Writing an opening book has been on my mind for quite some years and I’m thankful to TP-team for giving me this opportunity. In the first quarter of 2019 I came to an agreement with TP about this project and it took me more than a year to produce the book you are holding in your hands. I already had quite a lot of experience writing opening articles, starting in January 2009 with ChessVibes Openings and still do regularly write for several other (online) publishers. But that’s nothing compared with writing an entire book on one of the most popular and heavily analysed openings. For me the personal challenge was basically whether I would be able to show something new on a topic a lot has been written about in chess literature and frankly, I’m very happy to have accomplished that task.
It must have been somewhere at the beginning of this century, when games started to be broadcast online, that my love for the Sveshnikov was shaped. I got very much inspired by top players like Vladimir Kramnik, Peter Leko, Alexey Shirov, Boris Gelfand and not in the last place my fellow-countryman Loek van Wely (thanks for the foreword!), who all had excellent results and contributed to the development of this opening. At first, you start wondering why Black weakens the d5-square (5…e5) and then step by step you realize the dynamic potential of Black’s opening strategy. The ensuing positions contain a lot of imbalances, which makes it a very attractive opening to play for a win at any level.
Structure of the book
I wish I could describe an opening just in words, but that’s not how modern chess works. Every single idea needs to be backed with concrete variations. Conversely, it’s also impossible just to study 30-40 moves of theory without having a clue about what you are doing. Hence, I have aimed to find a good balance of verbal explanations without ignoring the hardcore variations you have to know. In case you’ll find the analyses a bit too long, don’t be discouraged! They have been included mainly to illustrate the thematic ideas and show in which direction the game develops once the theoretical paths have been left. That’s why I have actually decided to cover 39 games in their entirity, rather than cutting off my analysis with an evaluation. I believe that model games help you to understand better an opening, and certainly also the ensuing middle- and endgames.
Compared with most other publications on this opening I have made frequent use of correspondence and engine games. A lot of new resources have been discovered with the aid of powerful machines, and even though in the majority of cases it didn’t change the overall assessment, it certainly does give a new impulse. I guess that perfectly fits with the title The Modernized Sveshnikov!
Amstelveen, The Netherlands