2010 Holiday Puzzler Answers and Winners

2010 Holiday Puzzler Answers and Winners

| 35 | Misc

How well did you do in the 2010 Holiday Puzzler?

There were 20 chess related questions, and a total of 32 marks to earn, but how many did you answer correctly?

Despite the questions being harder this year, the standard of entries was still incredibly high, and would like to say a very BIG thank you to everyone who took part. 

So here are the results you've been waiting for! Five entries received full marks, and a further three members missed just one mark!  The number of prizes has been increased to eleven so that everyone who scored 30 or above wins a prize.

Tied scores were broken by a random draw.

First prize: One year Diamond membership, plus t-shirt to wanderingwinder (32)
Second prize: One year Platinum membership, plus t-shirt to Benws (32)
Third prize: One year Gold membership, plus t-shirt to peter2 (32) and Natalia _Pogonina (32)
Fourth prize: One month Diamond Membership, plus t-shirt to robrib2000 (32)
Fifth-Eleventh prize: One month Diamond Membership to NCKChess (31), Eiwob (31) , stingray0104 (31), Bohan97 (30), gladnost (30), AnuragKesarwani (30).

If you are one of the winners, then congratulations! will be in touch with you shortly to arrange for you to receive your prize.  If you just missed out please don't despair, there is always next year!  Anyone who is still unsure of their score after reading the answers, just send me a message and I'll let you know.


1. An easy one to start! Name all the chess grandmasters that have achieved an official FIDE rating above 2800 Elo. They are Garry Kasparov, Magnus Carlsen, Veselin Topalov, Vladimir Kramnik, Viswanathan Anand and Levon Aronian (1 mark if you got them all right)A few entries missed out Lev Aronian, who only recently passed the 2800 Elo mark on the November 2010 rating list.


2. Here is the position from the end of a game where white checkmated black.  What were the last 3 moves played? (white's move, black's reply and then white's checkmate move). This seems like an impossible final position unless you realise that the checkmate move was made en passant! 1 mark for the full solution.



3. Who are the following grandmasters, and what chess event in 2010 links them all together? This question proved to be one of the hardest, and with a mark each for the players and a mark for the connection it was a crucial one to get right. Clockwise from the top left they are: Suyra Ganguly, Peter Heine Nielsen, Radoslaw Wojtaszek and Rustam Kasimdzhanov. They were all official 'seconds' of Vishy Anand in his 2010 world championship match with Veselin Topalov.

1.jpg 2.png
4.jpg 3.jpg


4. One for the mathematicians now. In how many different ways can a standard chess set and board be set up with the correct opening position for a normal game of chess? This was another tricky question which baffled some members. If we start with the white rooks, then they can be arranged in two ways (one must go on a1 and the other on h1 or vice versa). Similarly, there are two ways to arrange the white knights and the white bishops. The King and Queen are fixed. Then there are 8*7*6*5*4*3*2*1 ways to arrange the white pawns. Exactly the same applies to black's pieces, and don't forget that the board can also be rotated 180 degrees!

So mathematically speaking there are (2*2*2*8!)*(2*2*2*8!)*2 ways to set up the board in the standard position = 208,089,907,200 ways (1 hard earned mark).

If there were board markings (a-h,1-8) then the answer would be half that given above, but credit was only given for this answer if the reasoning of having board markings was explained.


5. Who am I? Born in 1933, my father was a renowned geneticist. Both my brothers also achieved great distinction in the scientific world, but despite earning a PhD in psychology I became better known for my amateur chess career.  Winning my national championship a record number of times, I also competed in eight Olympiads between 1952 and 1970, winning a silver medal on two occasions.  Jonathan Penrose (1 point).


6. Can you identify the players in the following game, which won a Best Game prize at a tournament during 2010? White was Hikaru Nakamura and Black was Yuri Shulman (1 point for each player). The game took place at the 2010 US Championships. The prize was sponsored by


7. Despite producing some great chess, the FIDE 2008/10 Grand Prix series suffered because of rule changes during the competition.  Which two grandmasters dropped out in protest? Magnus Carlsen and Michael Adams (1 mark each).


8. This abstract chess set made the news this year. Who designed it and how much does it cost? Artist Barbara Kruger (1 point) designed this talking chess set, which would set you back $30,000 (another point).


9. Vishy Anand successfully defended his world title against Veselin Topalov earlier this year in Sofia.  But what was the name of the volcano that erupted and spewed ash over European airspace, halting flights and delaying the start of the match? (correct spelling required!) Eyjafjallajökull (1 point).


10. Oh dear. The anagrams below have gone slightly wrong because one extra letter was included in each by accident (oops! Wink).  Can you still unscramble the anagrams to find the names of three famous chess players?  (1 point for each)


11. Who is this smartly dressed gentleman? He was the great Andor Lilienthal (1 point) who passed away in 2010 aged 99.


12. The Armenian Lev Aronian won the World Blitz Championship in Moscow this year, but which two rivals at the event decided that 38 rounds of blitz were not enough and played a friendly blitz match against one another into the early hours of the morning? Magnus Carlsen and Hikaru Nakamura (1 point each). These crazy guys played around 40 blitz games against one another into the small hours of the morning.  The result of the informal match is not known, but some video footage is available...


13. What is the best move for white in this position? The key to this question was to realise that because the white King and Queen are on the 'wrong' squares and could not have moved, then contrary to appearances white is playing down the board, and black up. The best move for white is therefore Nxc3 checkmate! (1 point)


14. Who is the most successful tournament player in history, winning more major chess tournaments than any other player? Anatoly Karpov (1 point) is widely recognized as the most successful tournament player in history with over 160 tournament wins.


15. Which player hurt his back during the early stages of a tournament in 1985, but completed the event by playing his remaining games lying prone on a medical table? The late Tony Miles (1 point) at Tilburg in 1985. He finished joint first!

Anthony Miles, Tilburg 1985.JPG


16. This unassuming gentleman is an amateur player, so why is he famous in the chess world? Another tough question...the full picture gives the game away, with the gentleman's son on the right. Henrik Carlsen is Magnus Carlsen's father and manager (1 point).

Henrik Carlsen and Magnus Carlsen.jpg


17. Can you solve this fun selfmate chess problem?  It's WHITE's turn to move and he must force BLACK to checkmate HIM in three moves. A tricky puzzle, so well done if you worked it out! The key move is 1.Qd3 (1 point).  You needed to give the full variations (for another point) depending on how black promotes his pawn.



18. In which novel from the 1920's is a chess player electrocuted while playing a game? The story is called "The Chess Problem" by Agatha Christie which was also published as part of her novel "The Big Four" (1 point for either title). The poor player was murdered when he played his favourite opening, the Ruy Lopez. Moving the bishop to square b5 on the third move connected an electrical circuit which killed him. The moral is to vary your opening repertoire...Wink

19. Which famous Grandmaster won the national championships of the Soviet Union, Netherlands and Switzerland? Viktor Korchnoi (1 point)


20. Who are the two protagonists from this unusual game in 1968? The players are Marcel Duchamp (1 point) and John Cage (1 point) at the Toronto Arts Festival in 1968. The chess squares were connected to electrical switches which either turned on or off musical instruments being played.  It's art, you know...Wink

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