2012 Holiday Puzzler Answers and Winners

  • SonofPearl
  • on 4/1/13 6:13.

xmas_tree_animated.jpgMany thanks to all the Chess.com members who entered the 2012 Chess.com Holiday Puzzler!

There were 18 chess related questions, and a total of 29 marks to earn, but how many did you answer correctly?

As always the standard of entries was excellent, so a very big THANK YOU to everyone who took part.  Special praise is due to those who worked out the answer to question 5 by themselves!

So with no more delay, here are the results and answers you've been waiting for!  I thought the puzzler was harder this year, but three members got all the questions right! 

Tied scores were broken by a random draw.

First prize: One year Diamond membership, plus t-shirt to t1993r (29) and also mottsauce* (29)
Second prize: One year Platinum membership, plus t-shirt to sisu (29)
Third prize: One year Gold membership, plus t-shirt to mayhaps (28)
Fourth prize: One month Diamond Membership, plus t-shirt to ildolphino (28)
Fifth-Fourteenth prize: One month Diamond Membership to OnTheTop (27), NCKChess (27), h0w2pl4y (26), calsal (26), Lions (26), RSQ2 (26), Emasada (26), Z10000 (26), FallingUp (26), SKiWaLkeR* (26).

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

If you just missed out don't despair, you might have better luck next year! Have a great 2013 at Chess.com!

1. A major new chess tournament in 2012 experimented with the re-introduction of adjournments.  What was the name of the tournament and who was the winner? The tournament was the ACP Golden Classic (1 point) in July 2012 and Vassily Ivanchuk (1 point) was the winner.

2. Who played the black pieces in this rapid game from 2012, beating world #1 Magnus Carlsen? The person defeating the world's highest-ever ranked chessplayer was Jon Ludvig Hammer (1 point) at the NTG Grand Prix in December 2012.

3. Can you name this chess Grandmaster pictured at a tournament in 2012? This proved to be one of the trickier questions! The mystery man was GM Luke McShane (1 point) photographed by Ray Morris-Hill at the 2012 London Chess Classic.

Luke McShane blurred by Ray Morris-Hill.jpg

Luke McShane in full focus

Luke McShane 2012 LCC Opening Ceremony by Ray Morris-Hill.jpg

4. What was the price of a ticket to the 2012 Istanbul Chess Olympiad's Bermuda party? Not as hard a question as I thought it would be! The price was 20 Turkish Lira (1 point) for men, but women got in free.  Party on!

Bermuda Party 2012 Olympiad resized.jpg

5. After six moves of a very strange chess game, the position below has been reached.  Can you work out the moves of the game (6 moves for both players)? This was a tough composed problem by Joost de Heer.  Very well done if you worked it out! (1 point for the full solution)

6. Which Grandmaster broke the record for appearances at chess Olympiads when he represented his country for the 21st time at the 2012 competition in Istanbul? The record-breaking GM was Eugenio Torre (1 point) who represented the Philippines for the 21st time at the 2012 Olympiad

Record-breaker Eugenio Torre

2012 Olympiad Eugenio Torre rd6.JPG

7. My pesky MS Word document has auto-corrected these famous chess players names! Can you work out who they are? Another tricky question, especially part d! 1 point for each correct answer.

a) Gaga Kiosk - Gata Kamsky
b) Banish Girl - Anish Giri
c) Seeger Terrace - Siegbert Tarrasch
d) Ruin Life - Ruan Lufei
e) Limos Putsch - Lajos Portisch

8. This year Chess.com’s very own David Pruess and Danny Rensch moonlighted as chess consultants during the filming of a new movie.  What is the working title of the movie, and who was the big Hollywood star in the cast? The movie is called "Life of a King" (1 point) and the star is Cuba Gooding Jr. (1 point) pictured below with Danny and David!

Danny, David and Cuba Gooding Junior.jpg

9. Can you name these two cosmonauts taking time out to play a game of chess before their flight? They are Flight Engineer Tom Marshburn of NASA (left, 1 point) and Flight Engineer Chris Hadfield of the Canadian Space Agency (right, 1 point) pictured on 13 Dec 2012 as they prepared for the launch of the Soyuz TMA-07M spacecraft.

Question 9 pic.jpg

10. Name this player describing their emotions after a chess game..."When I lose, I'm in pain. It's not depression but a crappy why-am-I-so-dumb? feeling.  It passes quickly if I get away from the tournament hall and watch a movie, have a glass of wine, or spend time with friends who aren't in the chess world.  When I win, though, the glow stays with me." The second-hardest question of the quiz! The player is Jennifer Shahade (1 point) quoted by Paul Hoffman on page 226 of his book "King's Gambit". 

11. Judit Polgar wasn’t the only woman to play in the Open section at the 2012 Chess Olympiad in Istanbul. Which Georgian-born Grandmaster represented her adopted home country for the second time, having earned her final GM norm at the 2008 Olympiad in Dresden? The answer was Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant (1 point) representing her adopted country of Scotland.

Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant (photo: Wikipedia)

Arakhamia_grant_quiz answer 2012.jpg

12. So far Chess.com has staged 9 Death Matches, with the next due on 12th January between Parimarjan Negi and Alejandro Ramirez. But who has been the highest-rated Death Match player so far (by the current FIDE rating list)?  The death-match player with the highest rating on the (then) current rating list (December 2012) was Wesley So (1 point) with 2682 Elo.

13.The chess position below featured in a major Hollywood movie.  What was the name of the movie and what were the final moves of the game? The position was composed by Jeremy Silman for the movie Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (1 point, the US title "Sorcerer's Stone" was also acceptable). The full intended continuation is below as per Silman here (1 point).

14. Some say the best chess player in the world is the player ranked at #1 on FIDE’s official rating lists.  Others say that it is the world champion, by definition. Often this is the same player!  But have there been any official world champions since the inception of FIDE ratings (not counting the FIDE KO events) who were not ranked #1 at least once during their reign?  If so, who?  Another question which caused a few problems. There have been two world chess champions since the inception of official chess ratings by FIDE in 1970 who were never rated #1 during their reigns as champion. Boris Spassky (1 point) and Vladimir Kramnik (1 point). 

15. The position below is from a game played in 2012. Can you name the rising young star who was playing with the black pieces, and what was his stunning next move? The answer is Kayden Troff (1 point) who played the amazing 27...Re2!! (1 point) on his way to becoming the world under-14 champion!

16. When Vishy Anand successfully defended his world chess championship title in May this year there were grumblings about the number of draws in the match.  But which match of all the official world chess championship matches featured the fewest draws? The 1889 match between Wilhelm Steinitz and Mikhail Chigorin (1 point) lasted 17 games and only one game - the last one - was a draw! The 4-game final of the 2000 FIDE KO world chess championship between Vishy Anand and Alexei Shirov which featured only one draw was also an acceptable answer.

17. Who is this smiling man, and what is his most famous connection to chess? The toughest question of them all! Not many people recognised Diego Garces (1 point), who is probably best known as the husband of former women's world chess champion Alexandra Kosteniuk (1 point).

Diego Garces with Alexandra Kosteniuk (photo by Fred Lucas).

diego garces and alexandra kosteniuk.jpg


18. Who am I?  I started playing chess at 13 years of age after my older brother qualified for a Chess Olympiad.  Within 2 years I had won my national under-16 championship. Now aged 33, I am the highest ranked player in my country and recently earned my third GM norm at the 2012 Olympiad.  The answer was Kenny Solomon (1 point) of South Africa.

*Amended results for extra prizes (The first 4 entries were missed off my marking list!)

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  • hace 4 años


    @martn: Harry Potter 1 is the fifteenth highest grossing movie ever. I'm pretty sure that counts as a "Major Hollywood movie".

  • hace 4 años


    How is Harry Potter and the philosophers stone a major hollywood movie?

  • hace 4 años


    Diego is very very lucky indeed.

  • hace 4 años


    I spent hours over that puzzle. I eliminated the possibility of it being a two knights game, or a Pettroff's, and I was pretty sure it wasa Ross Gambit. I didn't think that Luke McShane one was that hard. I knew it right away.

  • hace 4 años


    Diego Garces is a lucky man :P

  • hace 4 años


    Very Very TOUGH!!!!!

  • hace 4 años


    I thought I did better, but I only got 24. 

    Missed 3, 7d, 10, and 14 (2 marks).

  • hace 4 años

    MI DanielRensch

    Man, this was tough!!!

  • hace 4 años


    Nice, there were some very tough questions. I started late but only answering the first five took me about an hour. But it was real fun to look up!

  • hace 4 años


    ohh wow thanks very much! And congratz to all winners :)

  • hace 4 años

    NM Petrosianic

    glad i didn't do the test [i didn't in part b/c time in part may be NM by the time my sub renews.] as i would have found 1-15 (including the Shahade quote - you can find it via google by gisting fragments of the quote, and i was familiar with it,  on another one, tom rendle had a blog on the bermuda party, and knew of Keti's origins as a result of the Chandler blog and as i was already familiar with Troff's and Hammer's wins and Ruan Lufei has attended UPitt... i know way too much about chess culture it seems and not nearly enough about the game!) surprisingly very easy, but 16-18 very difficult.  [16 if i was very lazy - tal-botvinnik 1961 had 3 draws [maybe 5 but i think it was 3], 17 i wonder if there is an image search, 18 hopefully would be found via past fide congresses or in pending norms.)

  • hace 4 años


    Ahh gutted I didn't get Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant...I was aware of who she was but then Nana Dzagnidze also got her 3rd norm in 2008 in Dresden, and she's also Georgian, so I thought for sure it would be her. Happy it didn't make much difference. The puzzle took ages of my time and I still didn't get it, it's brilliant. I thought it would be some cheeky bishop move too. The quote was basically impossible  to really get if you weren't aware of it. 

  • hace 4 años

    MI Kacparov

    I got something like 14 points having spent about 30 minutes on the quiz. Certainly such knowledge isn't one of my strengths :)

  • hace 4 años


    that's what i get for submitting my responses so early - thanks ryan!

  • hace 4 años


    I've just realised that the first 4 entries I received haven't been marked! Damn Outlook email!  There may be some revisons to the results posted shortly, but no-one will lose out on any prizes already announced.

  • hace 4 años


    Yay! 17 was really hard. I almost gave up. I got the answer 5 days before the deadline. Around that time for a week or so, the "Recent News" on the top right had the news "Karjakin and Kosteniuk Win the World Mind Games Blitz" with Kosteniuk's as its news thumbnail picture. On the 5th day of search, I decided to take a break on read up on what's going on with Kosteniuk. Lo and behold! a familiar face! Smile Thank you chess.com for this year's puzzle. It was fun! Laughing

  • hace 4 años


    No comments so far?

    That 6 move puzzle is pretty awesome I never would've gotten it well maybe in a few more yrs I would've but I gave up after umpteen attempts

    Seeing GM Torre set an OL record was also a nice bit of news, probably few people here know that he made the Candidates Quarter Final Matches in 1984 (losing to GM Ribli), he was the first Asian GM, and was Fischer's second in the 1992 "rematch" vs Spassky - among several other distinctions


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