Thursday, December 10, 2009

Two More Stonewall Reviews

Yesterday I noticed two more reviews of 'Win with the Stonewall Dutch' on the net:

Donaldson's review focuses more on the opening than on the book. That happened all the time with 'Win with the London System' with a lot of reviewers stating that the book was fine but the subject boring. Fortunately Donaldson likes the Stonewall and quotes Kramnik's endorsing but slightly dated statements in Dvoretsky's 'Positional Chess'.

I found Peter Heine Nielsen's review very interesting. The great Dane is generally considered one of the best prepared GMs around. He has not been playing a lot lately but being a second for Anand and Carlsen is not less prestigious than some tournament wins. He points out that the Stonewall to some extent a Norwegian specialty and is of course right. All the early Norwegian GMs (Agdestein, Gausel, Djurhuus, Tisdall and Østenstad) played it regularly in the late eighties and early nineties (usually in combination with the French) and I think the main reason its popularity slowly declined in Norway was the fact that most of these players got less active on the tournament circuit.
Below you can see the original text (in danish) and my attempted translation.

En fremragende bog. Ud over forfatterne fungerer Leif Erlend Johannessen som rådgiver, og Simen Agdestein har skrevet forord og været involveret i kapitlerne med illustrerende partier. Agdestein selv har haft stor succes med den hollandske stonewall og beskriver godt de typiske planer. Stonewall er en strategisk åbning med stor dybde, og netop derfor har en af bogens forfattere, Ivar Bern brugt den med succes i kskak, hvor han vandt VM-titlen.

An outstanding book. In addition to the authors, Leif Erlend Johannessen has been an advisor and Simen Agdestein has written a preface and been involved in the chapters with illustrative games. Agdestein has had great success with the Dutch Stonewall himself and describes the typical plans well. The Stonewall is a strategical opening with great depth and exactly for this reason one of the authors - Ivar Bern - has used it successfully in correspondence chess where he won the World Championship.

Computerne tror oftest på Hvid, men forstår ikke altid de atypiske stillinger, hvor Sort måske har optisk svage felter og en dårlig løber, men i virkeligheden står udmærket. Ikke blot rehabiliterer de en undervurderet åbning, men de gør det med inspirerende kapitler bakket op med personlige erfaringer fra førende eksperter. Og selv om de vedkender sig deres inspiration fra Jens Kristiansens berømte artikel om åbningen her i Skakbladet, fornemmer man, at her videreformidles en slags fælles norsk skakforståelse.

The computers normally prefer White but don't always understand the atypical positions where Black has optical pawn weaknesses and a poor bishop but in reality has an excellent position. Not only do the authors rehabilitate an underestimated opening - they even do so by means of inspiring chapters supported by the personal experiences of leading experts. And although they admit being inspired by Jens Kristiansen's famous article on the opening here - in the 'Skakbladet' - you can sense that they are conveying a kind of common Norwegian chess perception.

Peter Heine Nielsen


Sean Marsh said...

Hello Sverre,

Just a quick note to let you know that your book on the Stonewall is featured in my article in CHESS Magazine (January 2010) on the best books of 2009.

The magazine is available here:

I've also recently added links to your sites on my blog and my Chess Links Project site.

Best wishes,


Sverre Johnsen said...

Hello Sean,

Thanks for informing me!

I will try to get hold of the magazine as soon as possible. I will probably visit my chess book vendor today but I assume chances are small that has it on his shelves already.

Your links are appreciated. Your chess book reviews are among the best on the web.

Sean Marsh said...

Two more mentions for your book...

Revolutionize Your Chess By GM Viktor Moskalenko has a section on the Stonewall Dutch and mentions yours.

The February 2010 issue of CHESS Magazine has a game played by Rajko Vujatovic against Korchnoi in one of the London Classic simuls. Rajko annotates the game; he beat Korchnoi with the Dutch and he used your book to prepare for the game!

Here's a link to details of the issue:

J said...

There is mention of Win with the Stonewall Dutch in Avrukh's upcoming GM Repertoire 2 book. He is recommending 7.Nc3 in the mainline Stonewall. 1.d4 f5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.g3 e6 4.Bg2 d5 5.0-0 Bd6 6.c4 c6 7.Nc3 0-0 8.Qc2 Ne4 9.Rb1 Nd7 10.b4 b5!?

"This very interesting attempt to stop White's queenside offensive was recommended in Win with the Stonewall Dutch."

11.cxb5 Nxc3 12.Qxc3 cxb5 13.Qc6!N etc.

Looks like Black players will now have to study 7.Nc3 in greater detail.

I read a bit of Moskalenko's Revolutionize Your Chess in a bookstore. Chapter 9 is the one on the Stonewall. "Win with the Stonewall Dutch" is mentioned along with Aagaard's "Dutch Stonewall", right below a photo of Aagaard :) Looks like an interesting book - the author is very passionate about leaving Bc8 where it is, and playing his trademark Nbd7, a5, Ne4 moves first.

Anonymous said...

ma sjekke:)