Christmas Chess Quiz

Test your knowledge of chess with our festive quiz. We had a quiz night at the club on 19 December and the winning team got 12/20. See if you can do better. Answers at the bottom. No cheating!

  1. Forty-two years ago, Garry Kasparov won the world junior chess championship ahead of several players with bright futures ahead of them. Which of the following players finished in second place?

(a) Silvio Danailov, future manager of Veselin Topalov
(b) Nigel Short, future world championship challenger
(c) Yasser Seirawan, future US chess champion
(d) Ken Rogoff, future Harvard economist

  1. During his brief career, Paul Morphy defeated all of the following chess greats one after the other EXCEPT:

(a) Adolf Andersson
(b) Louis Paulsen
(c) Jules Arnous de Rivière
(d) Howard Staunton

  1. Which of these is the REAL title of a published book?

(a) Disney’s Chess Guide by Anatoly Karpov
(b) Fail at Chess with Putin by Garry Kasparov
(c) Vegetarian Chess by Viswanathan Anand
(d) Howling at the Moon by Vassily Ivanchuk

  1. Which of the following grandmasters is the only one to have NOT won both the World junior chess championship and the world chess championship?

(a) Boris Spassky
(b) Viktor Korchnoi
(c) Garry Kasparov
(d) Viswanathan Anand

  1. The Elo rating system was featured in the plot of which of the following Oscar-nominated films?

(a) Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
(b) The King’s Speech
(c) The Social Network
(d) Parasite

  1. The Fide logo is:

(a) A red-and-black chessboard surrounded by Olympic rings
(b) A black-and-white chequered hexagon
(c) A white knight on an oval black or blue globe
(d) A black king in front of a blue or white shield

  1. This chess-related item sold for $150,000 in a September 2009 auction:

(a) The chess set used in the film The Seventh Seal
(b) A scoresheet signed by Kasparov and Karpov from an exhibition match in Spain.
(c) The original manuscript for Aron Nimzowitsch’s My System
(d) A copy of Wilhelm Steinitz’s will

  1. In which of these chess variants would you try to lose all your pieces?

(a) Crazyhouse
(b) Atomic chess
(c) Antichess
(d) Bughouse

  1. In April 2011, Viswanathan Anand achieved something that has happened to only five world champions. He:

(a) Won a Chess Oscar
(b) Lost a classical game in under 20 moves
(c) Achieved a positive head-to-head record against all his previous match opponents
(d) Became a father

  1. True or false: It is a Fide rule that the king must be taller than every other piece.

(a) True
(b) False

  1. Which of these was NOT an official rule for the 2008 Anand-Kramnik world championship match?

(a) The arbiter declares a time forfeiture
(b) A player will be forfeited if he makes multiple illegal moves in a game
(c) The players must recite the FIDE pledge at the opening ceremony
(d) The players do not have to write down moves

  1. Complete this quote from Capablanca in his book A Primer of Chess: A time limit of “between 20 and 30 moves per hour is …”

(a) “Suitable only for beginners”
(b) “A fairly slow speed”
(c) “Much too fast for proper study”
(d) “The correct pace for correct chess”

  1. In a 1992 tournament, GM Lev Psakhis accomplished something that has never been equalled:

(a) He defeated all four semi-finalists of the Candidates tournament
(b) He defeated both Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov
(c) He defeated all three Polgár sisters
(d) He played 1052 moves over nine rounds

  1. In 2015, this player was caught using a smartphone hidden in the player-only bathrooms to cheat against Armenian grandmaster Tigran Petrosian at the Dubai Open:

(a) Stephen Moss
(b) Gaioz Nigalidze
(c) Borislav Ivanov
(d) Sébastien Feller

  1. In July 2015 the Norwegian newspaper VG reported that Magnus Carlsen had:

(a) Signed for Real Madrid
(b) earned $6.6 million in the first half of the decade
(c) received 493 marriage proposals
(d) met all three Kardashian sisters

  1. When was the first official Fide ratings system introduced?

(a) 1966
(b) 1974
(c) 1971
(d) 1972

  1. What is greatest in number?

(a) All atoms in the universe
(b) Possible games of chess
(c) Stars in the Milky Way
(d) People on the planet

  1. Which former Soviet player once got into a drunken fight over a woman at a bar in Havana, and missed the first five rounds of the 1966 Chess Olympiad because of his injuries. He was:

(a) Mikhail Tal
(b) Vasily Smyslov
(c) Viktor Korchnoi
(d) Boris Spassky

  1. What was Magnus Carlsen’s FIDE rating at 11 years old?

(a) 1645
(b) 2536
(c) 900
(d) 2127

  1. During this well-known world championship match, a blueberry yoghurt delivered to one of the players became a controversial point of contention.

(a) Karpov v Kasparov, 1984
(b) Kasparov v Short, 1993
(c) Topalov v Kramnik, 1995
(d) Karpov v Korchnoi, 1978


  1. (b) Nigel Short
  2. (d) Howard Staunton. In 1858 Morphy travelled to the UK to play Staunton, but Staunton kept delaying the match and it never took place
  3. (a) Disney’s Chess Guide by Anatoly Karpov
  4. (b) Viktor Korchnoi
  5. (c) The Social Network. In one scene in the film, Eduardo Saverin shows Mark Zuckerberg “the algorithm used to rank chess players”
  6. (c) A white knight on an oval black or blue globe
  7. (a) The chess set used in the film The Seventh Seal
  8. (c) Antichess, also known as “losing chess” and “suicide chess”
  9. (d) Became a father. On 9 April 2011, Anand and his wife Aruna’s first child was born, a son named Akhil
  10. (b) False. The Fide Handbook says only that the king should be about 3.75 inches tall, and the other pieces “should be proportionate in their height and form”
  11. (c) The players must recite the Fide pledge at the opening ceremony. At the time there was no such thing as a Fide opening pledge, and, even when there was, no one has ever been forced to recite it
  12. (b) “A fairly slow speed”
  13. (c) He defeated all three Polgar sisters. During a 1992 tournament in Aruba, Psakhis beat Judit Polgár with White in round five, Susan Polgár with Black in round eight, and Sofia Polgár with White in round nine
  14. (b) Gaioz Nigalidze, who received a three-year ban and had to forfeit his grandmaster title following an investigation
  15. (b) Earned $6.6 million in the first half of the decade, more than any other chess player over that period
  16. (c) 1971
  17. (b) Possible games of chess
  18. (a) Mikhail Tal, who was notorious for his affinity with alcohol. Tal and Korchnoi were reportedly in a bar when the former was hit over the head with a bottle by the jealous boyfriend of a woman Tal was dancing with
  19. (d) 2127
  20. (d) Karpov v Korchnoi, 1978. After the yoghurt was delivered to Karpov, Korchnoi’s camp alleged that the flavour of the yoghurt (blueberry) was a secret signal from Karpov’s seconds