2008 Holiday Puzzler Answers And Winners!

2008 Holiday Puzzler Answers And Winners!

| 34 | Fun & Trivia

Here is what you've all been waiting for - the answers and winners of the Holiday Puzzler competition!

The standard of entries was incredibly high, so a BIG thank you to all members who submitted answers.

Where necessary, equal scores were put into a hat and drawn at random.  If you aren't among the winners on this occasion, do try again next time!

So without further delay, the prize winners are:

1st Prize: A year of Chess Mentor to Mathijs.
2nd Prize: A year of Gold Membership to Youngdude.
3rd Prize: A T-Shirt to icgraber.
4th-12th Prizes: 5 hours of Chess Mentor each to melee, peter2, rui10, OriginalMoxie, elam, girolamo, skros89, Stingray_j, Markarkrkk.

Congratulations to all the winners!  Many thanks once again to everyone for taking part.  We hope you enjoyed it!  Now, here are the answers...



1. Irishman Alexander McDonnell and Frenchman Louis Charles de la Bourdonnais played a famous series of matches in 1834 which, taken together, are often regarded as an unofficial world championship match.  La Bourdonnais won the match +45 -27 =13, but who sat by McDonnell’s side through all of the games recording the moves for posterity?

Answer:  William Greenwood Walker (1 point), the founder of the Westminster Chess Club, where the games were held.  

2. White to play and mate in ONE move.  Should be easy, right?  So you would think...What is the solution and which poet, writer and Irish Chess Champion composed many unusual chess problems, including the one below.  

Answer:  This puzzle seems impossible until you realise that Black's last move had to be pawn from f7 to f5, which means that the answer is g5xf6 en passant, checkmate! (1 point).  The clever composer of the problem was Lord Dunsany (1 point) a.k.a. Edward Plunkett.

3. Which brilliant Soviet player coached both Boris Spassky and Anatoly Karpov, and had a lifetime plus score in serious games against the world champions Botvinnik (+4 -1 =7), Smyslov (+11 -9 =33), Petrosian (+5 -3 =34) and Fischer (+5 -3 =2).

Answer. Efim Geller (1 point).

4.  Name the talented young girls meeting the President and First Lady... 

Answer: From left to right they are, Susan Polgar (1 point), Judit Polgar (1 point) and Sofia Polgar (1 point).

5. Which of these is NOT a recognized chess opening?

  • The Frankenstein-Dracula Opening
  • The Monkey's Bum
  • The Abracadabra Opening
  • The Orangutan

Answer: The Abracadabra Opening is not a recognized chess opening (1 point).

6. White to play and mate in 2.  Which unofficial World Chess Champion composed this problem, and what is the solution? 

Answer: Paul Morphy composed the problem (1 point).  The correct key move is 1. Ra6 (1 point) and the full solution is 1.Ra6 bxa6 (1...B anywhere 2. Rxa7#) 2.b7# (1 point)

7.  The world governing body for chess is called FIDE.  In which year and in which city was it founded?  

Answer: 1924 (1 point), Paris (1 point).

8. Who are these two beautiful ladies, and what is their connection to chess?

Answer: Left is Aruna Anand (1 point), right is Marie-Laure Germon (1 point) and they are the wives of Vishy Anand and Vladimir Kramnik respectively (1 point).

9.  An unusual puzzle.  White to play and FORCE black to checkmate HIM in just 2 moves.  

Answer: 1. Re1 e5 (1...exd5 2.Ne2 g1=any piece #) 2. Be2 e4#.  (1 point).  Most of the discussion in the comments was about question 2, but this question was much harder and very few got it right.  It's important to realise that White has to FORCE black to checkmate him, whether he wants to or not!

10. Which former world champion famously said 'I don't believe in psychology, I believe in good moves.' 

Answer: Bobby Fischer (1 point).

11. Who is this well-known chess blogger and commentator? 

Answer: Mig Greengard (1 point), author of the Daily Dirt chess blog.  Wrong answers included SonofPearl (I'm flattered, but I'm not in his league!) and more than one entrant thought it was my friend and popular chess blogger Waldemar (I can see the resemblance!)

12. We now know him as Garry Kasparov, but what was Garry's name when he was born? 

Answer: Garry Weinstein (1 point).  When Garry was 12 he adopted the surname Kasparov, a 'Russified' version of his mother's Armenian surname, Kasparyan.

13. Who am I?  Born near St. Petersburg in 1850, I learnt to play chess at the relatively late age of 16.  I played twice for the world championship, but lost out both times.  One of my most impressive performances was at the 1895 Hastings tournament, where I finished ahead of Wilhelm Steinitz and Emanuel Lasker.

Answer:  Mikhail Chigorin (1 point).

14. The James Bond film 'From Russia With Love' features a famous chess scene in which the fictional Kronsteen (pictured below) wins an important game.  But what is the name of his equally fictional opponent and who are the REAL players who played the game on which the position in the film is based? 

Answer: The fictional opponent was called MacAdams (1 point) and the real-life players were Boris Spassky (1 point) and David Bronstein (1 point).  A clip of the scene is here.

15. What does the chess term 'Zwischenzug' mean?

Answer: An 'in-between move' (1 point). Instead of playing an expected move, such as a capture, a player interposes another move to create a threat which must be answered first, and only then plays the expected move.

16. Who played white in the following game, featuring a rarely seen and picturesque tactic from moves 40 to 44 in which a knight chases a rook back and forth until a pawn is won?  

Answer: Jose Capablanca (1 point) had the white pieces against Frederick Yates in this game from 1924.

17. Who holds the record for consecutive victories in top-level chess games and how many games in a row did he win? 

Answer: As some entrants rightly pointed out, this question was slightly ambiguous, since the answer could depend on how exactly you define 'top-level' chess games.  Therefore I accepted either Wilhelm Steinitz (1 point) who won 25 games in a row (1 point) in the 19th century, OR Bobby Fischer (1 point) who won 20 games (1 point) in a row (including one by default) in the early 1970's.

18. What is the name of this award-winning author, who published a popular book on the history of chess in 2006?

Answer: David Shenk (1 point), author of "The Immortal Game".

19. Which Grandmaster became World Champion before he became the Soviet Champion?

Answer: Anatoly Karpov (1 point)

20. Who became US Women's Chess Champion in 2008 after winning a controversial armageddon blitz game with her opponent? 

Answer: Anna Zatonskih (1 point)


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