The top Russian grandmaster is famous for his deep understanding of chess and fine endgame technique. Many of his games are milestones in the theory of the Slav Defence, The King's Indian Defence and others. Here is a short list of his major achievements:
- World champion under 16 in 1983-1984;
- European champion under 20 in 1988;
- Participant in the candidates matches for the World title;
- Winner of the world team championships 1997, 2005;
- Participant in the match Russia - rest of the world 2002;
- Winner of many international tournaments, including: Biel 1995, Wijk aan Zee 1995, Reggio Emilia 1996, Dos Hermanas 2001 Esbjerg 2003
"I have chosen and commented on 100 games for this book. I have played them in a period of more than 20 years. These games are so different from each other that there will be some to everybody's liking - there are sacrifices, there are quiet moves, there are sharp tactical games as well as tough positional fights. You can also find instructive examples of how to play in the various stages of the game. In general, I have devoted a great attention to the openings and my comments about them are from the point of view of the contemporary theory.
A chess professional's life is not only the games played over the board. You go to different countries, you visit various continents; you see picturesque places and ancient towns and you come into contact with chess-fans all over the world. In my notes to some of the games, I have shared with my readers (as much as the size of the book allows) my impressions of these journeys and encounters.
While working on the story of my first steps in chess, it was as if I re-lived again everything I came through during all these times. Naturally, my memory is not perfect. I have had to omit many things also because this book is not an autobiography, it is not memoirs, and it is supposed to be a collection of games. Still I tried to tell in earnest about my development as a player, about my problems and hardships (some of them due to the surroundings and some of them just personal). I have shared with my readers my joy about my victories in my first tournaments and I have told about people who have helped me and to whom I owe my deepest gratitude."
Alexey Dreev, 2007