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On Mark Dvoretsky's books

Mark DvoretskyThe late Mark Dvoretsky, the great Russian chess trainer, is probably best known for his chess books. Most if not at all have been translated into English as well as other languages.

In this introductory page and the accompanying bibliography page, Tim Harding provides a personal guide to the various editions of Dvoretsky's books and offers some advice on which to buy.

For example, New In Chess only yesterday circulated an email offering for sale the third edition of his Endgame Manual but this is NOT the latest edition! The September European Chess Union newsletter had an article about Dvoretsky's books saying the last was his Analytial Manual published in 2008 but several more appeared since then.

So read this page before you order from anyone! It is quite confusing to trace the history of Dvoretsky's books because he had to change publisher twice, was often revising his works, and sometimes used the same example in more than one book.

The list on the bibliography page has been checked against the New In Chess website, a list we found on the chess.com forum, the website of his last publisher Russell Enterprises, and against the copies in Tim Harding's own library. There are three books that Tim has not seen, but it is evident what the contents are (by and large).

English-language editions of Dvoretsky's books have been published in turn by three different publishers. Most of the second set duplicated the first set (but with two new titles added) while the works from the third publisher are entirely different.

To summarise, Dvoretsky's first seven books were published by Batsford in London in the 1990s, and all but two were co-authored with GM Yusupov. Those five were based on the work done at a chess school for promising teenagers which was run by the two men from 1990 to 1992.

Since all seven books were reissued in the second series but with new titles (and some textual changes), probably only collectors will be interested in acquiring the original series.

After the collapse of the original Batsford publishing house in 1999, the second set of Dvoretsky's books in English was issued by Edition Olms of Zurich, in their "Progress in Chess" series, edited and translated by Ken Neat. These are the ones you should try to acquire if you do not have them already. (Olms also published German-language chess books under the series title "Tschaturanga.")

It would be the work of another day (or month) to try to trace text changes between the Batsford and Olms versions. The most obvious differences is that the reissues are in a consistent style, having had the same editor and translator, and are printed on better paper with a more attractive page layout. One drawback, though, is that the individual titles of the volumes are not printed on the spines.

The School of Chess Excellence series, written by Dvoretsky alone, consisted of new editions of two of the Batsford titles, but also two other books not previously published. The School of Future Champions series was an improved reissue of the five works co-authored with Yusupov, which also include contributions by some other players, including one by Vladimir Kramnik.

(In two cases, Tim does not have the Olms edition but he does have the original works from Batsford so is fairly confident that he knows the contents.)

Dvoretsky's third and final publisher in English was Russell Enterprises, based in Milford, Connecticut. Tim has all but one of these. Proprietor Hanon W. Russell informs us that he has in hand one final Dvoretsky manuscript which he hopes they can publish next year.