Monday, October 30, 2006

The Nuclear Option in the Sicilian Grand Prix

One of the better recent lectures at (see review below) is Dana Mackenzie's amazing "Nuke the Sicilian! How to Sac Your Queen on Move Six and Win" (October 20, 2006). In it, he discusses a game he played earlier this month at the Western States Open in Reno, Nevada, with the reversed Budapest line 1.e4 c5 2.f4 d5 3.Nf3 dxe4 4.Ng5 against David Pruess. The game continued 4....Nf6 5.Bc4 Bg4?! (safer 5...e6) 6.Qxg4! Nxg4 7.Bxf7+ Kd7 8.Be6+ Kc6 9.Bxg4 sacrificing the Queen for two pieces and the initiative.

nm scott massey lecture

Does White have enough for a Queen?

You have to hear Mackenzie's excellent 50-minute lecture (by far the longest at the site) to believe how much work went into that single tournament victory. As Josh Friedel reported at his USCF blog (where you can also play over the game in a java applet), Mackenzie had been rehearsing for this game using Fritz for over two years. In his lecture, Mackenzie explains the various principles he developed through extensive experience in order to guide him in completing his long-awaited triumph of home cooking. His explanations are so clear that the site rates the lecture as being appropriate even for beginners. I'd say that lecture alone would be worth the $12.95 fee for a one-month subscription.

Though I was impressed by Mackenzie's game and lecture, I also had a feeling of deja vu. A little Google-ing helped refresh my memory: there is a link in my Grand Prix Attack Bibliography (Updated) to Thomas Johansson's online article discussing the correspondence game Bryntse - Smith, corr SWE 1967 which features the same idea. Apparently there are several others who have played this (including Bryntse's fellow-Swede, GM Johnny Hector), though that does not diminish Mackenzie's achievement. Sometimes knowing how a magic trick was performed (and how much training, research, and analysis went into it) just enhances the viewer's awe.

Here is the PGN of Mackenzie-Pruess for those interested in doing their own analysis:

[Event "Western States Open"]
[Site "Reno, NV USA"]
[Date "2006.10.08"]
[Round "6"]
[White "Mackenzie, Dana"]
[Black "Pruess, David"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B21"]
[PlyCount "91"]

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 Na6 11. a3 Bd6 12. O-O Nc7 13. Ncxe4 Qe7 14. Nxd6 Qxd6 15. d3 Raf8 16. Bf3+ Kd7 17. c3 Nd5 18. g3 h6 19. Ne4 Qc7 20. b4 cxb4 21. axb4 b6 22. Bd2 Rf7 23. c4 Nf6 24. Bc3 Ke7 25. Be5 Qd7 26. Nd6 Rd8 27. Nxf7 Kxf7 28. d4 Kg6 29. g4 Rc8 30. c5 Qb5 31. Rxa7 Qd3 32. h4 h5 33. g5 Ne8 34. Kg2 b5 35. Re1 Kf5 36. Be4+ Qxe4+ 37. Rxe4 Kxe4 38. Ra5 Nc7 39. Bxg7 Kxf4 40. Be5+ Kg4 41. g6 Kxh4 42. g7 Rg8 43. Ra7 Nd5 44. Rf7 Ne3+ 45. Kf3 Ng4 46. c6 1-0

Remember, though: you have to train for two years to pull that off!

Related post: The Grand Prix Attack, Explained


Michael Goeller said...

There is some analysis of the game at The Chess Mind, and there is a thread at The ChessPublishing Forum.

ChessPlayer said...

I really don't think this line wants two years preparation in order to be played. I'm planning to use it sometime soon in a strong tournament and I don't think this line will disappoint me. Black has a lot of trouble playing this, even if he does know the line.