Please turn on javascript in your browser to play chess.
Only Chess Forum

Only Chess Forum

  1. Standard member Talisman
    Time traveller.
    28 Jan '09 17:57
    I'm thinking of purchasing a couple of books by the renound chess trainer Mark Dvoretsky. In particular his book the secrets of Chess Tactics and the one he has written on training techniques.

    The tactics book seems to be spoken of very highly and i'm curious to know if anybody has read any of his works and can give me a review.

    Are his teachings likely to be way over the head of Mr. average?
  2. 28 Jan '09 18:07
    Originally posted by Talisman
    I'm thinking of purchasing a couple of books by the renound chess trainer Mark Dvoretsky. In particular his book the secrets of Chess Tactics and the one he has written on training techniques.

    The tactics book seems to be spoken of very highly and i'm curious to know if anybody has read any of his works and can give me a review.

    Are his teachings likely to be way over the head of Mr. average?
    I have read all of Dvoretsky's early books at one point or another. I believe most of those in print just now are substantially the same as the earlier ones, just under a different name/series title!?

    Anyway, they are fairly 'high-level' books and although they are well-written in a style accessible to most players, I would hesitate to recommend them to anyone under about 1800-rated OTB (over-the-board).

    In my opinion (as a 2200+ OTB player who has studied them) they require a reasonably advanced level of chess to begin with, after which they will definitely help someone reach 2000+ level with hard study.
  3. Standard member Jie
    28 Jan '09 18:11
    The only problem i see with Dvoretsky's approach is the need to "eat" by writing so many books and then having version 1 or 2 etc. One could go bankrupt getting all of his books. Also if you plan on playing 2000 level opposition on ICC/Playchess/OTB there is much more to chess than tactics.
  4. 28 Jan '09 19:13
    Originally posted by Jie
    The only problem i see with Dvoretsky's approach is the need to "eat" by writing so many books and then having version 1 or 2 etc. One could go bankrupt getting all of his books. Also if you plan on playing 2000 level opposition on ICC/Playchess/OTB there is much more to chess than tactics.
    You have a point there Jie about the sheer amount of books/versions of them, etc. That being said, they are extremely good books.

    I remember a strong Scottish player losing a game to GM Bogdan Lalic (I think). Lalic 'came up with' a strong middlegame plan which his opponent hadn't considered.

    When it was pointed out that this plan had been discussed in one of Dvoretsky's books, the Scottish player commented that he didn't read Dvoretsky's books because he believed they were 'over-hyped' to increase sales!
  5. 29 Jan '09 03:45
    streetfighter is right, Dvoretsky's books are hard. In all four of his books that I own (the newer ones, not the originals), he always has some sort of disclaimer along the lines of, "you may not like my style, but I would not present the material in any other way". In other words, he would never water down his content or difficulty to make it more "accessible" to the lower rated player. According to him, chess must be studied truthfully, not dumbed down.

    With this in mind, you will find many occasions where he does not explicitly write out or even discuss certain continuations since he expects that you already know the why.

    For some of the "tragic comedies" (his way of referring to grave blunders by strong players) in his Endgame book, I had to keep playing through the position to find out why it was a blunder, because his explanation was so short.

    As someone who's not quite good enough to truly benefit from his material, it took me forever to get through one book and all the exercises. That said, I'd recommend them if you're willing to put in the hours of study and have a decent grasp of chess.
  6. Standard member Talisman
    Time traveller.
    29 Jan '09 10:19
    Originally posted by streetfighter
    I have read all of Dvoretsky's early books at one point or another. I believe most of those in print just now are substantially the same as the earlier ones, just under a different name/series title!?

    Anyway, they are fairly 'high-level' books and although they are well-written in a style accessible to most players, I would hesitate to recommend the ...[text shortened]... begin with, after which they will definitely help someone reach 2000+ level with hard study.
    Well that pretty much puts his books in the over my head category then.

    I have to say although my OTB game is slowly coming together the areas where i need improvement are msot definitely on the "OH I NEVER SAW THAT ONE COMING" front and proper use of study time.
    Hence my interest in the tactics and training manuals form dvoretsky.

    Allegedly his book on training techniques contains some good advice on how best to study master games and analyse your own games for improvement but if the material is likely to be that advanced i'm inclined to give it a miss.

    Can i just ask you about a book you mention in the reccomended furher reading section of Streetfighting Chess. Chess Combination as a fine art. It's only got the one review on Amazon but it sounds very interesting and is available for peanuts. would you consider this a better investment for one trying to improve Tactical vision?

    Thanks for the advice SF.
  7. 29 Jan '09 10:53 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by Talisman
    Well that pretty much puts his books in the over my head category then.

    I have to say although my OTB game is slowly coming together the areas where i need improvement are msot definitely on the "OH I NEVER SAW THAT ONE COMING" front and proper use of study time.
    Hence my interest in the tactics and training manuals form dvoretsky.

    Allegedly his boo a better investment for one trying to improve Tactical vision?

    Thanks for the advice SF.
    No problem Talisman,

    As for Chess Combination as a Fine Art, I would recommend it simply because it is a fantastic little book which inspired me both by the beautiful tactics it draws upon and also the very unique writing style.

    For improving 'tactical vision' I'm sure there are better, more structured books with many more examples and exercises out there (apparently the Polgar book is good but I haven't seen it), but if you want to fall in love with the tactical side of chess then Chess Combination... is perfect! It's my 'Desert Island' book by a mile -my own book is 2nd on the list, but way behind in the voting ; )

    Speaking of my own book (what do you mean we weren't?) anyone who wants a free pdf sample can get one simply by e-mailing me at andrew@streetfightingchess.com
  8. 30 Jan '09 01:12
    I just got his book on endgames. Excellent, accessible and provides insights even Rueben Fine, arguably the best writer on endgame technique, does not.
  9. 30 Jan '09 01:44
    Totally back up 100% SF on Chess Combination as a Fine Art.
    And he is not kidding about this being his Desert Island book.

    He carries it with him most of the time - he finishes it and starts again.

    When he told me this I went through my again - yes I recalled
    some of the positions, but others I had to resolve. Wonderful.

    No idea what my Desert Island book would be.......How to build a boat?

    (ATM most likely Tartakowers 500. 500 of the best games of chess
    from the 1820's to 1940 all with light and often humerous notes.)