2011 Holiday Puzzler Answers and Winners

  • SonofPearl
  • on 1/3/12, 1:42 PM.

Many thanks to all the Chess.com members who entered the 2011 Chess.com Holiday Puzzler.

There were 20 chess related questions, and a total of 28 marks to earn, but how many did you answer correctly?

There were a few really tricky questions this year but the standard of entries was still excellent, so a very BIG thanks to everyone who took part - I'm amazed at the amount of effort that Chess.com members put into their answers!

So with no more delay, here are the results and answers you've been waiting for! No-one had full marks this time, but each and every question was answered correctly by at least one member! I'll have to make it even harder next year! Wink

Tied scores were broken by a random draw.

First prize: One year Diamond membership, plus t-shirt to keeganomahoney (24)
Second prize: One year Platinum membership, plus t-shirt to allo_st (24)
Third prize: One year Gold membership, plus t-shirt to JustinLuti (24)
Fourth prize: One month Diamond Membership, plus t-shirt to NCKChess (23)
Fifth-Fourteenth prize: One month Diamond Membership to Minihat (22), sccizm (22), Lions (21), NEWLINE (21), Emasada (20), peter2 (20), procras (20), t1993r (20), tarnowski (20), xiko92 (20).

Congratulations if you are one of the winners! Chess.com will arrange for you to receive your prize soon.

If you just missed out don't despair, you might have better luck next year! Happy New Year!


1. As usual, we have an easy question to start. Chess.com is the biggest and best chess community on the internet, but when was it launched? Exact date please! Not so easy after all! This proved to be one of the hardest questions, with only four entries getting the exact date. Chess.com opened its doors to the public on the 18th May 2007 (1 point)

2. After black's fourth move in a crazy chess game, the following position was reached.  What were the moves of the game? This was a tricky puzzle, so well done to everyone who got it right! (1 point)

3. Hero or villain? This person caused a storm at a chess event this year, but can you name him? This question proved to be the hardest of them all, with just ONE correct answer received!  It's actor, Egghead and president of the English Chess Federation, CJ de Mooi (1 point). He's pictured here in a pantomime costume. He caused a storm at the 2011 British Chess Championships when he was prevented from presenting the awards at the closing ceremony due to his wearing a gay-rights slogan T-shirt.



4. Who am I? I learned to play chess at the age of six, and became a Grandmaster at 18 years of age. I have won my senior national chess title 6 times, and my peak Elo rating is 2765. I have also achieved great success in Chess960 events. A family man, I enjoy reading and listening to music, especially Bob Dylan. Peter Svidler (1 point)

5. Can you identify the player with the black pieces in the game below, pulling out a crucial 2011 tournament win with victory in the last round? It was Humpy Koneru (1 point), winning the Doha Women's Grand Prix to earn the right to challenge Hou Yifan for the women's world championship title.

6. Exactly how many member federations are there currently in FIDE, and which continent has the most FIDE member federations? This question tripped up a lot of people. The member federations of FIDE are listed at their website here. If you count them all up there are 174 in total (1 point), with Europe (1 point) having the most with 54.  The Wikipedia entry for FIDE (which gives 158) is not up-to-date!


7. The eyes have it...can you name these chess players? Another difficult question, with only six members correctly identifying Chess.com's Danny Rensch (left, 1 point) and David Pruess (right, 1 point). Wrong guesses for Danny included Garry Kasparov, Leinier Dominguez and 4 for Ian Nepomniachtchi. Wrong answers for David included 3 for Luke McShane and a staggering 9 for Ruslan Ponomariov! Cool

Xmasquiz2011 eyes_1.jpg Xmasquiz2011eyes_B.jpg


8. "I know you to be a sportsman and a gentleman, and I am looking forward to some exciting chess games with you." Who wrote these words to a reigning world chess champion shortly before challenging him for the title?  Bobby Fischer (1 point) in a letter to Boris Spassky before their 1972 match.


9. Can you name the Grandmaster playing white and the amateur playing black in this casual game from 2011? Another very difficult question, with only one person getting it completely right. The answer is Garry Kasparov as white (1 point) playing Financial Times journalist Charles Clover (1 point). Online article link here. One member's not entirely serious guess of "Kasparov v Me" earned them a single point!


10. Which chess Grandmaster abandoned the game for a very successful career in Economics, working initially for the International Monetary Fund, and is currently employed as Professor of Economics at an Ivy League University? Kenneth Rogoff (1 point), the current Professor of Economics at Harvard University.


11. Which world chess title challenger had yogis known as Didi and Dada in his entourage, and what were their real names?  It was world title challenger Viktor Korchnoi (1 point) and their real names were Stephen Dwyer (1 point) and Viktoria Shepherd (1 point).


12. Can you name this Grandmaster, and at what event in 2011 was this photo taken?  The Grandmaster is Gata Kamsky (1 point), sporting a very short haircut at the Candidates matches in Kazan (1 point). The photo is actually a screenshot from the live coverage of that event,which was used in this article. The St.Louis Chess Club ring was a big clue!



13. Which tournament was the last that Garry Kasparov played in before announcing his retirement? Linares (1 point) in 2005.


14. While wandering past the boards at your local chess club, you notice this position on the board of a finished game. What was the last move played? The last move had to be the black King at b4 taking a white Knight at a3 (1 point). You needed to specify that a knight was taken to get the point.


15. Who invented the first pocket chess set? Dr. Peter Mark Roget (1 Point) of Roget's Thesaurus fame.


16. Can you name the chess wife and daughter in the picture? It is Marie Laure Kramnik (1 point), wife of Vladimir Kramnik, with their daughter Daria (1 point). The photo is one of the many excellent photos by Ray-Morris Hill at the 2011 London Chess Classic.

Question 16.jpg


17. It's not everyday that a Grandmaster loses to someone rated more than 500 points below him in a regular tournament game. Can you name the Grandmaster having a bad day with black in this game from 2011? It was Eduardas Rozentalis (1 point) (2575 Elo) losing to G Kwossek (2003 Elo) at the 2011 Bavarian Open.


18. Who am I? Born in 1996, I scored my first major tournament win in 2006 with a 6/6 score. In 2008 I won for the first time against a Grandmaster, and qualified as an International Master by the age of 12.  I was first reserve for my national team at the 2010 Olympiad, but decided to quit chess for Mathematics aged just 15. Oh, and my older cousin plays soccer for Manchester United! It was Kiprian Berbatov (1 point) pictured below. His cousin is Dimitar Berbatov.



19. Which brilliant final move enabled a future world chess champion to win an exhibition game in time for him to visit the Bolshoi Theatre in 1914? The famous move was Qb2!! (1 point) played by Capablanca against Ossip Bernstein in Moscow.


20. And finally, this position once featured on the silver screen during the time that Alexander Alekhine was the world champion. Which film, and what move is played next? The position appeared in the Betty Boop cartoon "Chess Nuts" (1 point), shown below. The next move played was Bxf7 (1 point), although the image of the board is reversed. The film editor obviously wasn't a chessplayer!


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  • 5 years ago


    Good contest for CHESScom members!

  • 5 years ago


    Haha--I didn't type out an entry this year b/c I was strapped for time, but I THOUGHT DAVID PRUESS WAS ALEXANDER GRISCHUK xD

    Just out of curiosity, was there anyone else who guessed Grischuk for David Pruess?

    Oh yeah, and I got Kamsky right (although I wasn't sure which event--I was guessing the US Championship)

  • 5 years ago


    Ok thanks

  • 5 years ago


    @ keeganomahoney - patzer24 should be in touch with you regarding your prize. If you don't hear anything soon, get in touch with him.

  • 5 years ago

    GM SultanOfKings

    #7 was brilliant - I too thought Danny was Nepo

  • 5 years ago


    Not trying to be impatient, but just wondering, when do we get our prizes?

  • 5 years ago


    @ peter2 - yes, the Wikipedia link is even further out-of-date as I said myself. The FIDE website is current.

  • 5 years ago


    lol, your link is from 2008 

  • 5 years ago


    Thanks to everyone that entered, and congratulations to all those who won a prize!

    @ peter2 - I'm glad the answers were hard to find using Google - that's what I hoped!  Btw - the FIDE link you give is from 2009, so it's out of date.

  • 5 years ago


    Who is here the villain?

    ad 1.Not easy at all , how can we find perpetual check may 2010?

    ad 3.When you google CJ de Mooi you don't find the picture. Why is he a villain?

    ad 6.170 members according the Fide http://www.fide.com/fide/fide-world-chess-federation.html

    ad 7. Misguided by the properties at the pictures. False names pop-up. Nothing is real,what can you trust nowadays?

    ad 8. I found this http://blog.chess.com/Annabelle/garry-kasparov-on-vladimir-putin-and-why-chess-is-simpler-than-politics  Pity no notation of the game.

    ad 12. You have to google on Kamsky ring to find the picture. St Louis leads you in the wrong direction.

    ad 16. Still can not find the picture while googling the names.

    ad 17. Amazing how many GM's have a offday

    ad 20. What a mess. I subsided it first.

  • 5 years ago


    yeah thank you for the prize... i hope will coming soon :)

    e.g. my bad answers were

    1. 19.5.2007

    6. 173 and 53

    14. Ka3 (obviously i ve known that there were knight on a3)

    20. i ve almost searched everything here but skipped chess nuts because i ve thought that cartoon is nonsense

  • 5 years ago


    I did not know even a single answer - I could guess Bobby Fischer and I could have also chanced with Kasparov vs me!

  • 5 years ago


    Thank you "SonofPearl" for very nice puzzler and thank you chess.com for every moment of being here.

  • 5 years ago


    This was one HELL of a tough quiz.

  • 5 years ago


    I'm now very grateful that I've seen Eggheads before and have seen other photos of CJ deMooi online and on TV as that 1 point turned out to be very important!

  • 5 years ago


    Thanks SonofPearl for a great quiz, and looks like all my research paid off so I'd like to say thanks to chess.com for my prize!

  • 5 years ago


    WOW 2nd prize... Geez ty for this holliday puzzler!

  • 5 years ago

    NM flashboy2222


  • 5 years ago


    It was very difficult and took a lot of research. Next year I will just go out and work a job for a day instead of spend 8 hours searching for answers. That would quickly earn me enough cash for a membership :)


    haha of course that would take away all the chess related fun of the quiz.

  • 5 years ago


    Congrats to SonOfPearl for this awesome contest and for all the winners! Thank you for the prize Cool

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