Invitation to Free Chess Lecture by NM Dana Mackenzie


Things are calming down on the book front, and I am going to move gradually back to chess in this blog.

As many readers know, I used to record lectures regularly for a website called ChessLecture. I decided to stop a few years ago. Not coincidentally, it was right around the time that I started working hard on The Book of Why. I simply couldn't afford the time any more to prepare ChessLectures.

All of the 160 lectures I recorded are still available, of course, and I continue to recommend ChessLecture as the perfect website for people who learn by hearing and seeing rather than by reading. Which brings me to my announcement. In honor of the launch of The Book of Why and its auspicious debut at #2 among hardback science and math books at Amazon, ChessLecture is offering free of charge, for this week only, the first lecture I ever recorded.

They actually offer a different free lecture every week. But to preserve the high quality of the site, they work on a subscription-based model. So if you like my sample lecture, I hope you'll consider subscribing so that you can listen to my other 159 lectures as well as the other 3337 videos available at this amazing site!

The sample lecture is called "Nuke the Sicilian! How to Sac Your Queen on Move Six and Win." And if it isn't too self-serving to say so, I think it is a classic: my victory over IM David Pruess in 2006, the first over-the-board tournament appearance of the Bryntse Gambit 1. e4 c5 2. f4 d5 3. Nf3!? ef 4. Ng5 Nf6 5. Bc4! Bg4?! 6. Qxg4! Before this game, the Bryntse Gambit had been played a few times in correspondence chess by (of course) Arne Bryntse, a Swedish correspondence chess player.

Yup, I'm hanging a queen. On move six.

I rediscovered this bold and romantic queen sacrifice by myself around 2004 (in fact, at the time this lecture was recorded I'm not even sure I was aware that Bryntse had discovered it first). Over the next two years I played it many times against my computer and eventually worked it out to a complete system, while waiting for my chance to spring it against a human opponent. Pruess was the unsuspecting victim, but I've always thought he deserves a lot of credit. Black can give back the gambit pawn and escape immediate danger with 5. ... e6. However, Pruess just didn't believe my queen sacrifice could be sound, and so on principle he played 5. ... Bg4, attacking my queen, and the rest is history.

I hope you enjoy the lecture, and I thank Hal Bogner, the man behind the curtain who makes ChessLecture work. It was his idea to celebrate the publication of my book in this fashion.

P.S. My next victim in this opening was Grandmaster Sergey Kudrin, eight years later. He should have watched my ChessLecture! He was a little bit luckier than Pruess -- I accepted his draw offer in a probably winning endgame.