ChessLecture: Returns and Farewells

by admin on July 1, 2015

One of my readers, Paul B., said that I should record a ChessLecture on my last-round game from the National Open, and I agree with him. I am planning to record the lecture today, called “Returns and Farewells,” and it will probably be posted in a couple weeks. I’m going to announce there and also I’m announcing here that it will be my last ChessLecture.

For those of you who first got to know me through ChessLecture, let me explain why I’m “retiring.” There are basically two reasons. First, I am planning to work full-time on a (non-chess) book for the next year and a half. I’m clearing out my schedule and simplifying my life so that I will have enough time to devote to that task. Of course, you could say, why not just take a year and a half break from CL and then come back? Well, I don’t want to keep everyone in suspense for all that time and then possibly disappoint them.

That brings me to reason number two, which is simply that I think I’ve spoken my piece on ChessLecture. It’s been an unbelievable opportunity for me, an opportunity I never expected. But during the last six months when I have not recorded any lectures, I can’t say that I have felt something missing from my life. My blog really gives me all the chance for self-expression about chess that I need. Of course, in the beginning ChessLecture gave me a hugely greater audience than the blog did, but I’m not really sure whether that is the case any more.

In fact, I’ve always felt a little bit of tension between CL and the blog; if I record a lecture on a topic I don’t feel as if I have complete freedom to repeat the same material on my blog. Let me make it clear that nobody at ChessLecture has ever instructed me not to, but it just doesn’t make business sense. If people can read the material for free on my blog, why would they have any incentive to subscribe to ChessLecture to get the same material? But this self-imposed “no-repeat” clause does have some downsides. I know that some of you would like to see me analyze my last-round game from Las Vegas here, but I won’t do that. What I can do (as I did with my Sergey Kudrin game from last fall) is post the moves without analysis, after my lecture has gone live.

Anyway, my last eight-plus years on ChessLecture have been a treasured chapter of my chess career. I practiced my lecture last night, and to my complete surprise I choked up at the end. It’s been such a long time that I’ve been doing this. When I started, I used to have my old dog and cats, who are no longer alive, and somewhere in those old lectures you can hear some barks and meows when they would want to participate. So the lectures are like a time capsule! The idea of signing out for the last time, closing up the time capsule, got to me.

Nevertheless, life is always changing and sometimes you have to move on. It will be nice, though, to have one more chance to say, “Hello chess fans, and welcome back to! My name is Dana Mackenzie, and today I’d like to talk about…”

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Shawn Pealer July 1, 2015 at 9:47 am

Nice post Dana,

Good luck with your book!


Paul B. July 1, 2015 at 10:08 am

Dana, this is heartbreaking news, truly; I learned so much from your patient explanations. You are an exceptionally gifted teacher. Now I’ll have to do with re-playing your old lectures and listening to comments from your cats and dogs…

It’s water under the bridge now, but there never was any conflict between your lectures and your blog. In fact, it would have enriched the lectures to have supplementary material on your blog.

When your book comes out I’ll be the first to buy it. Could you at least give us a hint as to the topic?


Brian Wall July 1, 2015 at 10:08 am

I did standup until I had nothing left to say – Steve Martin


Matt July 1, 2015 at 10:23 am

The end of an era! I’m quite sad that the next ChessLecture will be your last. Along with Jesse, I always thought you were the best lecturer in terms of explaining concepts and keeping things simple. I’m glad you will be recording one last video; a farewell of sorts. I’ll look forward to watching it in the near future.


admin July 1, 2015 at 5:53 pm

Teaser about the book: It’s about the biggest (and silliest) taboo in science.


Paul B. July 1, 2015 at 8:13 pm

Biggest taboo in science? Hmmm. Here is my list:

– genetic differences in race
– religion and creationism
– string theory
– limits of mathematics
– existence of a soul
– mankind is a single organism
– eternal life achievable by scanning a brain at the level of single molecules and printing new copies as needed
– Robasch Gambit


Edward July 2, 2015 at 11:11 am

@ Paul B.
On your excellent list you forgot the obvious: the global warming scam.


Rob July 2, 2015 at 10:25 pm

Or Which came first…the chicken or the egg?


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