Tuesday, 1 March 2011

The Sniper Revisited

As a companion piece to my review of 'The Sniper', I present a short interview with the book's author - FIDE Master Charlie Storey.

When did you first get the idea of turning your Sniper experiences into a book?

I have played g6 systems my entire life - that is since falling in love with chess at 14 years old. The book idea did not materialise until 2008 where I simply collected my thoughts into a ChessBase printout and used it to try and remember the positions and also try and understand the labyrinth of ECO Codes that make up The Sniper System.

At that point I did not want to turn it into a book as I knew it would help me to win Swiss events as the surprise value did - and still does - reap a high amount of points with Black - crucial to win Swiss events.

I was offered a job with GCHQ and I realised that would be the end of my chess career so I decided to try and leave my 'stamp' on the 'Chess Kingdom' by contributing to modern theory on an unchartered area. As things developed GCHQ decided not to grant me 'Top Secret Clearance' and would not say why and thus I lost my job. I have since taken them to Bristol Employment tribunal, which has now been passed to a Top Secret meeting. My Employment tribunal case may or may not be held in secret - it depends on the result of the Tariq vs Home Office Case which went to the Supreme Court in January 2011 - I am awaiting judgement on that - I will then know if my employment tribunal case scheduled for May - will be held in secret, and whether or not they 'tell me the reason' - I find it hard to believe in this day and age a Court Case can be held in this manner - especially with our signing up to The European Court of Human Rights (which is there to prevent any government from being abusive to its own people!).

Either way that has caused me an enormous amount of stress over the past three years and I am looking forward to recycling my discrimination payout of anything up to £5million into developing Junior Chess through my 'The National Chess Syllabus & Bandana Exam System' see www.CharlieChess.com

Incidentaly, 'The National Chess Syllabus' was my first book and I self published it through Trafford. I upgrade it every two years. It has now been used by many schools in The UK and the Bandana Exams are available to take online (and are used in many schools).
Go to http://www.wcoengland.com/tncs/ if you would like to try a Bandana Online Test with Automatic certificate release if you pass! I mention it because if any publisher would like me to take its next evolution and future evolution I would be open to any good offers.

Were Everyman keen on the project from the start or were you required to take a ‘hard sell’ approach?

When I approached Everyman, GM John Emms was quite enthused with the idea, I had been given a role as England Under 16 Olympiad Coach and had just defeated GM Keith Arkell (with The Sniper) at the 2009 ECF National Championships. This was just enough leverage to get the seal for The Sniper Project.

How long did the book take to write?

I already had the ChessBase printouts but if I could use an analogy that was simply the Bones of the Human Being, I had no idea the Nervous System, Muscular System, The Brain, The Soul and The Spirit were going to take 14 long hard months after that! I had imagined it would have taken four months maximum when I signed the contract in November 2009.

The reason the book is as good as its (in my humble opinion) is mainly down to John Emms critiquing it from every vector, although I found this extremely frustrating I had decided to take the approach of 'whatever John says goes - so fix it!' In simple hours I would say approximately ten hours per week x 60 weeks = 600 hours. It took so long because I checked every line - many 10-15 moves deep with Rybka/Fritz. The many variations that aren't in the book took up a considerable amount of time too.

There can be a temptation for to keep back a few secrets when writing about one’s favourite chess opening. How did you resist such a temptation, knowing that to reveal all of your secrets could lead to trouble over the board?

I wanted The Sniper to be able to stand 'The Test of Time' in the critical evaluation sense - there was no getting around it as many of the creative solutions were simply necessary to circumvent White from getting an edge and when I tried to hold back GM John Emms sensed it and immediately told me to find better solutions to the variations! There's no getting past John - we could do with him in goal for Arsenal!

You make reference to your private Sniper database in the bibliography. How many Sniper games have you played?

I have played over 3000 Sniper Games - mainly at ICC Speed chess and long games - my 4/4 at The National Champs in 2009 was the moment I knew I had something very special - I often play 2nd Class variations of The Sniper to enable its camouflage for when I play real games, although I still critique them professionally at my Monthly Sniper Update site http://www.wcoengland.com/wp-login.php?action=register

Are you still developing The Sniper or have you moved on since the completion of the book?

The Sniper Monthly Update gets updated on the first of every month and is £20 for a year - I maintain, develop and add all content myself putting my Computer Graduate skills to good use. There will be analysis of all main Sniper games, analysis of my own and members' experiences with The Sniper, video training, a free Sniper email chess server and 1-1 Sniper training facility. Users can also post their comments and I will be adding much more content as we develop new technologies - including a Sniper Mind Map!

I enjoy the simuls that I do across the country, it gives me a chance to meet real chess enthusiasts and sign a few books, to spice things up I offer a my fee challenge. It works like this: £50 is paid to my travel expenses, then my fee of £150 is shared amongst all winners in The Sniper Simul. Its good for organisers who can easily get 20 players to pay £12. This pays for my fees, motivates all players to 'Take Out The Sniper' and puts a few quid in the organisers pocket. Its a great event and I do them on Sundays 1pm-6pm. I prefer to do them at good venues - typically at football stadiums such as the one I did at Hull City F.C. which was organised excellently by Mike Butt and the Yorkshire Chess Federation.

If there were two Charlie Storeys who played each other at chess and the game featured the Sniper, would you back White or Black to win?

Great question! The Sniper can be played with White by starting 1.a3 - to date I have a 240 ECF rating performance with this move - I just don't like playing it because the opponent thinks I am being disrespectful. I'm not - I just haven't had time to prepare as I organise a lot of Kiddies Chess activities! I believe that would be a draw as both sides would play The Sniper - when this happens the position remains level for an extended period of time.

Is there another book project in the pipeline?

I have been working on my Black repertoire now for 16 months - it's ready for International Testing at GM level, as a consequence my White repertoire needs a bit of patching up but I would like to write the following books and start as soon as possible - if any publishers are listening;

1. The White Sniper (1.a3 or 1. g3 pending research)
2. Tactics for Children
3. 1.e4 Busting Black with the Initiative
4. 1.d4 Busting Black with the Initiative.
5. Transferring The National Chess Syllabus & Bandana Exam System to a main stream publisher.

Further details and contact information for FM Charlie Storey:

Fide Master Charlie Storey Informatics Forensics BSc (Hons)

England Under 16 Olympiad Chess Coach 2009

Coaching programmes - £20 per Hour + a meal! - School Teaching £25 per Hour

Order The Signed Sniper --> £20 includes U.K. Shipping - Order and Pay via Paypal --> storey@charlieCHESS.com

Order The National Chess Syllabus --> £20 includes U.K. Shipping - Order and Pay via Paypal --> storey@charlieCHESS.com

More Info? www.CharlieChess.com mobile U.K. 0771-90-70-349

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