I have chosen 1.e4 for various reasons. First and foremost, it is the move I have played for the entirety of my chess-playing life. In the database, I have recorded approximately 400 white games, of which 350 began with 1.e4! I have also heavily researched the openings covered in this volume, through my column ‘1.e4’ for Chess Publishing.
Secondly, I believe that Black has a wider margin of error in the closed games than in the open games. Even if they do not know all the details of a certain line in the former case, they will end up with only a slight disadvantage in the majority of cases. The same cannot be said about the defenses to 1.e4. In this book you will find that Black must tread carefully if they play an offbeat system, as I have discovered several refutations to the most popular and widely accepted lines within them.
For every opening, I have adopted the same method of research. Firstly I undertake a detailed examination of human games, alongside correspondence/email games, with particular regard to the highest percentage of White wins and the number of games played. The human games allowed me to gain a natural feelings for the practical elements of the opening in question, while the correspondence games (essentially human-assisted engine games) covered the necessary element of objectivity.
The next stage consisted of my own engine analysis, using the Chessbase Engine Cloud to examine critical but unexplored positions. Finally, I engage as critically as possible with the existing literature, as I hope others will do with my work in the future.