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I’ve been trying to learn chess so I was googling chess strategies. When I saw an ad for “The Ultimate Chess Strategy,” I instantly followed it and put in my credit card number. A few days later I received a package from Australia. I opened it and found what looks like a children’s place mat from a family restaurant. Have I been had? What is the Ultimate Chess Strategy? enter image description here

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3 Answers 3

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A word search

This is a word search for the six piece names, with the twist that you read along the paths of the pieces; for instance, the queen starts in the lower right Q, then moves to the center U, then right to the E on the border...

piece movements
Interestingly, the pawn first moves two spaces forwards; then it moves diagonally (capturing another piece)... and then promotes to a knight to reach an N!

The leftover letters spell CHANCE.

reBus

As hinted by "elementary" in the flavortext, this is a rebus using chemical elements.

Element #66 is Dysprosium, Dy.
Element #99 is Einsteinium, Es.
Element #50 is Tin, Sn.

If we use the full name for Tin and the abbreviations for the two others, it spells out [D[Es][Tin]y], so the answer to this subpuzzle is DESTINY.

Crossword

This is a crossword; letters go in the white cells, with the starting and ending positions given for each clue.

crossword grid

The long diagonal doesn't get any clues, and the corner cells don't get checking from entries... but there's only one word it could be: BLESSING.

connect the Dots

This appears to be a "connecting wall", where the words should be divided up into four groups of four.

The groups (as found by Stiv in their answer) are:

Group 1: One letter away from a Peanuts character
PARTY (PATTY), SALTY (SALLY), SINUS (LINUS), SNOOTY (SNOOPY)

Group 2: Types of 'stroke' BUTTERFLY stroke, stroke of GENIUS, (at the) stroke of MIDNIGHT, SIDE stroke

Group 3: Initial letter can be changed to make a unit of currency
BOUND (POUND), COLLAR (DOLLAR), FROWN (CROWN), PRANK (FRANK)

Group 4: Animal noise missing first letter
(B)ARK, (O)INK, (R)OAR, (H)OWL


The word LUCK satisfies all four of these categories (LUCY, stroke of luck, BUCK, (C)LUCK). So LUCK is the answer to this subpuzzle.

Example

As hinted by "blindly" and "feel", the chess pieces are arranged in Braille, spelling out DREAMS.

the ultimeta chess strategy

Index into the puzzle answers using the given coordinates. For instance, c8 means "take the 8th letter of puzzle C's answer, BLESSING", so the first letter is G.

Doing this for all the coordinates tells us the "ultimate chess strategy"... GUESS AND CHECK, MATE.

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  • $\begingroup$ (Feel free to incorporate the Connecting Wall solution from my answer into yours so we have a complete solution...) $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Jun 1, 2022 at 21:58
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A word search:

We find the names of chess pieces by moving from letter to letter the same way that corresponding piece would move on a chessboard. Then we just look at the letters that were never stepped on, and they spell out the word CHANCE.

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reBus:

I looked up elements by their atomic number. 66 is Dysprosium [Ds], 99 is Einsteinium [Es], and 50 is Tin. Then [6 [99] [50] 6] spells out [D [Es] [Tin] y], or DESTINY.

Crossword:

Rook's alias: CASTLE
Horizontal row: RANK
Chess __ Svenska: PA
Footmen before horsemen: G PAWNS
Capture a piece or win a title: SNAG
King's rook in Spanish descriptive notation: TR

Phillips & Drew Kings finale __ Chess Challenge: GLC
Estonian bishop in English: SPEAR
A pawn may capture a pawn en __: PASSANT
Battle between black and red: ANTS WAR?
"Pioneer of the modern style of chess" Josef: KLING
Letters used to denote Knights: ENS

The solved puzzle is pictured below. I guessed that the answer to this puzzle would be a word that could be read down along the main diagonal from left to right, which would be BLESSING.

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connect the Dots:

SALT(L)Y, S(L)INUS, PAR(T)TY, SNOOT(P)Y: Peanuts characters with one letter changed.
GENIUS, BUTTERFLY, MIDNIGHT, SIDE: Strokes
O(E)AR, F(B)ROWN, B(H)OUND, P(F)RANK: Words related to "dog" when the first letter is changed?

Wasn't quite sure if this is right, or how to categorize the rest, but I'm guessing the word that unites them all is LUCKY.

EDIT: See @Stiv's answer here for a correct solution to this Connect Wall puzzle.

Example:

The pieces on the board form Braille characters which spell out the word DREAMS.

Putting it all together:

A word search: CHANCE
reBus: DESTINY
Crossword: BLESSING
connect the Dots: LUCKY
Example: DREAMS
C8 D2 A6 B3 C4 E4 B6 E1 D3 A2 C3 A5 D4, E5, A3 B4 E3#

Taking the appropriately-numbered letter from the answer to each lettered puzzle gives us GUESSANDCHECK,MATE. So what is the ultimate chess strategy? GUESS AND CHECK, MATE!

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  • $\begingroup$ I believe it should just be LUCK, not LUCKY - that would fit the categories better? $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi
    Jun 1, 2022 at 21:54
  • $\begingroup$ Aha, didn't spot this Connecting Wall attempt when posting my own, but I believe I have it solved :) (And I totally agree with two of your groups...) $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Jun 1, 2022 at 21:56
  • $\begingroup$ Ah, yes, you're both correct - I sensed I was close to solving the whole puzzle so I kind of rushed my way through the last few parts. @Stiv your solution for the Connecting Wall is clearly correct. $\endgroup$
    – SQLnoob
    Jun 1, 2022 at 21:58
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    $\begingroup$ Cool puzzle! It would have been much cooler if the last part chess moves are the actual moves to get a check mate, but I guess that's too hard, lol $\endgroup$
    – justhalf
    Jun 2, 2022 at 3:36
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To fill in the gap in @Deusovi's answer, here's the Connecting Wall solution to 'connect the Dots':

Group 1: One letter away from a Peanuts character
PARTY (PATTY), SALTY (SALLY), SINUS (LINUS), SNOOTY (SNOOPY)

Group 2: Connection with 'stroke'
BUTTERFLY stroke, stroke of GENIUS, (at the) stroke of MIDNIGHT, SIDE stroke

Group 3: Initial letter can be changed to make a unit of currency
BOUND (POUND), COLLAR (DOLLAR), FROWN (CROWN), PRANK (FRANK)

Group 4: Animal noise missing first letter
(B)ARK, (O)INK, (R)OAR, (H)OWL

All of which means the missing word required for the metapuzzle is:

LUCK
Peanuts character: LUCY
'Stroke' connection: A stroke of LUCK
Unit of currency: BUCK
Animal noise: (C)LUCK

This provides the necessary letters for the final metapuzzle answer already deduced by Deusovi...

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