Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Dutch Stonewall

It now seems clear that my next book project will be on the Dutch Stonewall. No contracts or written agreements are yet in place, so details must wait, but it seems that my co-author will be one of the real experts.

The Stonewall was the height of fashion in the late eighties and early nineties. It featured in the repertoire of many top players, including Kramnik, Short, Ivanchuk, Bareev, Jussupow, Dolmatov and Agdestein. The main discovery was that Black could develop his bishop to d6, rather than to e7 as Botwinnik had done in the fifties.

This position, normally arising from the move-order 1.d4 e6 2.Nf3 f5 3.g3 Nf6 4.Bg2 d5 5.0-0 Bd6 6.c4 c6, became the main focus of the debate:

Black has weaknesses but he also has a solid position, space and an easy plan for development. Quite frequently Black will be able to generate a kingside attack.

Obviously White too has his chances. They may even be slightly preferable but that's the nature of chess.

White's two main continuations are 7.b3, planning to exchange dark-squared bishops with Ba3, and 7.Bf4, which achieves an immediate exchange of bishops at the price of a slight weakening of his kingside.

It's not clear why the Stonewall's popularity slowly declined. To some extent it may have been a question of fashion's whims. Also many of the original aficionados retired from competitive chess or at least became less active on the tournament scene. But this doesn't seem to completely explain the development.

For the moment my theory is that the Dutch Stonewall declined in popularity because the French defence did the same. The Dutch defence (or rather counter-attack) is much easier to play if you can confidently meet 1.d4 with 1...e6, but that's only an option if you don't fear 2.e4. So one of the main goals of the book must be to show that 1.d4 f5 is a perfectly valid move-order.


Anonymous said...


I have several questions about the Dutch Defense and your upcoming book on the Dutch Stonewall.

1. What are you going to recommend agaisnt the London System, 2 Bf4?

2. Do any of the Dutch books that cover alternatives to the main line mention 2 Bf4? The Dutch books that I know about that cover alternatives to the main line are:

* Starting Out: The Dutch Defense by Neil McDonald
* Play the Classical Dutch by Simon Williams
* Classical Dutch by Jan Pinski
* Understanding the Leningrad Dutch by Valeri Beim
* Dutch Defense by Nikolay Minev and John Donaldson
* Dutch Leningrad by Neil McDonald (I am not sure if this book covers alternatives to the main line)

3. When will your Dutch Stonewall book be released?

Sverre Johnsen said...

1) 2.Bf4, together with 2.Nf3 followed by 3.Bf4 will be rather minor lines in the book. I have suggested some lines for Black but we have not done any serious work on White's rare 2nd moves yet, and quite likely my co-author has not yet examined these lines. All I can say is that we are not likely to recommend a Stonewall set-up against it.
2) I don't have all of these books available here. I remember that William's and Pinski give some very short lines against 2.Bf4. So does Kindermann's "LENINGRAD SYSTEM: A Complete Weapon against 1.d4", which in my opinion is the best book on the Leningrad.
3) We now have signed a contract with Gambit Publishing. Based on my previous experience I would say that our deadline indicates that the book should be available in Europe around mid-October. However, there are several factors which may influence the process.

Bill said...

I'm looking forward to seeing your book. I think the Stonewall is underrated as a defense (for a change from the NID/QID/Bogo, via the 1...e6 move order), and I like to use it against the flank openings as well.

Sverre Johnsen said...

Hi Bill,

Your interest is appreciated!

The book is now taking shape, and there will indeed be material on the flank openings 1.c4, 1.Nf3 and 1.g3. We still cannot say whether we must attach a health warning or not but for the moment it looks quite promising.

Anonymous said...

Recently I noticed a new DVD by Andrew Martin called Beating the Anti-Dutch Systems and I saw that it covers 2 Bf4. I was wondering if you are using this DVD as a source for your Dutch book and if you are, could you tell us what his coverage of 2 Bf4 is like?


Keep up the good work Sverre!

Sverre Johnsen said...

I don't have his DVD and don't really intend to buy it. Are you sure these Foxy DVDs are new DVDs -not just old Videos transferred to a new format?

I believe I saw a video by Martin on this roughly ten years ago and seem to remember it mainly concentrated on 2.Bg5, 2.Nc3 and 2.e4.

By the way there is an old book by Martin - The Contemporary Anti-Dutch - which I used to own. I have considered getting hold of it again, just to make sure I am not missing something essential But I hate buying a copy number two of a book and have decided against it.

The sidelines can be dangerous if Black is unprepared or if White has the better understanding but in our Stonewall book we must after all concentrate on the mainlines with g3, c4 and Nf3. This is where White can create genuine theoretical challenges.