Review: Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual - 5th edition

Review: Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual - 5th edition

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In these times of anxiety, tension, and divisiveness it is great to see selfless cooperation to honor a legendary trainer and provide value to the chess community.

Endgame experts Karsten Müller and Alex Fishbein revised the fourth edition (2014) of Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual based on notes of Dvoretsky himself, discoveries by GMs like Aagard, L'Ami, and Giri, feedback from Chessable users and their own painstaking analysis using the Lomonosov 7-men tablebases and the strongest engines. Publisher Russel Enterprises and Chess e-book reader ForwardChess decided to make this 440-page masterwork affordable for everyone by offering the book temporarily for the crazy low price of $11.99.

In his foreword, World Champion Vladimir Kramnik calls Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual the Bible of all chess endgame books. Kramnik concludes: "I consider Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual an absolute must for every chess professional, and no less important even for a club player. Learn the endgame principles well, refresh them in your memory from time to time, and your rating and your tournament performances will surely improve."

The fifth edition will be available in print on August 1 for a listed price of $34.95.  Until then the book is available on Kindle for $19.22 and on the ForwardChess Chess e-reader platform on their website (and not in their app). Their introductory offer of $11.99 will expire on June 22.

ForwardChess has now a catalog of over 500 titles. The advantage over an e-reader like Kindle is that you can replay games and positions on a chessboard, you can analyze position with Stockfish 11 and the platform offers a quiz mode for solving exercises.  I currently own 15 books on ForwardChess and I like that I have the books always instantly available when I travel or teach students, that they do not take up physical space and do not age (smell, get damaged) over time.

Mark Dvoretsky died on September 26, 2016, at the age of 68 and trained most elite chess players including world champions Garry Kasparov, Viswanathan Anand, and Veselin Topalov. In 2003 he published Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual, which became the standard endgame reference book for the chess world. The author uses color-coding to distinguish between basic endgame knowledge and reference material which makes it easier to study.

In the 440-page book, all of the most important endgames are covered with rook- and pawn- endgames taking up 35% of the total book.

The fourth edition is from 2014 so now 6 years old. According to the publisher, the major changes are:

  1. The fifth edition (DEM5) has 440 pages, 16 more than the fourth edition. The book has been completely reformatted, and the diagrams have all been re-set.
  2. There is a new foreword by former world champion Vladimir Kramnik and a new introduction by Karsten Müller.
  3. The revision has been done by German GM Karsten Müller. With the passing of Mark Dvoretsky, Karsten has been generally recognized as the premier endgame analyst and theoretician in the world today.
  4. American GM Alex Fishbein assisted Karsten.
  5. There have been new developments in several areas of theory (e.g., Bishop Endgames), and these were added.
  6. Karsten and Alex have gone through the existing text of DEM4 very carefully, making minor changes and corrections throughout. New diagrams have been added, some have been removed. The complex indexing systems put in place by Dvoretsky have been modified accordingly.
  7. The blue text in previous editions has been replaced by normal text highlighted with a light gray background.

In addition, I saw major changes in the rook endings chapter including 2019 analysis by L'Ami and 2018 analysis by Giri. My estimate is that roughly 5% of the book changed. I am fascinated by the richness and beauty of chess and from that perspective, it is interesting to see how theory develops and which discoveries are still being made.

An example of a practical endgame in which there were a lot of recent discoveries:

This is how the Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual looks like on the Forward Chess App on my iPad Pro. You have the option to turn on or off the engine and you can replay the moves on a separate chessboard.
I would like to thank Dr. Karsten Müller for carrying forward the legacy of Mark Dvoretsky by revising the 2014 edition with the latest insights. Instead of revising his own book Fundamental Chess Endings, he chose to selflessly focus on updating the classic by Mark Dvoretsky.
At the current price of $11.99, this book is a steal and the ForwardChess platform makes it a perfect travel companion. At the moment you have to be buy it through their website After purchase, you can use it on the ForwardChess app for iOS, Windows, or Android by restoring your cloud purchases.
The Quiz-mode of ForwardChess