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Dana N Mackenzie vs David Pruess
"Hard Pruessed" (game of the day Nov-23-2011)
Western States Open (2006), Reno, NV USA, rd 6, Oct-08
Bird Opening: Dutch Variation. Batavo Gambit (A02)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Gilmoy: White gives Q for BN+PP (after he recaptures on e4) + exposed Kc6, hence a high-falutin' "pawn sac" for lasting initiative. Black's Q must play defense vs a flock of ducklings, which is her worst role.

White's patience makes a lasting impression. After <9..e6> "returns" a pawn for open lines, White ignores it, resumes development, and creeps inexorably north, 1 or 2 squares at a time. In fact, after <7.Bxf7+>, White doesn't make another (3+)-square move until <31.Rxa7> he feels ready to attack :) It shows the depth of Mackenzie's prep: clearly he knew what the position had, and trusted its positional advantages, regardless of any material deficit.

Black bravely returns an exchange, but it doesn't undo White's 15-move bind.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Is this the only opening with a queen sacrifice? Wow!
Nov-23-11  inotfolia: In fact, there are some openings Queen sac. For example: Rushmere Attack - 1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.f4 exf4 4.Nf3 g5 5.d4 g4 6.Bc4 gxf3 7.O-O d5 8.exd5 Bg4 9.dxc6 f2+ 10. Kxf2 ...
Premium Chessgames Member
  erniecohen: <Gilmoy> 9...e6 wasn't offering a pawn at all; 10. ♘xe6? ♕h4+ wins a piece.
Nov-23-11  knighterrant999: This is exactly the type of opening gambit a 2100 should play against a 2400. The expert has little to lose, and everything to gain. Impressive theoretical preparation here - definitely not an easy position for black to defend OTB.
Nov-23-11  Snehalshekatkar: Jus foolish!! Doesn't deserve nomination for game of the day!!
Premium Chessgames Member
  erniecohen: BTW, since I complain as much as anyone about bad GOTD choices, I just want to say that this is exactly what a GOTD should be - interesting, nice backstory, not too well-known (though an occaisional classic is fine). Pun quality is less important.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <kevin86>

(1) I played this line a couple of times, with great success: 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Bc4 Bg7 5.Qe2 Nc6 6.e5 Nxd4 (I think 6...Nd7! is now considered good for Black) 7.exf6 Nxe2 8.fxg7 Rg8 9.Ngxe2.

(2) In the Saemisch King's Indian, there is a famous queen sacrifice, one example of which is Kasparov vs Seirawan, 1989.

(3) Here's another, by Black in the Robatsch: 1.d4 g6 2.c4 Bg7 3.Nc3 d6 4.e4 Nc6 5.d5 Nd4 6.Be3 c5 7.Nge2 Qb6 8. Nxd4 cxd4 9.Na4 dxe3?! Opening Explorer.

(4) There's also this line in the Gruenfeld: 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Qb3 dxc4 6.Qxc4 O-O 7.e4 Nc6 8.e5 Be6 9.exf6 Bxc4 10.fxg7 Kxg7 11.Bxc4. Opening Explorer

(5) Here's a queen sac Kasparov played in a King's Indian:

(6) Here's one Kavalek played, also in a King's Indian: Portisch vs Kavalek, 1975.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gilmoy: <erniecohen: 9...e6 wasn't offering a pawn at all; 10. Nxe6? Qh4+ wins a piece.>

More deeply, 10.Bxe6? Qf6 leaves White overextended and tied up: Black would happily accept 11.Nf7 and just trade Rh8+P for B+(trapped)N + all of White's developed tempi. If White tries to hold material, Bd6-Nd7 and Black simply attacks first. Hence White still had to know <which> e-pawn he could take safely.

Nov-23-11  Mimchi1: This was a brilliant piece of preparation. Whether it was done with a computer or not detracts nothing from the creativity of the idea. Mackenzie had relentless, unabating pressure for a good 30 moves before Pruess finally gave back the Queen with 35...Kf5!?. This game is reminiscent of Game 3 in the 1990 WC match between Karpov vs Kasparov, 1990. Both had Queens that could not step anywhere, since the minor pieces of the opponent dominated the board ...
Nov-23-11  vajeer: 9....e5 should be much stronger for black
Nov-23-11  oddodddodo: Thanks for all of your comments (even the people who thought the game was silly). It was an amazing experience to play this game, it was like being a GM for a day.

A few comments:
1) IMO the opening should be called the Bryntse Gambit of the Grand Prix Sicilian, as it is in several places on the Web. After 5. ... e6 Black would be fine. (White is fine too, it's just a game and I've played this several times.) 2) I was in home prep up to move 12, after that I was on my own. But I had played this *type* of position on the computer dozens of times and knew exactly what I wanted to do. 3) GM Jesse Kraai thought that the patient move 11. a3! was as mind-blowing as the original sacrifice. 4) GM Victor Mikhalevski wanted White to grab the b-pawn, 17. Bxb7?, thus showing that even a GM does not understand this opening at first glance. White is not playing for pawns. He is playing for a slow steamrollering of the entire Black position. 5) OTOH, IM Pruess said, "You keep talking about slow, slow, slow, but the one time you needed to play a fast move (20. b4!) you did." Guilty as charged! 8-) 6) Believe it or not, taking the exchange (27. Nxf7?!) was probably my worst move of the game. I should just increase my bind with b5, d4, etc. Black could have muddied the waters with 28. ... b5 29. c5 Nd5, although the computer still shows White as much better. 7) Pruess thought after the game that he could have drawn with 33. ... Ng4. But Mikhalevski redeemed himself for his earlier failure by immediately slamming down 34. f5+!!, a marvelous sweeper-sealer that (a) defends g3 and h2, (b) lures a pawn or a queen to f5 so that Rxg7 becomes a checkmate, and (c) if Black plays 34. ... Kh7 then he walks into a fatal discovery after 35. Rxg7+ Kh8 38. Rc7+. This is really the way the game should have ended. 8) Pruess was a perfect gentleman after this game, participating in all the analysis in spite of the fact that he had lost in spectacular fashion to someone rated 300 points below him. I will always be grateful to him for being such a classy opponent.

Dana Mackenzie

Nov-23-11  oddodddodo: Hi all,

Two more things and then I'll turn the discussion over to the rest of you.

9) In response to vajeer, 9. ... e5? just blunders a pawn. After 10. Nf7 Qh4+ 11. g3 Black has to be careful not to fall into the trap 11. ... Qxg4?? 12. Nxe5+ and Black resigns. The infeasibility of 9. ... e5 is the first of many tactical points making this variation playable.

10) IM Emory Tate was playing on the next board. He claimed afterwards that he lost "because I was so distracted by the **** going on in Mackenzie's game"!

Dana Mackenzie

Nov-23-11  vajeer: <oddodddodo:> I was thinking 10.Nf7 Qf6 Then if
11. Nxh8 Qh5+
12. g3 Qxg4 I think it's better for black to sarifice exchange If Nxe5+ Kc7
and then black should be able to hold.
Am I missing something?
Nov-23-11  oddodddodo: Certainly 10. ... Qf6 is better than 10. ... Qh4+. White does not want to take on h8. In general, in this variation, White should not run after material -- he has to first coordinate his pieces and set up a bind, and then the material will come to him.

The trouble with 10. ... Qf6 11. Nxe5+ Kc7, as you suggested, is that Black's queen is a target after 12. Nc3, threatening a fork with Nd5+ (which incidentally defends f4). As in so many variations in this opening I can't really say Black is busted, but it's just incredibly difficult for him to cope with White's octopus-knights and with the fact that he can't find safe squares for his queen and king.

Nov-23-11  PaulLovric: <oddodddodo> Dana Mackenzie, i do not make many comments here, as i am an embarressed novice. I just wanted to say that your comments about your game here, which is fantastic, are as important to me as comments made by you think you will make it to Grand Master? Paul Lovric
Premium Chessgames Member
  erniecohen: <oddodddodo>: Hi Dana, glad you are on hand for this. Do you still claim that white has a forced win if black accepts the Q sac? (I was going to offer to take the black side on a postal.) Also, is there an online copy of your original article?
Nov-23-11  xthred: The incredible beauty of chess!
Premium Chessgames Member
  erniecohen: <The infeasibility of 9. ... e5 is the first of many tactical points making this variation playable.>

Actually, I was just thinking that 9...e5 looks pretty good - after 10. ♘f7 ♕e8 11. ♘xe5 ♔c7 12. ♘c3 ♗d6 for example. What were you planning after 9...e5?

Mar-14-12  benjinathan:
Jun-24-15  oddodddodo: Eight years after this game, I finally got my second chance to play the Bryntse Gambit in a tournament, this time against a grandmaster. Because the game has not been published (except in my blog) it will probably be a long time, if ever, before it appears on the Chessgames database. So I'll take the liberty of presenting the game here.

[Event: 2014 Western States Open]
[Date: 2014.10.19]
[White: Dana Mackenzie]
[Black: Sergey Kudrin]
[Result: 1/2-1/2]

1. e4 c5 2. f4 d5 3. Nf3 dxe4 4. Ng5 Nf6 5. Bc4 Bg4 6. Qxg4 Nxg4 7. Bxf7+ Kd7 8. Be6+ Kc6 9. Bxg4 e6 10. Nc3 Nd7 11. Ncxe4 Nf6 12. Bf3 Nxe4 13. Bxe4+ Kb6 14. d3 Qe8 15. Be3 Kc7 16. O-O h6 17. Nf3 Bd6 18. Rae1 Rd8 19. g3 Kb8 20. Bd2 Qe7 21. Bc3 Rhf8 22. Ne5 Bxe5 23. Bxe5+ Ka8 24. Bg6 Rd7 25. Re4 a6 26. h4 Qd8 27. a4 Rf6 28. h5 Qb6 29. Kg2 Rd4 30. b3 Rxe4 31. Bxe4 Rf7 32. Bc3 Qd8 33. Re1 Rd7 34. Bf3 Re7 35. Re5 Qd6 36. Bb2 Rc7 37. Re4 Re7 38. Re5 a5 39. Bc3 Ka7 40. Bxa5 Qd4 41. Be1 b6 42. a5 Qb2 43. axb6+ Kxb6 44. Bf2 Rc7 45. Rxe6+ Kb5 46. Re2 Qa1 47. Be1 Qf6 1/2-1/2

Another great example of the unending pressure that White gets from this queen sacrifice. Kudrin had no better idea of what to do than Pruess did. In particular, his mistake was thinking that the position would win itself because of the material superiority; he had to play with more energy. The position on move 30 is priceless. First he offers me the exchange one way (27. ... Rf6) and then another (29. ... Rd4), trying to get me to part with one of my monster bishops -- but I refused to do it.

The spectators correctly pointed out that 46. Re4! is practically winning for me; the rook goes to c4 and can be used for both attack and defense. In the game, after 47. Be1 Qf6, I accepted Kudrin's draw offer because the endgame looks murky and the clock was going to become an issue. Rybka shows me at +0.8 in the final position. Yes, a slight disappointment but once again a complete success for the opening. Kudrin is only the second 2600 player I've ever drawn.

Jun-25-15  oddodddodo: Oops, in the comment above I meant 47. Re4, not 46. Re4.
Jul-07-15  JustAFish: Mackenzie talks about this game here, in this radio story from NPR's "Only A Game":
Jul-07-15  JustAFish: And a nice article with more depth:
Premium Chessgames Member
  kenilworthian: The Only a Game broadcast can be found here:
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