTION: Alekhine / Koltanowski vs Chessboard Chess Club, 1934
PRIZE: A One Year Subscription to New in Chess Magazine
COMMENT: Within the title is I-M-G-U-R spelling out the image-archive website The code is imgur-code to which is a movie poster for Miracle on 34th Street. If you happen to search for games from 1934 that have exactly 34 moves it turns out that there are exactly 34 of them. The comment on the Alekhine / Koltanowski Blindfold Team is the icing on the cake: <Funicular: dude, the year was 1934, and the 3 games they won, they won them in 34 moves--now what do you call that?> We call it "Miracle on 34th Street."

clue #8: prize claimed by AnimusEtOblivio!
misleading red herring text here

SOLUTION: Morphy vs F Perrin, 1857
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: From The Exploits and Triumphs in Europe of Paul Morphy is the quote:
Who that was present that evening does not remember Paul Morphy's first appearance at the New York Chess Club? The secretary, Mr. Frederick Perrin, valorously offered to be his first antagonist, and presented about the same resistance as a musquito [sic] to an avalanche.

clue #9: prize claimed by Thanh Phan!
Double Trouble
  1. _ _ no ... ?
  2. Net address
  3. Classified abbr. for sellers
  4. Common ligature
  5. Windows, sometimes

SOLUTION: Yifan Hou vs M Socko, 2012
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: Each clue has a two letter solution: YU, IP, FS (for sale), AE, and NT. Write the letters in columns to get the two secret words:

   Y U
Reading top to bottom it says "YIFAN" and "UPSET", and this is the game where Monika Socko recently upset Women's World Champion Hou Yifan.

clue #10: prize claimed by shalgo!
Meanwhile, in Ngorongoro

SOLUTION: Tal vs Vasiukov, 1964
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: This is the game famously associated with the logistics of dragging a hippopotamus from a marsh (read kibitzing for details). Pictured is a hippo in the marshes of Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania.

clue #11: prize claimed by SwitchingQuylthulg!
Where are my Chess Pieces?

lyritig, hood, ovel, adblc, reirmt, szig, pve

SOLUTION: F Jenni vs A Gunnarsson, 2005
PRIZE: The book Man vs Machine: Kasparov vs Deep Blue by Goodman and Keene
COMMENT: The letters are all English words with the names of chess pieces removed from them. For example, lyritig + pawn = playwriting. The rest are: hood + knight = knighthood, ovel + rook = overlook, adblc + rook = roadblock, reirmt + queen = requirement, szig + queen = squeezing, pve + rook = provoke. What numbers should you use, to represent the chess pieces? Just use their normal piece values (1 for a pawn, 3 for a knight, etc.) That gives you the solution, 1355995.

clue #12: prize claimed by adoresome!
One Word...

SOLUTION: P Prohaszka vs S Azarov, 2010
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: Pictured is the famous scene from the movie the Graduate, but that was just for fun. The real puzzle here is to learn the recycling numbers for the various types of plastics presented. They are: polyethylene terephthalate (1), polypropylene (5), polycarbonate (7), polystyrene / styrofoam (6), polyvinyl chloride / PVC (3), styrofoam (6), and styrofoam (6).

clue #13: prize claimed by JamesBJames!
American History

Noi gf, ud wzmmfr Nuzltvnog: ngc ofq rjnq dfsl vfsoqld vno if wfl dfs; ngc rjnq dfs vno if wfl dfsl vfsoqld.

SOLUTION: E Garcia vs N Echeverria Acuna, 2001
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: This is a cryptogram of John F. Kennedy's famous quote, "And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country." The speech was delivered on 1/20/1961; the game ID is 1201961.

clue #14: prize claimed by The HeavenSmile!
Think Fast!

Give it up, there is no useful alt-text and there never will be.

SOLUTION: Steinitz vs W Bolt, 1865
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: Pictured is olympian Usain Bolt apparently using a chess-set to play checkers.

clue #15: prize claimed by adoresome!
Tales from the Crypt

Z hosynm noxxnm bnem, orxmrimi xg imbmokm.

SOLUTION: Acs vs D Howell, 2012
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: Simply count the letters in each word to get the game ID, 1664827. (It is a cryptogram of "A simple little clue, intended to deceive.", but that's not necessary to solve the clue.)

clue #16: prize claimed by SwitchingQuylthulg!
Really Nerdy Jokes
  1. What do you call a ❒❒❒❒❒ smoking marijuana? A High Templar!
  2. How did Pythagoras win the endgame? With ❒❒❒❒❒❒❒❒❒❒❒❒.
  3. If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the ❒❒❒❒❒❒❒❒❒❒.
  4. How do you lubricate a Sierpinski gasket? With ❒❒❒❒❒  ❒❒❒.
  5. What's the difference between a ❒❒❒❒❒  ❒❒❒ and a ❒❒❒❒? Nothing, to a topologist.
  6. What's the difference between Christmas and Halloween? Nothing, to a ❒❒❒❒❒❒❒❒❒.

SOLUTION: F Lainseur vs E Anka, 1994
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: These very nerdy jokes are: 1. Zealot (a Star Craft™ joke) 2. triangulation (a chess joke) 3. precipitate (a chemistry joke) 4. Cantor dust (a math joke) 5. coffee cup / donut (because they are both surfaces of genus 1) 6. programmer (because DEC25 = OCT31). The red letters spell LAINSEUR.

clue #17: prize claimed by AnimusEtOblivio!
Greek Mythology

Hint: The URL in the lower-left corner is just art credits and in no way connected with the solution.
Hint #2: Definitely Greek, not Roman.

SOLUTION: Boleslavsky vs A Polikarpov, 1964
PRIZE: The book The Magic Tactics of Mikhail Tal from New in Chess
COMMENT: Egads, a multi-headed grandmaster! It can only be ... *gasp* ... a Polikarpov! (Art courtesy of

clue #18: prize claimed by kevinatcausa!
13th b'ak'tun

How many seconds will have elapsed between the start of the 2012 Chessgames Present Hunt and the end of the Mayans' calendar?

SOLUTION: F Braga vs M Steinbacher, 1990
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: There are many handy online tools such as which will compute for you the number of seconds between dates. The Chessgames Holiday Present Hunt began on midnight, December 10, EST. The Mayan Calendar--or at least the 13th b'ak'tun--ends on December 21, 2012. However, note that the Mayan calendar is good all the way through to the last moment of the the last day. Therefore the answer is the number of seconds in 12 days (not 11), which gives you 1036800 seconds. But wait--there's one subtlety left: Chessgames server time is UTC-5, but the Mayans lived almost exclusively in the UTC-6 time zone. So we subtract one hour (3600 seconds) to get the final answer of 1033200.

clue #19: prize claimed by Sastre!

SOLUTION: Z Rahman vs E Chinchilla Miranda, 1988
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: Pictured is a baby chinchilla. As it turns out, there is a FIDE master named Chinchilla. This is one of his games.

clue #20: prize claimed by adoresome!
The Gods Must be Crazy

Votan and Camazotz play chess on a gigantic board which has 160 ranks and 160 files. How many squares are there, in total?

SOLUTION: Leonhardt vs Teichmann, 1906
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: True, 160 squared is 25,600; but there are many more squares than that. On a regular chessboard, there are actually 204 squares, counting all possible perimeters that make a square shape. The formula for squares on an n-by-n board is n(n+1)(2n+1)/6. When n=160, that gives you 1378160, the game ID.

clue #21: prize claimed by amoop!
Far Out!

SOLUTION: A Nickel vs J Kuiper, 1995
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: Depicted is the Kuiper belt, a region of the Solar System that starts around Neptune and extends far beyond the planets--not to be confused with the asteroid belt, which resides mostly between Mars and Jupiter. (For those curious what exactly is being depicted, our illustration was inspired by this one.)

clue #22: prize claimed by JamesBJames!
Around the World in 80 Moves

A certain chess player took a well earned vacation. His first stop was San Salvador (El Salvador), then he visited Islamabad (Pakistan), and finally stopped at Gurayat (Saudi Arabia). Upon returning home, he noticed a most striking coincidence...

SOLUTION: J Salisbury vs J G Ludwig, 2012
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: Figure out what the airport codes were: El Salvador International Airport is SAL, Islamabad International Airport is ISB, and Gurayat Airport is URY. SAL+ISB+URY = Salisbury.

clue #23: prize claimed by BVer!
Han and Cho

SOLUTION: S Celis vs Hoang Nam Nguyen, 2009
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: Shown is a detail from a frame of the massively viral video Gangnam Style, which we punned for the Game of the Day ("Hoang Nam Style") just a few months ago. (Han and Cho are names of the armies in Janggi, sometimes called "Korean Chess".)

clue #24: prize claimed by JamesBJames!
You're Such a Square

On mlfuf ei i ino rlov dreun? E rtesth, e yta htdt hniyo hodr f ur.

SOLUTION: D Kokarev vs Ivan Popov, 2009
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: First of all, ignore the spaces, capitalization, and punctuation that are just red herrings. The key to notice here is that there are 49 (7x7) letters in total. Put the letters in a 7x7 square as the title suggests:
If you read the diagonals, starting in the upper left and working to the lower right, it spells out the game ID in plain English: "one million, five hundred forty three thousand, thirty four".

clue #25: prize claimed by 7krzem7!
Meanwhile, in Belarus

No clues are in alt-text, no need to check for it.

SOLUTION: Alexander Petrov vs C Jaenisch, 1844
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: The painting "Napoleon's Retreat from Moscow" by Adolph Northen brings to mind a chess composition of the very same name, composed by Alexander Petrov. This is one of Petrov's games of that era.

clue #26: prize claimed by jalfano1!
Calling All Units

profundity (3), pincushion (6), amphitheater (7), journalize (1), revolution (1), shoulder (4), waistcoat (5)

SOLUTION: P Vavra vs B Zamarbide Inarrea, 2006
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: Every word given has the name of a unit of measurement embedded within it. For example, there's a "pound" in profundity. The rest of the answers: an inch in pincushion, a meter in amphitheater (but no ampere!), a joule in journalize, a volt in revolution, an hour in shoulder, and a watt in waistcoat. Now, if you remove those units look at the leftovers, the numbers in parentheses tell you which letter to use. For example, profundity - pound = "rfity", and letter #3 of "rfity" is an I. Repeat this process to spell INARREA, the maternal surname of a player from Spain.

clue #27: prize claimed by kevinatcausa!

SOLUTION: Carlsen vs Kamsky, 2007
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: If you turn your head on its side, close one eye, and look at the graphic from an extreme angle, it clearly says CARLSEN-KAMSKY.

clue #28: prize claimed by MostlyAverageJoe!
The Chessgames Orchestra

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: D Wedding vs Dangerman, 1994
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: The clip is from the theme song to the 1960s British television series Danger Man, featuring Edwin Astley and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

"Danger Man" is copyright © 2010, Silva Screen Records.

clue #29: prize claimed by kevinatcausa!
Meanwhile, in Vietnam

SOLUTION: Lobron vs K Spraggett, 1983
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: The object of the Towers of Hanoi puzzle is to move all of the discs from tower #1 to tower #3 while at no time putting a disc on top of another smaller than itself. There is only one optimum way to do this, and it takes 7 steps: 1-to-3, 1-to-2, 3-to-2, 1-to-3, 2-to-1, 2-to-3, 1-to-3. Pay attention to the tower you are moving from and you get the solution 1131221.

clue #30: prize claimed by tcsetattr!
A Riddle, Wrapped in a Mystery, Inside an Enigma

1922, 211087, 136022, 65399, 93039, 141498, 14298, 128299, 207689, 88014, 185, 57299, 52889, 44289, 9005, 73589, 9023, 202059, 198199

Hint: For starters, look at the beginning of each number.

Hint/Note: We are sincerely sorry, the clue has a mistake in it and cannot be solved. When you reach the final step, you use this set of numbers (instead of the original set) to derive the solution: 197049, 216087, 137013, 669, 96057, 146399, 14289, 124398, 206599, 81005, 183077, 55398, 52898, 4298, 9005, 71499, 96005, 207059, 194199.

SOLUTION: Miles vs Sosonko, 1984
PRIZE: A $25 Gift Certificate for the Chessgames Store
COMMENT: Looking at the first 1-2 digits of each number and applying the normal (1→A, 2→B, etc.) cipher yields a secret phrase, "SUM FINAL THREE DIGITS". Now do as instructed for each number, e.g. 1922 → 9+2+2 → 13 → M. Now you get the next secret phrase, "MODULUS TWENTY SEVENS". Then if you calculate the modulus 27 (the remainder of dividing each number by 27) you get the next stage of the cipher: "C FOUR E FIVE QUEEN C TWO". It's easy to check the Opening Explorer and learn that the offbeat 1.c4 e5 2.Qc2 has only been tried twice.

Note: The original set of numbers was something we produced while testing the clue, which reveals the absurd plaintext "EAWEXROVEUWEWINNERS". The second set of numbers in the clue was in fact the intended puzzle. Again we are sorry for the error.

clue #31: prize claimed by wienke7!
Hanoi Redux

SOLUTION: Geller vs Smyslov, 1953
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: The minimum number of steps it takes to solve a Tower of Hanoi puzzle with 20 discs is 220-1, which is 1048575.

Trivia: There is a legend that Brahmin priests work tirelessly on a Towers of Hanoi puzzle with 64 golden dics, and when the last move of the puzzle is completed, the world will end. Fortunately, with 64 discs it would take 264-1 turns to finish. At a second per move, that would be about 45 times the life span of the sun.

clue #32: prize claimed by BVer!
Pulp Fiction

Suddenly eligible after inheriting a barony and a vast fortune, dashing David Rutherford devises a clever scheme to defeat the army of marriage-minded maids who now flock to his door. He will wed only the miss who can best him at a game of chess. ... And when knight takes queen, mate can be the only possible outcome.

SOLUTION: R Smellie vs J A Boucher, 1916
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: A trip to Google reveals this is the dust-jacket copy for Miss Gabriel's Gambit, a romance novel written by Rita Boucher.

clue #33: prize claimed by Sastre!

SOLUTION: M Mahjoob vs Minwoo Jung, 2010
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: Pictured are three very famous locations with well known addresses: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, 10 Downing Street, and 1 Infinite Loop (Apple Computers Headquarters). String the street numbers together to get the game ID, 1600101.

clue #34: prize claimed by MostlyAverageJoe!
Fill in the Blank

Kasparov vs Topalov, 1999, Steinitz vs Bird, 1862, Fischer vs Spassky, 1972
Kramnik vs Leko, 2004, ______________, Carlsen vs Ernst, 2004

SOLUTION: B Andonov vs Velimirovic, 2000
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: The key here is to take averages. If you look at the game IDs only, you see (1011478, 1027922, 1044366) the middle number being the average of the outside two. Applying that logic to the bottom line yields the game ID of the answer, 1292177.

clue #35: prize claimed by goldfarbdj!
Zergling Rush

SOLUTION: Capablanca vs Lord Dunsany, 1929
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: Pictured is the starting position of a chess variant called Dunsany's Chess named after Lord Dunsany.

clue #36: prize claimed by wienke7!
Also who stand wait.

3 2 2 9 2 4 7 9 6 5 5 2 7 8 6 2 1 8 0 9
5 4 4 2 1 0 4 3 4 9 5 6 6 3 0 3 4 6 7 1
7 6 0 3 0 2 5 2 4 0 8 0 6 0 8 5 2 0 3 8

1 6 6 9 8 2 5 7 8 3 2 2 9 2 4 5 6
2 8 0 7 7 6 6 1 2 1 0 4 2 1 8 3 4
3 8 8 1 0 0 3 9 4 9 8 2 7 6 0 5 1

SOLUTION: S Krylov vs R Singh, 2004
PRIZE: The book Man vs Machine: Kasparov vs Deep Blue by Goodman and Keene
COMMENT: The title is every other word of the famous line from Milton's On His Blindness, "They also serve who only stand and wait." If you focus only on the odd numbers, a pattern emerges:

•     •     • •   • •   •       •     •
•       •     •   • •     •   •     • •
•     •     •                 •     •  

•     •     • •   •     •     •    
      • •     •   •       •   •  
•     •     • •   •     •     • •

Braille for "LONGEST KRYLOV", and this game is the longest one in the database of Sergey Krylov, an IM who plays for the International Braille Chess Association.

clue #37: prize claimed by JamesBJames!
Every Inch Matters!

SOLUTION: Hebden vs A Graf, 2009
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: Pictured is Felix Baumgartner, who set the world record for skydiving earlier this year at an estimated 128,100 feet. Based on the title, we want the number of inches, so that makes the answer 128100 x 12 or 1537200.

clue #38: prize claimed by sleepyirv!
The Tree of Analysis

So that the reader can get more used to the concept of the analytical tree, and of analysing lines once and once only, let us examine another interesting example.

SOLUTION: Rossolimo vs V Nestler, 1950
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: A direct quote from Kotov's famous Think Like a Grandmaster, introducing the solution game.

clue #39: prize claimed by OBIT!
Atlas Shrugged

SOLUTION: J Higgs vs J S Stanley, 1888
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: Pictured is an event recorded at the ATLAS Experiment at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland. Earlier this year data like this image suggested the long sought-after proof of the Higgs Boson.

clue #40: prize claimed by kevinatcausa!
Let Me Count the Ways

Here in the states, there are 6 coin denominations: 1 cent, 5 cents, 10 cents, 25 cents, 50 cents, and a dollar (100 cents). Good thing I had all this change on me, or I'd never be able to afford that $9.07 appetizer!

SOLUTION: R Pastres vs K O'Driscoll, 2005
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: The title hints that this is going to be a combinatorics problem. Given the coins named, there are exactly 1,335,245 ways to make change for $9.07.

clue #41: prize claimed by MostlyAverageJoe!
Shin, Shin, Put One In

Happy Channukah!

SOLUTION: Weiliang Tan vs Khoa Bao, 2012
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: Each letter in Hebrew is also a number, so these dreidel rolls are really numbers, and the clue is just a multiplication problem. The first line is Shin (300) + Nun (50) + Hei (5) + Gimel (3) = 358. The second line is also 358. The final line is 13, and 358 x 358 x 13 is the game ID of 1666132.

clue #42: prize claimed by AnimusEtOblivio!
Shoulders of Giants

Each is greater than those who came before.

SOLUTION: W Schmidt vs V Vaisman, 1976
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: The idea is simple: look for game ID numbers in which each digit is bigger than the digits before it, e.g. 1234567 or 1345678. Knowing that we start with a 1 there are only 28 possible 7-digit numbers that meet that description, the winner being 1346789.

clue #43: prize claimed by Shams!
Beach Bums

SOLUTION: L Akulov vs O Boginin, 2000
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: Pictured is the opening scene from Beach Blanket Bingo, and the numbers below are to be interpreted as bingo calls: B-5, O-66, G-52, I-18, N-42, I-23, N-40. That spells BOGININ.

clue #44: prize claimed by Helloween!
Snickerclish Restroom
  1. She bear flea sides dove starch.
  2. Hoard nut drools; bees chortles glee.
  3. Uh, shady broth flow best through touch. He stinks!
  4. Snout rammed yacht.
  5. Snail tea, why shame his toe fan?
  6. He splinter shove sour piston vent.
  7. Sweat stew fruit day.

SOLUTION: T Upton vs A Ledger, 2005
PRIZE: A $25 Gift Certificate for the Chessgames Store
COMMENT: A "Snickerclish Restroom" (Gibberish Question) is a type of puzzle invented by the quiz-show computer game "You Don't Know Jack". In this variation, all of the phrases are Shakespeare quotes with rhymes substituted for each word. Punctuation should be ignored. The quotes are 1. Beware the ides of March. (Julius Caesar Act 1, scene 2) 2. Lord, what fools these mortals be! (A Midsummer Night's Dream Act 3, scene 2) 3. The lady doth protest too much, methinks. (Hamlet Act 3, scene 2) 4. Out, damn'd spot! (Macbeth Act 5, scene 1) 5. Frailty, thy name is woman! (Hamlet Act 1, scene 2) 6. The winter of our discontent. (Richard The Third Act 1, scene 1) 7. Et tu, Brute? (Julius Caesar Act 3, scene 1).

Take the act numbers of each Shakespeare quote to get the game ID, 1335113.

clue #45: prize claimed by AnimusEtOblivio!


SOLUTION: Pluto vs A Nickel, 2004
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: In this case, R.I.P. stands for "Revolve in Peace", and the dates indicate the dwarf planet object known as Pluto.

clue #46: prize claimed by BVer!
The Heart of the Matter

SOLUTION: A Esenov vs S Inoue, 2008
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: Look at the "heart" of the card names: KING = "IN", FOUR = "OU", TEN = "E". That spells INOUE.

clue #47: prize claimed by Sastre!
Where have All the Great Masters Gone?

chromatography (2), embolden (5), craftiness (4), compassion (5), calibrating (1), heretic (3), marshmallow (5), piracy (3), milestones (3), colorless (5)

SOLUTION: R Durkin vs Spielman, 1957
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: Hidden within these words are names of old chess masters: There's a Morphy in chromatography; there's a Boden in embolden; there's a Fine in craftiness; there's a Mason in compassion; there's an Albin in calibrating; there's a Reti in heretic; there's a Marshall in marshmallow; there's a Pirc in piracy; there's a Mieses in milestones (Miles was a red-herring); and there's a Colle in colorless. Use the numbers to index into the names of the masters, to get the secret phrase "ONE N A THREE" (1.Na3, the "Sodium Attack"). A quick check of the Opening Explorer shows only 19 games; we were kind enough to have a direct link to the winning one.

clue #48: prize claimed by dakgootje!
Postal Chess?

SOLUTION: A H Williams vs P Clarke, 1970
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: George Hay, a science fiction magazine editor in the 1970s, challenged Arthur C. Clarke (and others) to write a science fiction story so concise that it could fit on a postcard. Clarke's result was the chess-related story Quarantine published in the first issue of Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, 1977. The solution game is Arthur vs Clarke.

clue #49: prize claimed by sleepyirv!
I, for one, welcome...

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: ETABETA vs Chiron, 2006
PRIZE: The book Man vs Machine: Kasparov vs Deep Blue by Goodman and Keene
COMMENT: The clip is made from fragments of the Christmas song by Jonathan Coulton titled Chiron Beta Prime about a family spending the holidays while enslaved by robot overlords. Here, some early robot overlords, Chiron and ETABETA, duke it out.

"Chiron Beta Prime" is copyright © 2006, audio courtesy of Jonathan Coulton.

clue #50: prize claimed by SamAtoms1980!
Art Deco

SOLUTION: A W Potts vs S Bell, 1986
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: The arrow shows how to move your fingers over a touch-tone phone to produce the game ID, 1243560, like this:

clue #51: prize claimed by Pi Guy!

Borrow insanely

SOLUTION: D Freeman vs Robson, 2004
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: "Shuffleboard" was just to get you thinking in the direction of anagrams. "Borrow insanely" is an anagram of "Early Robson win."

clue #52: prize claimed by casaschi!
It's Clobberin' Time!

SOLUTION: E Cekro vs Timman, 2005
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: The trick is to use the "real" names of the superheroes: Clark Kent, Peter Parker, Tony Stark, Benjamin Grimm, and Bruce Wayne. The numbers index into those names, to spell out "CEKRO TIMMAN".

clue #53: prize claimed by SamAtoms1980!
Arithmetic Homework

1 x 1 = 1
4 + 4 = 8
4 + 5 = 9
4 + 3 = 7
4 x 0 = 0
43 + 3 = 45
6 x 45 = 477
83 + 4 = 87
85 x 5 = 425

Once you're done with your homework, simply go to game (54 x 389 x 310) / 5 and claim your prize!

SOLUTION: Pavasovic vs Bagirov, 1995
PRIZE: A $25 Gift Certificate for the Chessgames Store
COMMENT: This is actually a substitution cipher in which each numeral is replaced by a different one. Coincidentally, most of the math statements remain true even after the cipher is applied; but two of them are the tip-off that something fishy is going on (43+3 is not 45; 6x45 is not 477). When you solve the cryptogram you'll find that 0→8, 1→0, 2→5, 3→3, 4→1, 5→6, 6→9, 7→4, 8→2, 9→7. For example, where it says that 1 x 1 = 1, it was really saying that 0 x 0 = 0. When it said that 85 x 5 = 425 it was really saying that 26 x 6 = 156. Once the cipher is cracked, it's a simple matter of translating the math at the bottom into (61 x 327 x 308) / 6 to get the game ID, 1023946.

clue #54: prize claimed by adoresome!
Famous Match-Ups

SOLUTION: Fischer vs Bisguier, 1970
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: The solution is the last of Fischer's victories over Arthur Bisguier.

clue #55: prize claimed by BVer!
Research Assignment

Professor Schach has discovered this old newspaper article. Can you help him identify the redacted names?

SOLUTION: Kmoch vs S Takacs, 1927
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: This is a real document which fell out of a very old chess book in our private collection. A little bit of research (combined with actually reading the article) reveals that Richard S. Davis' column was a feature in the Milwaukee Journal for many years. Even though the year is not entirely legible, the fact that it was a Tuesday on November 7th proves that it must say 1933. Now, a little research online will help you bring up a scan of the document so you can see the redacted text: Kmoch, and Takacs.

clue #56: prize claimed by MostlyAverageJoe!

SOLUTION: McDonnell vs NN, 1830
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: This is the cover of the 2012 novel The Rook except something has fallen off the crest: the rook itself. So that leads you in the direction of rook-odds games. Furthermore, the novel's protagonist suffered from amnesia, hinting at NN.

clue #57: prize claimed by MostlyAverageJoe!
Valuable Errata

It is, of cource, immpossible to make a clue that highlites all the possibities.

HINT: £13,251 worth of errata, to be exact.

SOLUTION: Benjamin vs Z Kozul, 1997
PRIZE: A $100 Gift Certificate for the Chessgames Store
COMMENT: This is a reference to a recent auction at PFC Auction House of some rare handwritten chess notes by Bobby Fischer. It was sold for £13,251. Sprinkled among the notes were various misspellings, some of which appear in the clue above: cource, immpossible, highlites, and possibities. Now it will take some work to go through the pages and find the misspellings, noting the page number on which each appears: 12, 4, 13, and 16. (That's 7 digits, so that's a good sign.) "All the possibities" is a hint that there will be multiple possibilities, but fortunately there are only 24 ways that these numbers can be ordered (only 18 if you discount ones starting with 4.) The winning combination is 13-16-4-12. Congratulations to the winner!

clue #58: prize claimed by adoresome!
We're not Russian You

SOLUTION: L Golovin vs A Gantsevich, 2012
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: Pictured is the upper portion of Golovin-Sivtsev table, an eye test comprised of Cyrillic letters. The winning game is one of Leonid Golovin's wins at the 2012 Chigorin Memorial.

clue #59: prize claimed by jqwerty!
Ease as A, B, C (times 10,000!)

(A) So he called his dog Max.
Then he took some black thread,
And he tied a big horn on the top of his head.

(B) Our easy interface allows you to search a vast library of historic chess games for educational and entertainment purposes.

(C) Any effectively generated theory capable of expressing elementary arithmetic cannot be both consistent and complete.

HINT: Reading comprehension is very important.
HINT: The Chessgames Help Page can be easily read by 13-14 year olds.
NOTE: Various (now corrected) typos on our Help Page are immaterial to this clue.

SOLUTION: K Volke vs Vaganian, 1992
PRIZE: A One Year Subscription to New in Chess Magazine
COMMENT: You may notice that the three texts (Dr. Seuss, the Chessgames Help Page, and Kurt Gödel) are ordered by comprehensibility. The title was referring to the Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease score, a method of determining the reading level of text. Scores usually range from 0 to 100, but can go over 100 for very simple text and under 0 for difficult writing. The formula is:
206.835 - 1.015 ( total words / total sentences ) - 84.6 ( total syllables / total words)
There are several tools online which compute this automatically but their accuracy varies, and we demand absolute precision here, so you might want to roll up your sleeves and compute the scores manually. The FK reading ease scores are: A=110.055, B=27.2553, C=-22.71. (Note that we pronounce elementary in five syllables, not four.) If you add these up and multiply by 10000 as indicated, you'll get the game ID 1146003.

clue #60: prize claimed by shrdlu!
Every Which Way
  • draw, paper, flash (1, 2)
  • copy, forth, birth (1, 5)
  • fall, town, grade (2, 4)

SOLUTION: Barton vs B Wall, 1974
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: Each of these word sets can be linked with a fourth word: 1. back (drawback, paperback, flashback); 2. right (copyright, forthright, birthright); 3. down (downfall, downtown, downgrade). The numbers index into the words to spell out BARTON.

clue #61: prize claimed by JamesBJames!
Paint by Numbers

SOLUTION: Chaturanga vs Lion, 2006
PRIZE: The book The Magic Tactics of Mikhail Tal from New in Chess
COMMENT: This is a nonogram (Griddler, Picross, etc.) which, when solved, reveals a picture of a lion.

clue #62: prize claimed by goldfarbdj!
Technical Writing Class
  1. Castanea dentata in a state of rapid exothermic oxidation (16)
  2. Cup-shaped acoustic resonators constructed out of a highly reflective transition metal (5,9,10)
  3. Photoreceptive organs made out of fossilized carbon (9)
  4. Sialia sialis have initiated migration (6,8,13,14)
  5. Bilateral inferior aspect of my ventricles (1)
  6. Perdix perdix in a Pyrus communis (13,20)
  7. My central incisors (10,31)

SOLUTION: Geller vs F Olafsson, 1969
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: Each line refers to a popular Christmas song: 1. The Christmas Song ("chestnuts roasting"), 2. Silver Bells ("silver bells"), 3. Frosty the Snowman ("two eyes made of coal"), 4. Winter Wonderland ("gone away is the bluebird"), 5. Feliz Navidad ("the bottom of my heart"), 6. The Twelve Days of Christmas ("partridge in a pear tree"), 7. All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth ("my two front teeth"). The numbers are indexes into the song names (be sure to use the full name) and will spell out "GELLER OLAFSSON".

clue #63: prize claimed by bix22!
Ho, ho, ho!

SOLUTION: Yifan Hou vs Wang Hao, 2010
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: The snowmen are using semaphore (as best they can) to communicate "HOU HAO".

clue #64: prize claimed by Domdaniel!

On behalf of the Chessgames crew, we wish you a healthful holiday: a heartfull of delightful beliefs and a bellyfull of food!

HINT: That jolly old elf...
HINT: Where are Santa's elves hiding?

SOLUTION: J Klavins vs Gipslis, 1957
PRIZE: A Four Month Free Subscription to
COMMENT: Some of the words in our farewell contain the letters E-L-F in order: behalf, healthful, delightful, beliefs, and bellyfull. If you then interpret the farewell as a binary digit, with 0's being ordinary words and 1's being "elf words", you get the solution game ID 1050724.


  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. 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 (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.) 1,700,000. So you don't have to examine all 10 million numbers, "only" about 700 thousand.
  5. 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.
  6. Starting last year, all clues will have titles. These titles may provide additional hints to help solve the problem, although some are red herrings.
  7. Some clues draw upon popular chess literature and anecdotes.
  8. 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.
  9. 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".)
  10. We like to pick games from collections, so don't rule out the Chess Game Collection Search as a solving method.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Many clues are intentionally misleading, in the spirit of crossword puzzles.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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:

  22. 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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