Mark Dvoretsky RIP


Mark Dvoretsky (9-12-1947 to 26-9-2016)

Sad news today of renown Russian chess coach Mark Dvoretsky’s death.  Age 68. Dvoretsky was also an acclaimed author, having written more than 20 books, all of them popular.

I have most of them, and just this spring I started to read his latest series (For Friends and Colleagues)-not really anything chess-instructive about them–but that recount how Mark got into chess coaching when younger, and of the personalities that he met along the way.


I first met Dvoretsky at the 1985 Candidates Tournament in Montpellier, France where he was the official trainer of both Artur Yussupov and Alexander Chernin.  Four years later, in 1989, when I was playing Yussupov in the Candidates Matches in Quebec City, I had a better chance to get acquainted with him.

Two episodes stand out, even today, of that Quebec Match.  The first is that Dvoretsky needed a computer to access his files, but in 1989 it was against the law to rent or sell a computer to anyone Russian(!), and not knowing how to solve his little problem, he approached my team.  We rented a computer for him for the duration of the event!

The second episode is quite funny, and reveals Dvoretsky’s real nature, his humility and his warmth as a human being. Yussupov and I had drawn our first game, and I won the second game…the ending was REALLY crushing! (Yussupov had a rest day and then came back and levelled the match in the third game. After 8 regular games, the match was 4-4.  I lost the rapid tie-break game, and Yussupov advanced to play Karpov in the next stage of the Candidates)

ANYWAY, after the closing ceremony in Quebec City, Dvoretsky and Yussupov pulled me away for a few moments and gave me the following picture that they had taken in their hotel room after my crushing victory in the second game:



The photo shows the final position where Yussupov resigned, and the stuffed figure (red) shows how Yussupov and Dvoretsky felt! The photo also is indicative of the quality of Dvoretsky as a coach: it is never easy to deal with a defeat, but he managed to get Yussupov to see it as something other than a tragedy.

I will miss Dvoretsky.  My condolences to his family.


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