Why did I write these ebooks this way? - Bill Haines
I sent the first three ebooks to Mike (he’s always been Mikee to me. An attempt to show my warmth and friendship for this wonderful man.) for his reaction. His response was that he’d never seen anything like them in a positive sense, but felt an explanation from me would better serve the pieces I’d produced.
My French Defense books are as a result of a lifelong love affair I've had with the French. Why I chose to write the French books in the order I have requires a deeper look into the caprice of personality. My earliest chessic memories are of my struggle to get play out of the Black position when White chose the Advance Variation (3.e5 c5 4.Nf3). My choice of the French Defense at all was a result of influence on me by my chess "father:" Gunnar Rasmussen, an Expert/A player whose height of skill was probably in the early 50s.
In the process of writing the Advance Variation, I discovered there were three major branches of the system. Two of them had to do with White's placement of his White squared Bishop (Be2 or Bd3). My books prove the Bd3 line is half a pawn or so inferior to the Be2 lines.
The third was the odd but interesting …Nh6!? at some point, allowing Bxh6 doubling Black's "h" pawns. I can now report the line is half a pawn better for White, IF HE KNOWS THE LINES!
Like most chessplayers, I am a child of frustration. I like the middlegame positions of the English and French. Already a contradiction! The English Opening for White is the Sicilian Defense for Black.
A few years ago, Walter Browne, a friend and local GM started playing the Black side of a line designed to take the English "…in a different direction" - Elliott Winslow. Walter had done a lot of original analysis on the line. We were paired in a local tournament of little interest, and he beat me…not in the opening, but later when the skill difference between us became apparent.
So what do you do when threatened with a line that may prevent you from the line you want to play, by "changing the direction" of the position? It's the same way a pearl gets itself made!
To do well in open tournament play, you come prepared to play a limited number of openings and defenses. Beyond your base preparation, you prepare "pearls" defensibly in case you can't reach your desired positions. To substantiate this, look at the theory stuff that comes primarily from Russia. Some second or third level GM's, or high IM's consistently play the same lines ALL THE TIME. When one of their lines gets busted, the search is on for the rehabilitation of the line.
Here's another little tidbit. In a club environment, you have the advantage of knowing what your partner/opponent's favorite opening or defense will be. If you are in the mood to improve yourself at the time of the pairing, you will play right down the teeth of their favorite system. Make them prove their understanding of the positions is superior to yours. Of course you study up for the event, with specific attention to the continuations they have preferred in the past. With this you measure yourself against a known quantity.
If, on the other hand, you are not as interested in education for yourself, and only wish to win the game, you look for an early "out" of their system. My advice is to avoid the "three moves and out" method of playing the opening in this case. It's a good way to get your head handed to you. Instead, play along with partner six or seven moves into THEIR line, and pull a side variation rated a couple of hundredths of a pawn less good than the main line. Since YOU'RE prepared to do this, you throw a wrench in HIS plans. True, for every move there is a proper response. But, if you're the one better prepared, YOU will gain the advantage.
I started as strictly a databaser. My first product was known as "Chess Author's Database." Currently, my database has about 2,200,000 games in it. But several people have noted that on the subject of game positions of theoretical interest, my database scores high on the number of games using the base position. What does one do with a database?
Any active tournament player should have a database and programming that allows you to bunch games together for comparison. In order to properly read my Bookup books, you need to at least download ChessBase Light, so you may take advantage of the fonts. Then, my comments window will reflect the true condition of the position. One of the weirdnesses I've noted is that single CPU machines read my books much better than multi-chip machines. That's because Bookup does not yet accommodate multi-chip technology. Sometimes, task #2 will finish before task #1, and screws up the result. (Working on that - Mike)
Each book I write follows the same formula. I first decide on a base position, usually six or seven moves in to the game. I extrapolate all games from the database from 1995 or 1996 to current that yield this base position. Since chess is an eclectic art, older improvements tend to be included in current play. I take all those games yielding that position, and put them in a Bookup book. I prune opening moves until only a single line reaches the critical start position. I turn on my Deep Fritz 7 program and introduce it to the base position, allowing it to run itself up to depth 18 or 19. I ask DF7 only for the top four (4) move candidates in each position. With the base position I start with, I've usually got anywhere from six to ten move candidates just from practice. DF7 will give me the top four lines, and a numerical assessment of advantage in percentages of a pawn. After, and including the initial assessment of the base position, I copy the analysis and put it in the comment window of the Bookup book. I always run DF7 on EACH position up to depth 15. On occasion, when I feel there is a greater truth behind two moves evaluated as equal, I'll run up the depth for a decision. I always set my sort candidates window under Edit|Preferences|General to "Sort Candidates by Numeric Assessment."
When a book is done, every move candidate is prioritized relative to every other candidate, with numeric assessment for each. Usually, about move ten or twelve, DF7 will find a line not before played as the recommended continuation. All lines are followed out to fifteen Black where the node information of evaluations is added to the header information in Bookup. Then the node is backsolved, giving the whole line a blow by blow evaluation. All the side variations are also followed to move fifteen.
There is not much "human talk" in the comments. After you've used the book a while, you soon realize you DON'T NEED the human talk. You come to see via the positions what the differences are as the evaluations indicate. This method of teaching is the fastest way possible for you to improve your whole approach and understanding of chess. Looking at a position, you follow the analysis lines in your head (the best possible training) and you begin to understand the possibilities. Note that each evaluated candidate will generally require a different response from the other side as best move. That's how subtle chess is!
One of the long term advantages of this approach, is you will find yourself in tournament play using the same method of move candidate evaluation. That's when you raise your player rating and skill!
Please use and enjoy my efforts. There is easily 1,000 hours of my time in each book. If you find improvements or errors in the work, let me know.
W. C. (Bill) Haines
You can reach the author via email at whaines @ sbcglobal.net (remove spaces).
1,617 positions - To purchase and download French Advance 6.Be2 .
1,720 positions - To purchase and download C02 7...Nh6 .
3,800 positions - To purchase and download C02
You can view Bill Haines' research ebooks by downloading and installing the free Bookup 2000 Express program.