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Cryptography Competition.
(edition 2016: #5).
You are reading the website of the 2016 edition of the competition, which ended on Saturday 30th April at 11:59 pm.

Mike and Ellie will return for a new adventure next year!

The website for that new edition, to start in January 2017, appears in December here. If you would like to receive a reminder around that time by email please look here. For any particular enquiries you can contact us on cryptography_competition@manchester.ac.uk.
The Tale of the



Is released!
Is released!
Is released!
Is released!
Is released!
Is released!
Is released!

The Alan Turing

Cryptography Day


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Chapter 2 of the Tale of The Artificial Adventure.

Ellie barely slept that night. "I've not been able to contact Mike," she thought to herself as she lay in bed, "and I don't know where he wants us to meet." She pondered the previous day's events at EKA-labs, trying to make sense of them. "Well, I'll just have to keep my eyes open today and try to find out more about what is really going on at EKA-labs."

The following morning, as Ellie made her way towards the main laboratory, she heard Alice's voice shout out from a nearby office. "Ellie, I'm so sorry about last night. Come in and I'll explain."

Ellie cautiously entered, realising that this was a good opportunity to learn more about Alice. The office was full of research papers, computer print-outs and used coffee cups. One wall was occupied by a huge bookcase, and Ellie noted books by authors such as Knuth, Zadeh, and Kempelen. Behind a desk in a corner sat Alice. "Our sponsors have been putting EKA-labs under a lot of pressure," explained Alice. "Both Kenneth and I have been working too many late nights recently and we weren't thinking straight yesterday. I'm really sorry about our behaviour. I hope we can put it behind us so we can get back to working on Geshtu."

"Apology accepted," said Ellie. "I need to get back to work myself. Eliza will be waiting for me."

Ellie met Eliza in the main lab. "Today I'll demonstrate how far we've got with Geshtu," said Eliza. "Geshtu must be able to access a vast amount of data very quickly, which has been a challenge. But before I show you Geshtu in action, could you get me a coffee?"

On her way to the coffee machine, Ellie heard two voices inside Alice's office. "I don't think we'll get away with it" she heard Kenneth say. "Of course we will. Just remember that she might overhear anything we say" Alice retorted, "Come on. We need to get back to the main lab."

Kenneth and Alice didn't notice Ellie as they stormed out. "I wonder what they're up to," thought Ellie as she sneaked in. The room was still a mess, but Ellie noticed a strange chess board on Alice's desk that hadn't been there earlier. "How odd," thought Ellie as she copied down the board, "it almost looks like a code of some sort."

Ellie returned to the lab, coffee in hand. "Sorry it took so long," she apologised. After a few gulps of coffee, Eliza was ready to demonstrate Geshtu.

"Let's turn her on," said Eliza and she pushed a button. The computer beeped and several fans started up inside. The whirring of the fans got louder and louder and it was clear that something was wrong. "She's overheating! Quick, Ellie, stand in front of Geshtu and tell me what's happening while I try to power her down!" cried Eliza. Thick green smoke started to come out of Geshtu's ventilation grilles and surrounded both Eliza and Ellie. Ellie choked as she struggled to breathe. "Where's Mike when I need him?" thought Ellie before she slipped to the floor, unconscious.

Your task:

Above is the chess board that Ellie saw in Alice's office. Your task is to decipher the code. Once you have done that, submit your answer to the question below.

Question: What is the 14th word of the plaintext?
Your answer:

You can not submit your answer since the Competition has now closed.