Remembering the Great Mark Dvoretsky

The chess world received tragic news earlier this week when the Russian Chess Federation announced the passing away of Mark Dvoretsky at the young age of 68.  A minute of silence was held prior to the start of the Tal Memorial in his honor.

 

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Mark Dvoretsky, 1947 – 2016

 

Dvoretsky was a notable Russian chess coach and author for much of his life.  He was born on December 9, 1947, in the city of Moscow, Russia.  He graduated college in 1972 with degrees in Mathematics and Economics, and he retired from competitive chess early to dedicate his life to coaching.  He was well known for being a part of Botvinnik’s School of Chess.  But, before his retirement, he had a number of successful tournaments.  Among those successes were a victory at the Moscow Championship in 1973 and a strong 5th-place finish at the USSR Championship in Leningrad, 1974.

Dvoretsky was most notable, however, for his talent as a coach.  He regularly trained players such as Alexej Dreev and Artur Yusupov.  He also occasionally trained with the likes of Garry Kasparov, Veselin Topalov, Viswanathan Anand, Loek van Wely, and numerous others.

The author excelled at all parts of the game; however, he was most notable for his deep knowledge and understanding of the endgame.  One of his books, Dvoretsky’s Endgame Manual, is one of his most famous.  I, in fact, own that book, and I’ll admit that if I were to choose one chess book to be able to keep, it would be this book.  For anyone looking for instruction in the many intricacies of the endgame, I wholeheartedly recommend it.

We will go through some examples of studies that are included in the book. I suggest you try to come up with the answer to these on your own before checking the answers.

 

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Puzzle 1:  White to play and win

 

endgamestudy3
Puzzle 2:  Black to play and draw

 

 

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Puzzle 3:  White to play and win

 

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Puzzle 4:  White to play, find the best plan

 

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Puzzle 5:  White to play and draw

 

 

 

 

  1. Technique in pawn endings is important, as we will see in this example. Sometimes, it’s that one move you have to find.
  2. Some positions might not be that hopeless after all, as we will see in this example.
  3. Plans can sometimes be the difference between winning and not winning, as we will see in this example. Finding that decisive plan can help win games at the right times.
  4. It can be helpful to go back to the basics, as we will see in this example. Better safe than sorry!
  5. Looks can be deceiving, as we will see in this example. Never give up!

Hopefully, you enjoyed those mini-quizzes.  They are just some of the hundreds (maybe thousands) of studies that Dvoretsky has included in this book.

It was definitely unfortunate news to hear of Dvoretsky’s passing, and we already see some of the world’s top players voicing their thoughts.

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He was able to touch the lives of many players, from amateurs to the world’s top professionals.  Together, let’s all express our sorrow and our deepest condolences to Mark’s family and friends, along with anyone who knew him.  Rest in peace, Mark, you will be missed.

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