By Bert Van Manen
Dimitris Manouras: has he re-invented the wheel?
The author: a semi-retired Greek chemical engineer with an impressive resume. It’s no stretch to call him a scientist as well as an engineer, he knows fabrics, plastics, mechanics, construction and the physics of collision and friction, so crucial to our game.
The book: a two-volume tome, some 500 pages in total. It diagrams and explains 75 diamond systems in detail.
The reason it’s different from other books:
1) no Manouras system is based on the numbers we know and instantly recognize, the ones used by Ceulemans, Verworst, Tüzül, Carlsen. He has his own count for everything.
2) the systems describe the ENTIRE game, not just rail-first solutions. There is a numbered approach to dozens of ball-first shots, and the author claims that all his principles are applicable to shots you may encounter and are not in the book. The idea is, that you familiarize yourself with his approach, then learn to use the numbers that correspond with the positions.
The confrontation: do a systems expert and a systems skeptic get at each other’s throats, and use cues to hit the other guy with? No. In fact, they are able to share a deep love for the same game, without having the same ideas about learning how to play it.
The money: once available in English, this will be an expensive book. But I have to say, it is pure quality from cover to cover. Everything is well thought through, beautifully presented and illustrated. The amount of material you can study is colossal, and the book goes miles further and deeper than just silly rail-first lines you will use once every five years.
The warning: this is not “fun” reading material. Don’t take this book to the beach and expect to be entertained. This is a manual. It’s something you study. If you “believe” in systems, if you think you can improve your game by learning and using them, if you are willing to invest considerable time doing so, I can’t think of a better book for you.
I’ve met the author, spoken with him at length. He’s a gentleman, smart as a whip, and he knows what he is talking about. He didn’t convert me, though. I am still a systems skeptic. But if I wasn’t, I’d want to own this book. Everybody should make up their own mind, right?