Mark Dvoretsky Chess Book Series - Which one is right for 2000 USCF players?


Which series of Mark Dvoretsky books you think are right for a 2000 USCF rated player? I am giving the list of his books from wikipedia below. Your comment will be appreciated.

Original series

The Dvoretsky School series was first published in English in these editions:

  • Mark Dvoretsky (1991). Secrets of Chess Training. B T Batsford Ltd, London. ISBN 0-7134-6287-6.
  • Mark Dvoretsky (1992). Secrets of Chess Tactics. B T Batsford Ltd, London.
  • Mark Dvoretsky and Artur Yusupov (1993). Training for the Tournament Player. B T Batsford Ltd, London. ISBN 0-7134-7238-3.
  • Mark Dvoretsky and Artur Yusupov (1994). Opening Preparation. B T Batsford Ltd, London. ISBN 0-7134-7509-9.
  • Mark Dvoretsky and Artur Yusupov (1995?). Technique for the Tournament Player. B T Batsford Ltd, London. ISBN 0-7134-7722-9.
  • Mark Dvoretsky and Artur Yusupov (1996). Positional Play. B T Batsford Ltd, London. ISBN 0-7134-7879-9.
  • Mark Dvoretsky and Artur Yusupov (1998). Attack and Defence: how creative thought develops in a chessplayer. B T Batsford Ltd, London. ISBN 0-7134-8214-1.

[edit]Reprints and further works


They are all ok and challenging enough. The endgame manual may be the most useful overall, but I haven't been through the collection.


Ask these guys


Hello ashi. In his book Chess Exam (2004) IM Igor Khmelnitsky recomends Endgame Manual by Dvoretsky for the A-player and Expert.  That would be the technical answer to your question.  However it might be a matter of opinion.  Bloggers here at seems to differ on exactly what rating suits better Dvoretsky's book, perhaps the results depends from person to person, I read a 2000 player said it was way over his head while a B-player commented it is quite alright for him.  In case you are interested current edition of Endgame Manual by Dvoretsky is 3rd (Russell Enterprises) and the available CD chessbase is 1st edition.  Cheers.


I do not like these books. They are badly written.

bronsteinitz wrote:

I do not like these books. They are badly written.

I'm not sure how you can say this... However, I feel some of these books are absurdly difficult. In my personal experience, Endgame Manual is very comprehensive from a theoretical standpoint, however, you will have to engage in other endgame study to gain "technique" or a feel for endgames. I also think that Training for the Tournament Player is a must read for any aspiring chess player.


How can I say this?

Well, I say this because I read some of them and am not impressed. He may be a great trainer, but I find that his books are not good. On endgames there are better books like Muller/Lamprecht Fundamental Chess Endings, or Silman Complete Endgame.

Example is his chapter one of the analytical manual : combinative fireworks ! which is just an overview of complex moves clearly resulting from Engine analysis. It is complex yes, but what does it teach?

Capablanca, Euwe, Lasker, Watson etc... are just better teachers.

It is too easy to say that his books are for the better players only. They are not well written. I play in a club with GM's etc.. and nobody really enjoyed these books.


Thank you very much for the responses. For end game I was thinking more of going through Silman's end game course in near future (next 1 year). From the comments above it doesn't look like the books are much overlapping or that the new series deprecates / outdates his old series. 

Any idea why Traning for the tournament player and not Technique for the tournament player recommended in one comment? Also what about Attack and Defence? Defence looks like something that has been relatively less discussed in chess literature.


Can anyone who's seen both editions comment on the difference between the original 5-book series and the newer "Secrets of..." series? It's not clear to me whether they're simply reprints with slightly different names, or contain new material.


NateSolon: The books in the Olms series are revised and updated from the Batsford series, but they are similar with the layout immensely improved. Batsford, under the leadership of the scoundrel Raymond Keene, went belly up, then changed a letter in the company name, and refused to honour the royalties to all its authors. Not perfectly up on all the details, but Dvoretsky promptly forbade the new Batsford to reprint or republish his books and transferred the rights to Olms. It should also be pointed out that Dvoretsky always updated his writing and his analysis constantly. He was very scrupulous in this regard.

BronSteinitz, 'The Analytical Manual' is more of a compilation of training material, than a didactic tour de force (he hints at this in his foreword). As for his merits as a teacher/coach, I guess it's a matter of whatever floats your boat. Personally, I genuinely like many of the authors you mention, but also enjoy immensely many the drier, less florid style of many Russian authors and coaches, such as Dvoretsky. Also, Dvoretsky's books are basically all extremely advanced.



Thanks for the detailed reply. So if I'm understanding you correctly, I should prefer the Olms editions in every regard.



The only one of his books got anything from was the first one "Secrets of Chess Training." From that one learned the topic of opposite coloured bishop endgames well enough to hold positions against players 100 points higher than me in OTB games. The others seem designed to make a topic as obscure and hard as possible. There are a few chapter exceptions, but rest seem to be for much higher rated than 2000 uscf. In fact there are stories of many of these books being returned to the uscf bookshop orginally the main source for these books in usa, 

Would recommend the Yusupov series of books instead, and also Hawkins book "Amateur to IM".


I would say, none of them.

They're appropriate for FIDE 2300+ rated players.


I've heard the same as Jackie.  That they're for advanced players.


Nate Solon: Yes, most definitely. The set I have is the 'School of Chess Excellence', and I find them highly enjoyable, although extremely demanding. Normally, I work with slightly less advanced material, but it's good to challenge oneself from time to time.

Dvoretsky's books are all extremely hard work, no doubt about it. But before dishing him, remember that very strong players like GM Jacob Aagaard (himself no mean chess book writer and chess coach), GM Peter Heine Nielsen, IM Jesper Hall (Swedish chess coach), and numerous others have dubbed him the best chess coach in the world. I'm sure there are others who could aspire to that title, such as GM Vladimir Tukmakov, GM Vladimir Chuchelov, and so on. As has been pointed out many a time on here, it's important to use the right material at the right time. I totally agree that before one even thinks of taking on Dvoretsky, less advanced stuff is likely to be of far more benefit, such as Jeremy Silman, Arthur Jussupow, Mikhail Shereshevsky, Jacob Aagaard and so on.

Unless you're absolute genius, like Bobby Fischer or Magnus Carlsen, with the ability to soak up everything you read like a sponge, and still be eager for more, there will be some rather tedious spadework to be done from time to time (or as Kasparov is wont to say: the ability to work hard is also a talent) if you really want to progress to the absolutely highest echelons of chess. Wesley So (who's currently working with Vladimir Tukmakov) recently said that he realized - despite being in the high 2700s - that he had enormous gaps in his chess erudition. Since he started working with Tukmakov he's progressed even further, but also complained recently of chess fatigue.



Dvoretsky's books are worth getting, they will make any player stronger by studying them.


"... Just because a book contains lots of information that you don’t know, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be extremely helpful in making you better at this point in your chess development. ..." - Dan Heisman (2001)

SeniorPatzer wrote:

I've heard the same as Jackie.  That they're for advanced players."

I haven't just heard this. I worked through most of a number of them, years ago.

Consider also, the students of his that Dvoretsky mentions when discussing positions/problems in the books, such as Rublevsky, for example, most of whom went on shortly to become, at least top 50 ,or even better GMs.



@ashikuzzaman, have you studied any of those books? I am really curious to read about your progress in these 5 years. happy.png (I see you're very high rated now).

I bought 2 Dvoretsky's books today, Endgame Manual and Analytical Manual. I'm really excited to improve - though have to admit the first chapter of Analytical is very complex indeed haha.