This work was originally envisioned as a single-volume collection of my most memorable games, annotated by me, à la Bobby Fischer's My 60 Memorable Games. However the more I delved into the past, the more things started to rise up from the recesses of my memory, which, along with deeper analysis and more detailed introductions to the games, made it more like an anthology of chess stories. Thankfully, my gracious editors decided to split the work into two volumes. What you are going to find in this first volume is a selection of my most memorable battles on the chessboard during the first of two different periods. It covers the time from my arrival in the USA as an up-and-coming young talent in early 1989, acquiring the freedom to play in any open tournament in the world and quickly gaining precious experience to grow into a challenger for the World Championship in 1996. This period ended with my early retirement from the game to pursue other goals in life.