Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Stonewall History

When writing a chess book I am always careful not to turn it into an academic exercise. Chessplayers are looking for points not education and they are definitely not paying for history lessons. However, as an author you are obliged to do at least some historical research - even if the result has to be condensed into a couple of paragraphs in the final manuscript.

One of my small side projects when preparing a manuscript on the Dutch Stonewall is to trace the origins of the name. For the moment I know next to nothing. For obvious reasons I assume the name is a de
scription of the pawn formation and not a family name or a place. I suspect the name may first have been used about a black set-up after 1.d4 d5 or quite possibly about the white system 1.d4 d5 2.e3.

The development of the Stonewall ideas is of course something entirely different. First of all one may note that the formation seems to be relatively old. Among ChessBase's older entries we find:

A White Bird Stonewall:
L.De Labourdonnais - A.McDonnell, London 1834: 1.f4 d5 2.d4 c5 3.e3 Nc6 4.Nf3 Nf6

A Double Stonewall:
G.Walker - P.De Saint Amant, London 1836: 1.d4 e6 2.c4 f5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e3 c6 5.f4 d5

An Anti Bird Stonewall:
P.De Saint Amant, - W. Fraser, Lo
ndon 1836: 1.f4 f5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.d4 d5 4.c4 c6 5.e3 e6

The first modern looking example I have come across so far is half a century younger:

P.Lipke - C.Walbrodt, Vienna 1898
1.d4 f5 2.c4 Nf6 3.Nf3 e6 4.g3
This is the modern way to meet the Dutch. Now it will be a bit harder for Black to develop his queen-side.
After this move we have a genuine Stonewall Dutch.
5.Bg2 c6 6.0–0 Be7
This bishop development is how Botwinnik used to play the Stonewall. The modern interpretation is 6...Bd6 in order to meet 7.b3 with 7...Qe7, preventing the exchange of dark-squared bishops.
7.Qc2 0–0 8.Bf4 Ne4 9.Nc3 Nd7 10.Ne5 Nxe5 11.Bxe5


This was the classical way to bring the dark-squared bishop into the fight over the e5-square. P.Ricardi-M.Tempone, Buenos Aires 1999 continued 11...Nd6 12.b3 Bd7 13.Na4 Nf7 14.Bf4 g5 15.Bd2 with a small advantage to White.
12.Bxf6 Nxf6 13.e3
Only here does the game depart from the more recent encounter J.Grant-L.Haraldsson, Calvia 2006 which continued 13.Rad1.
13...Qe7 14.Qb3 Kh8 15.Rad1 Rb8 16.Rfe1 Bd7 17.Ne2 Be8 18.Nf4 Bf7 19.cxd5 exd5 20.Nd3 Nd7 21.Rc1 Qd6 22.Qa4 Ra8 23.Rc3 Qe7 24.Rb3 Rfb8 25.Rc1 Bh5 26.Rbc3 Be2 27.Nf4 Bc4 28.Qa3 Qxa3 29.Rxa3 Re8 30.h4 a5 31.Ra1 g6 32.Rc3 Nf6 33.b3 Ba6 34.f3 Kg8 35.Kf2 ½–½


The position is equal as Black's bishop is in no way inferior to its black counter-part. The g4-break achieves nothing for White as ...fxg4 and fxg4 will secure the e4-square for Black's knight.

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