2009 Holiday Puzzler!

2009 Holiday Puzzler!

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Welcome to the 2009 Holiday Puzzler!

To keep you entertained over the holiday season, why not try our fun chess quiz?  How many of the 20 chess related questions can you answer correctly?

There should be something for everyone, and you don't need to be a Grandmaster to have a go!

But don't forget, this is a prize competition so...

Don't answer in the comments! 

Instead, send your answers to and you could win one of the fabulous prizes below!

First prize: One year Diamond membership, plus t-shirt
Second prize: One year Platinum membership, plus t-shirt
Third prize: One year Gold membership, plus t-shirt
Fourth prize: t-shirt
Fifth-Tenth prize: One month Diamond Membership

So what are you waiting for?  Get puzzling, and send in your answers as soon as possible to the email address above.  Please include your username with your answers, so we know who you are!  Only one entry per member, so think carefully before you send your answers in - changes are not allowed!

Entries will be accepted up to and including 31 December 2009, and the winners will be announced early in the new year.  Good luck, and happy 2010!

THE CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED! The answers and winners are given here.


1. In which year was the first international chess tournament held, and who won the event?

2. Can you solve this fun selfmate chess problem?  It's WHITE's turn to move and he must force BLACK to checkmate HIM in four moves.


3. Can you unscramble the following anagrams to find the names of five famous chess players?

  • Violent Love Spa
  • Savvy Silica Hunk
  • Auto Adrenal Sex Kink
  • Devour Major Bait
  • Drank Milk Via Rim


4. Name this famous chess player, coach and author of instructional chess books for amateurs.



5. What creation of designer Charles Eames played a part in a famous match for the world chess championship?


6. Who am I?  Born in Brooklyn, I twice won the New York State Championships and during my career defeated Harry Pillsbury and Frank Marshall.  I am also regarded as one of the most important chess journalists in history, writing a regular chess column for over 50 years.


7. In the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, the astronaut Frank Poole plays - and loses - a game of chess with the ship's computer HAL.  The moves of the game (see below) were actually based on a real game, but which German master played the black pieces?




8. Which brilliant Soviet chess champion said, "The most powerful weapon in chess is to have the next move".


9. Can you identify these five chess players from their nicknames?

  • The Pride and Sorrow of Chess
  • The Chess Machine
  • The Tiger of Madras
  • The Beast of Baku
  • The Surgeon


10. Who are the players portrayed in this absorbing work of fantasy chess art?




11. Which brilliant player defeated Capablanca, Lasker and Alekhine in the first tournament matches that he played against them, but never faced any of them in a match for the world title?


12. Can you solve the following beautiful composed problem?  White to play and force checkmate in just three moves.


13. The great Mikhail Tal had an attractive attacking style that gave him a positive score against many of his illustrious opponents.  However, he had great trouble with one particular opponent, whose style was very different to his own.   A fellow player summed up the difference:  "X's style is Tal's style, as though turned inside out.  Tal always strives to seize the initiative, whereas X is ready to concede it without regret.  Tal likes to attack, X to defend."   Who is the mysterious player X?


14.  Name the Grandmaster keeping warm in the stylish hat.



15. What is the name of the International Chess Master and prolific writer who made a famous bet in 1968 that no computer program would beat him in a chess match within 10 years?  And, did he win the bet?


16.  After just four moves of a crazy chess game, the position shown below was reached.  But what were the first four moves of the game to get to this position?  


17. In the days before time restrictions were imposed on chess player's deliberations, games could be interminably long.  Who said, "The slowness of genius is hard to bear, but the slowness of mediocrity is intolerable!"


18. This man probably played chess against more people than anyone else during 2009, but who is he?



19. Who was the first American to win a world chess championship of any kind?


20. These famous and remarkable chess pieces are part of a set which dates from the 12th century, but what are they known as? 

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