Saturday, November 30, 2013

Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual: Chessbase version

Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual could be the book to go next after mastering the material of the any of the basic endgame books (I recommend Silman's). The contents are systematic and highlight what is important and what's not. Ratingwise I would discourage anyone below 1900 to read it however as these players could profit more from focusing more on tactics and saving this one for later. I myself am enjoying Müller's and Lamprecht's Secrets of Pawn Endings at this time, but wanted to give a quick comment on Dvoretsky's anyway.

You might not be aware of this but there exists a Chessbase electronic version of the book. Today I give it a look at its pros and cons.


  • Costs about the same as the printed version
  • The positions are organized in standard Chessbase format. These can be studied one at a time as in the printed book, and can also be sorted, searched, edited, etc.
  • Dvoretsky's "precise positions" (ie the most important ones) are given a medal for easy identification. So are exercises, piece play and others. This replicates what he does with font color and formatting in the printed version
  • Engine support
  • Tablebase interaction (not checked this one though)
  • Ease of replay
  • The text color appears to be less of an issue here. Some complain the light blue text on the printed work is hard to read.
  • Each exercise is given a line of its own, which stops accidental peeking at the answers
  • Chessbase Endgame and Strategy keys which help zero in the material of interest
  • Has an included reader


  • The material is there, sure, but feels bit forced into the chessbase format.
  • The included reader (Chessbase 7.0 reader) gets the job done, but is limited in comparison with the standard Chessbase database programs; better get one of the latter
  • It is not clear what edition the Manual is for this version. My guess is that it is not the latest
  • Need of a screen. Probably this one the biggest one. Printed text & diagrams feel much better and portability could be an issue.

By the looks of it this version wins almost hands down. On the other hand, at least for me, a lit screen feels unnatural. On the third hand one is understandably justified in not wanting to expend double just to get the best of both worlds.

A compromise

There is a way of sorts to have your cake and eat it too. If you own the standalone Chessbase program or the light version, you can select all the positions from the games tab and send that to print. Using a virtual printer, such as DoPdf, you can convert the output into a PDF and transfer that to a e-reader. Unnumbered text lines won't print directly and must be done and sorted by hand (more on the tools here). Also, medals won't print, but you can get around this by pre-annotating each position with the proper medal info in the annotator field.


Here's how the medals correspond to the text as far I can tell:

Blue text: Most important positions
Light green
Light green+dark green
One move at a time exercise
Dark blue
Dark green
On your own exercises labeled '?'
Regular black text




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