This book is based upon the experiences of almost 50 years of studying, playing (over-the-board and in correspondence chess), and programming computers to play chess. We here present a theory that fulfils the scientific ideal of having principles based on experience. These principles have evolved slowly, as in the beginning there was nothing to build on.
We came to the problem of finding the best move for White in the original position with only the idea of the Option principle, first enunciated by W.W. Adams. We tried to apply it in the way he propounded, but it did not work. The fact that it did not work on 1 e4 did not discourage us. Later, the idea of applying it to 1 d4 appeared. As we got more experience with 1 d4 (which I had never played up to 1949), I began to realize its strength. 1 d4 leads to a board-control game, in which White, when playing properly, gradually takes over the board.
Success in certain openings allowed the beginning of the formulation of System principles; see Chapter 2. The number of principles and their precision gradually grew over the years. Although there are still things to learn, the System principles, as presented, form a formidable opus with which to attack chess. It is a theory which has now had a number of stunning successes against well-respected openings.
Very early on, we were able to deal with many variations of the Queen's Gambit Declined in a way that produced clear advantages against well-known defences. Also, the Modern Benoni opening was subjected to a new attack that was at the time not known, and can still not be found in the Encyclopedia of Chess Openings, despite the fact that it wins hands down. These lines can be found in Chapter 6 (p.l 19). The Benko Gambit, which has always seemed a bit dubious, was also refuted at this time, and this can also be found in Chapter 6 (p. 124). Since 1990,1 have finally found the clear refutation of the Griinfeld Defence after many false starts. And this is only a partial list of major defences that have been refuted.
You may ask "What is The System, and why should I pay attention to it?". The best answer I can give is that it presents a method of determining the best move for White, and given that each previous move was also correct, finding the best next move. That is quite formidable, if true. The System is a scientific theory; a theory of how to play chess. It is my theory only in so far as I discovered it. It is not ad hoc. It is as real as the theories of Gravitation and Evolution. It is as yet incomplete, but it has proven its mettle.
I liken The System to Mendeleev's Periodic Table of atomic elements. At the time this was formulated in the mid-nineteenth century, many elements were as yet unknown and the valences and atomic weights of others were in doubt. Yet, he was able to show a certain pattern for elements of valence -hi, 0, and -1, and it was clear that there was a pattern here. Later, with the discovery of much missing data, the theory was confirmed and now is established fact. The families of elements are now known to have something to do with how many electrons are in their outer orbits; something that no one had a clue about at the time the initial observations were made.
In this little book, I present essentially the work of a lifetime. I have tried to get my computer Hitech to understand The System, however, with little success. Chess is mainly tactics. One must not lose material, nor pass up the opportunity to gain it. However, when there is little tactical to be done, one needs a strategy. The System is the strategy for playing the openings. However, things are not yet at the point where it is a completely mathematical theory (as Gravitation is). It is still rather qualitative, although some things have been formulated quite accurately (see Chapter 1) and tested in Hitech. With careful examination of the contents, I believe even the most die-hard sceptic will agree that we present excellent evidence that Black cannot achieve equality in such standard openings as:
a) The Griinfeld Defence;
b) The Queen's Gambit Declined;
c) The Benko Gambit;
d) The Modern Benoni.
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