"The Art of Defense"
'With blood, sweat and tears', named after the song of a famous Dutch singer, defines the writing process of this book excellently. It seems like I wrote the book in a similar way like playing an erratic, nerve-racking game. Nonetheless, after 3 long years the final result is there, and I feel again like on those enjoyable moments in life graduating, marrying Iozefina or becoming father of my son Max. My wife even proposed to hoist the flag!
Choosing the subject wasn't easy at all, since the topic of defense requires a comprehensive analysis from different angles in order to give the chess player under pressure useful guidelines during a game. Of course, the technical part is a matter of finding challenging, new and interesting positions. I was struggling with describing the emotions that we have during the game, how they influence our decision-making process and what we can do about that. Hence, I tried the best I could to define the issues the defender encounters during a stressful game. Finally I am confidently sharing with you the lessons that I learned from sport psychologists and literature, and my experience as a player over 30 years.
I realize that this book will not cover all open wounds, nevertheless my aim to write a manual about defense which can help us defenders enduring the hardest difficulties in practice, seems to be achieved. Personally speaking this book helped me as a defender to approach a worse position in a much more objective way, optimally use all of my defensive resources available, both psychologically and technically, to set – even under the most dire circumstances – pitfalls, while keeping my nerves under control.
Fortunately I was not alone in the writing process and I am very grateful for all the support I received. In special, I would like to thank Iozefina and my friend Erwin l'Ami, who gave me the essential moral and technical support throughout the writing process. On top of that I would like to thank all of the photographers, and especially Erwin's wife Alina for the beautiful portraits which I could use for my book. Though being one of a kind, I am thankful for my 'nemesis' Loek van Wely for his professional insights in his preface and in chapter 4.
Furthermore I am grateful for all of the proofreaders, and last but not least my publisher and all of the team, amongst others Daniel Fernandez and Mark Haast, who kept faith in me despite the recurrent never-ending writing cycle. Under 'Acknowledgements' I am glad to thank all the other kind people who helped me so much on this burdensome process and challenging subject, and without whom I couldn't finish the book.
Hopefully this first Volume of 'Unbeatable!' will be enjoyable for you dear reader, and simultaneously, serves you well in practice how to stand firm in using your defensive resources as a last resort. But at the same time this is a book with a smile and a tear.
Jan Werle, Woerden – the Netherlands, November 2021