I want to know what the differences are between "Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual" and "Fundamental Chess Endings".

I want to know also if these books are compatible, I mean, if I buy for example "Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual", it would be useless to buy "Fundamental Chess Endings" because they are very similar in his ideas or the examples that they show, or it is OK to have both books? I'm a 2100+ FIDE rated player, and that's why I want to buy these books, because I think they are for my level already.

  • 4
    It never hurts to have multiple endgame books, relevant for your level.
    – Herb
    Commented May 29, 2017 at 4:34
  • 4
    I have both. If you like chess endings, you should buy both.
    – SmallChess
    Commented May 29, 2017 at 5:08

3 Answers 3


They are both great, I agree that you should get both.

Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual is perhaps more instructive since it has slightly more explanatory text and tries to organize the material around rules for reader to learn, while Fundamental Chess Endings has more examples in about the same number of total pages. They both focus on practical examples from real games with very few pieces left.

In the end it's not the books you buy, but the work you put in, that matters.

  • Thank you to all guys! specially to you, Dag Oskar Madsen, who gave me the most complete and clear answer about this question. Now i'm ready to buy the two books!
    – kiko88
    Commented May 29, 2017 at 23:32

I disagree with the other answer that it's not the book but the hours you put in - if the book is off-putting and difficult to follow, it will affect your motivation to put in the hours required.

IM John Watson has a fantastic review of Dvoretsky's work which I recommend you read before committing either way.

I must emphasize that this is a terribly advanced work that I don't think is a very good way for the average player to study the endgame. The majority of the examples are complex and position-specific, and neither the average student nor even strong masters will follow or play over most of the hundreds of positions that are given extensive analysis, not to mention the subvariations derived from those positions.

He also contrasts this with Fundamental Chess Endings:

In my own teaching to average players I am still using Mueller and Lamprecht's Fundamental Chess Endings, which has a wonderful balance between Encyclopaedic coverage (I can find almost anything), examples that can be shortened at most points, and clear explanations that bring together endings of the same sort.

"Get them both!" they say and of course if you are financially so fortunate then you obviously can't go wrong with that, but if you are only going to get one, and are not IM level, I suggest get Fundamental Chess Endings first and then move on to Dvoretsky once you have mastered this (and have appetite for more).


The key difference between the two, I believe, is the use of key positions in Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual in Blue Print. Those become a "must know" subset of endgame knowledge and should be concentrated on first, and consist of around 200+ positions to study along with the excellent text explanations. I too have both books and use DEM mostly and FCE for references if I want more examples. There is also a considerable cross-pollination between the two with the same positions in both.

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