Here's a quick one. The final answer is a 6-letter word.

First player advantage? I don't believe in anything like that. It's just an excuse people use to explain away why they lost. Instead, victory solely depends on which side gets the next move.

8-by-8 grid of letters, backgrounds shaded three ways; more detail given below

Text version is below: the first grid is the letters of the board, and the second is the shading. # is the darkest, followed by X, and then . is the lightest.

NEWSWEEK ........  
CABOMBAS ........  
ALTRUISM #.......

Hint 1:

At least 32 letters in the grid are just disguising the true information.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ The text version doesn't capture the shading of the squares. Is it worth adding to the question a description of how the board is shaded, for the benefit of anyone who for whatever reason can't view images? $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Commented Nov 17, 2017 at 17:49
  • $\begingroup$ @GarethMcCaughan, very much so, yes. Not every computer can pull images from imgur. Better yet, stick that in the image description where it goes. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 17, 2017 at 19:15
  • $\begingroup$ My question was addressed more to the OP -- it may turn out that the shading is purely decorative. But I'll add some explanation to the question. $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Commented Nov 17, 2017 at 19:50
  • $\begingroup$ I can try putting the grid in markdown if that would help. $\endgroup$
    – Aranlyde
    Commented Nov 17, 2017 at 20:35
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe provide a hunt now? $\endgroup$
    – Sid
    Commented Nov 24, 2017 at 8:18

1 Answer 1


Potential answer:



This is a chessboard. Pieces are denoted by their usual letters from algebraic notation - King, kNight, Bishop, Rook - plus P for pawn; ignore other letters for now. Pieces on darker/lighter squares are black/white. Just as we're told, "victory solely depends on which side gets the next move": white/black can checkmate with Be1/Ng5. Treating the 1 and 5 in Be1Ng5 as the similar-looking letters I and S, we have the 6-letter answer "Beings" (thanks ffao for pointing this out!). However if this is the entire solution, then the two extra-dark squares are red herrings??

  • $\begingroup$ "beings"? that is a six-letter word. $\endgroup$
    – ffao
    Commented Nov 26, 2017 at 8:01
  • $\begingroup$ Oh wow, that was staring me in the face! Thanks, I've updated the answer. Though I'm a little concerned there's one part of the puzzle we never used... $\endgroup$
    – bmcfluff
    Commented Nov 26, 2017 at 15:28
  • $\begingroup$ Board with appropriate pieces on lichess here in case you want to put that, or an image derived from it, into your answer. $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Commented Nov 26, 2017 at 16:28
  • $\begingroup$ Perhaps the extra-dark squares are meant to hint at the board being a chessboard (with dark squares in those corners and light squares in the other two corners)? $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Commented Nov 26, 2017 at 16:29
  • $\begingroup$ (The first version of the puzzle had extra-light squares in the other two corners.) $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Commented Nov 26, 2017 at 16:29

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