From the first moment (about a year ago) when Mr. Daniel Vanheirzeele from Thinkers Publishing contacted me about the possibility of writing an opening book, I was really excited about the prospect. Writing a chess book was a completely new direction for me, and anything new excites me and gives me a high. Then after some discussion we narrowed the topic down to 1.e4 (‘Best by test’) and I found myself with a contract to cover two major variations within the Sicilian: the sharp Najdorf and the trendy Taimanov. I actually already had a decent reputation as a dangerous theoretician on the white side of 1.e4, and in particular against these two openings. I had shown some interesting ideas in my games over the years which were the result of my real passion for opening knowledge, a trait which has stayed with me throughout my chess career.