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The Somerton Man Case. The body of a man found on an Australian beach close to a major Atomic Testing ground, he was probably poisoned, a copy of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam and an unbroken Code page found and associated to him. Set against a Cold War background in 1948, was this man a spy? We think so and this blog focuses on the evidence that was left behind and in some cases missed, the Code page, Dry Cleaning numbers, A Poem and a small, torn piece of paper bearing the words TAMAM SHUD.

Friday, 24 November 2017


The image above shows a cutting from a wiki, it is headed ICCF which I think stands for 'International Chess Federation". The numbers you see therein represent chess moves, there were many ways that these moves were described but this method was specifically for chess by correspondence and also, most interestingly, Chess played by radio.


In July 1947, the renowned Pakies Club played host to such a game of chess by radio between Australia and the UK.
It gets interesting when you realise that when playing chess in this mode, the whole of the transmission is in morse code. Even more interesting when you look at the code page:

Each of the first 4 lines begins with the letter 'M' in two distinct styles. In the Gringmuth notation/code, the letter M represents the Black and what follows in each line is a potentially a series of chess moves. But, what about the numbers? Where are they? See below, the numbers are in the ICCF code and hidden inside each letter.

Our friend Fedor Nosov a TASS journalist and spy, often played chess and was a frequent visitor to Pakies not to mention of course his 1947 visit to South Australia to talk about, amongst other things, the game of chess.

This fascinating piece of information has come to me via a long-term follower of this blog, Rowan, and many thanks to him not only for this most interesting detail but also more which we will publish in due course. This will hopefully include a very interesting article written by Rowan, just waiting for final permissions.

Before anyone gets overly excited, Rowan pointed out that he first saw information about the Gringmuth Notation in a 1949 article about the Somerton Man and the work done by a number of amateur code breakers at that time. They did not succeed in cracking the code, but then again, they were not aware of what lay hidden within each letter.

The next step from here is to connect with suitably qualified code/cypher people and see what if anything can be recovered that matches this coding method.

Whilst I have spent a good deal of time examining the page and its content, it has always puzzled me why the code was written the way it is, surely if someone wanted to write in microcode they would have hidden it within a normal letter or a poem as indeed was the case with Verse 70.

This new information now opens up the possibility that the reason why it was a series of letters is that the person who wrote it was recording a series of chess moves the details of which were coming over the radio and in morse code:

Those who have had experience at using morse code would know that when receiving a message you didn't write down the dots and dashes, you translated them on the fly into letters or numbers.


  1. Gordon, from what I remember notated chess needs an identifier for the piece that has been played as well as a reference for its location at the end of the move.

  2. Correct, there was quite a complex arrangement, there are examples around, here's the wiki link:

  3. How can I read the Gringmuth Notation?

  4. The Gringmuth notation is purely an example of how chess moves were documented. The use of radio and morse code modified the notation and in fact, it has been recorded that the use of morse code enabled two games to be 'managed' at one time.

    I have never professed the skill needed to crack codes, just to find them.

    So how we can read this if indeed it was the focus of the SM code, that's another matter. In fact, it will reside with those who have the code-breaking skills. The role here as I see it is to bring new and interesting aspects to the wider audience and hopefully, to those who understand the subtleties of codes and cyphers.

    Whilst there are those that profess to have the right skillset, I am personally not aware of anyone in the SM blog space who would have those skills.

    Right now we have a new and potentially enlightening set of information that could reignite the whole issue of the code page and its meaning.

    Does it impact negatively on the issue of microcode and micro writing? Not at all, quite the opposite.

  5. This is the sort of thing that could make a man's head hurt.

    Now that we are reading messaging under the letters and can read Danetta within the letters, would it be too much to expect the writer to have used the letters themselves as another form of message, using JESSICA / DANETTA as a substitution key?

  6. That's interesting, what would the key be? Personally, I think the torn piece holds the key.

    If we use the name DANETTA, there are a number of words that can be formed from it but only one name and that is DEAN. As to whether JESSICA is a substitute, I don't know. However, there are a few good online tools that you can look at, here's one that offers a number of options:

    For the record, there is more to come on TK and Danetta, somethings take a while to come to fruition! Thanks for the comment Pete, I hope this helps.

  7. I walked into the local shop this morning, the one that has a few books for sale that I'm familiar with so I picked out the one that had the Rubaiyat code pictured and showed it to all three of the staff, then I showed them how I lifted out the name Danetta. Well that went down pretty well so I showed them a picture of the letter Q.
    Gordon, may I say, you are now a legend up at Federal.

    Then I told them Danetta means God is my judge in Hebrew, and the nurse in the book was connected in that respect.

    That was it, I bought a bottle of rum and went home.