"With Blood, Sweat and Tears", named after a song by a famous Dutch singer, perfectly defines the writing process of this book. I seem to have written the book in a manner similar to an erratic and stressful game. However, after 3 long years the end result is there, and I feel like I'm back in those pleasant moments in life graduating, marrying Iosefina or becoming the father of my son Max. My wife even proposed to raise the flag!
Choosing the topic was not at all easy, as the topic of defense requires a thorough analysis from different angles in order to provide the chess player under pressure with useful guidelines during a match. Of course, the technical part is about finding challenging, new and interesting jobs. I was struggling to describe the emotions we have during the game, how they influence our decision-making process and what we can do about it. Therefore, I tried my best to define the problems the defender encounters during a stressful game. Finally, I'm sharing with you the lessons I learned from sports psychologists and literature, and my experience as a player for over 30 years.
I realize that this book will not cover all the open wounds, however, my goal of writing a defense manual that can help us defenders who endure the toughest difficulties in practice, seems to be achieved. Personally speaking, this book helped me as an advocate to approach a worse position in a much more objective way, to make optimal use of all my available defensive resources, both psychologically and technically, to set, even in the most extreme circumstances, traps, keeping my nerves under control.
Fortunately I wasn't alone in the writing process and I'm very grateful for all the support I received. In particular, I would like to thank Iozefina and my friend Erwin l’Ami, who provided essential moral and technical support throughout the writing process. On top of that, I'd like to thank all the photographers, and especially Erwin's wife, Alina, for the beautiful portraits I was able to use for my book. Although I am unique in my class, I am grateful to my "nemesis" Loek van Wely for his professional knowledge in his preface and in chapter 4.
In addition, I am grateful to all the proofreaders and, last but not least, to my editor and the entire team, including Daniel Fernandez and Mark Haast, who kept their faith in me despite the recurring and endless writing cycle. In "Thanksgiving", I'm pleased to thank all the other kind people who helped me so much through this cumbersome process and a challenging subject, and without whom I couldn't finish the book.
We hope that this first volume of "Invincible!" Be pleasant to you, dear reader, and at the same time, serve you well in the practice of 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.