Mark Dvoretsky’s Chess Lessons


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Following on from our last post, featuring Mark Dvoretsky, it is time to take a look at his book, Chess Lessons.

Subtitled ‘Solving Problems and Avoiding Mistakes’ this book was first published by Russell Enterprises in 2018 and has just been augmented by being given the full Chessable treatment.

It is ‘a collection of thoroughly annotated games. Some of them are far from being exemplary, but every one of them, without exception, is rather interesting and instructive.’

Aiming High

Dvoretsky is aiming high with the material.

‘I hope that this book will be of help not only to high-ranking players at whom it is primarily aimed, but also to every reader who is serious about self-improvement as wishes to understand problems that grandmasters and masters face over the board and the ways they solve them; what are the reasons for errors they sometimes commit and how to avoid those mistakes.’

There are six parts to the book.

Lessons from a Certain Game

Positional Games

Discussions in the Opening

The King in Peril

Under Fire 

Games with Questions

Playing Out

Chess Lessons: The ‘Playing Out’ Method

The final chapter adds to one of Dvoretsky’s recurring training methods. The idea is to have students play out studies as if they were playing a real game. The positions in this book are from real games, making the selection of positions much harder, from the trainer’s point of view. The point is that chess studies – composed by experts of the genre – are ‘clean’ by nature, but the vast majority of over-the-board games are far from it, with numerous twists and turns at virtually every move.

This is the start of one of his examples.

Chess Lessons

Smyslov – Kuzminykh

Leningrad, 1951

Dvoretsky sets the scene…

‘I employed the position in the first diagram for training play-out more than once, offering my students to play White and opposing them with Black. White’s task is far from easy: out of several strong grandmasters, only Vadim Zviaginstev managed to solve it. Everyone else took the wrong path at some point or other.’

Yes, this is tough! What would you play for White here?

There are six pages of analysis on this game, which shows the book’s depth and also how much effort the student must be willing to invest on the road to self-improvement.

Mark Dvoretsky’s Chess Lessons is available NOW.

Chess Lessons

Serious about self-improvement? You NEED to study Dvoretsky.

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