Saturday, July 10, 2010

Chessville Reviews Win with the Stonewall Dutch

After a few long periods of dormancy, Chessville now seems to be fully activated again. Today I noted a review of 'Win with the Stonewall Dutch' by Bill McGeary.

As the reader can easily confirm, McGeary is fairly detailed and in general quite positive. I will just quote his conclusion:
I am sure that new ideas and valuations in lines have likely already come to light since the publication of this book, but it remains an excellent work for a player looking to bring the Stonewall into their armory. Because of the strength of the writers, and the complexity of material, this book might be a bit bewildering for players below the 2000 level, and even some above, yet it could well act as one of the steps along the road upward.

My apologies to my readers for letting this blog become a list of reviews of my books. Some genuine chess content will appear in the near future.


Anonymous said...

Well I wrote some days before but I don´t know what happened to my other comment.. I just wanted to say that I think the book is very good and the review is fine, too, but I don´t agree when it says that the book is for 2000 or above! I´m about 1400 and I like the book very much, in fact I now play the Stonewall and the French. I suppose I "fell in love" with the opening.

And the cover is very nice too!

I think the Stonewall is a good opening for people like myself who like to play chess but don´t have the time to study much. And since I played the Colle as white.. well, the Stonewall and the Colle are very similar..

Thanks Sverre for a great book!

What happened with the one that you wrote about in the "smallest repertoire" post?

Raul (Spain)

Anonymous said...

Hi there Sverre

I was wondering, does your book on the stonewall dutch cover everything there is to know up to now about the opening (regarding stablished theory)?

Im also considering buying "Play The London" from the other guys.

I mean, is it posible to put in one 200-250 pages book the "complete" theory of an opening like these 2 (London and Stonewall)? I hope it is...

Thanks for any information you can provide, Best Regards :)

Sverre Johnsen said...

Dear Raul,

I am glad to hear that you find the book useful also at 1400 level. I would expect you to see a lot of non-fianchetto lines?

You are right that the London and the Stonewall have some of the same feel. Both control the centre quite firmly and frequently allow you to pursue flank strategies that would be too slow in most other openings.

My book plans are more vague than they ought to be by now. I will return to the idea of a small repertoire book in a blog entry.

Sverre Johnsen said...


The Stonewall and London are relatively light on theory but no, I don't think it's possible to cover any of them fully in 200-300 pages. At least not if you add sufficient prose to make them 'readable'.

However, in that number of pages it's clearly possible to offer a complete repertoire for White in the London or for Black in the Stonewall. I would say that the two 'Win with the ...' books I have co-authored offers roughly 1.5 complete repertoires as they at some points offer the reader more than one option.

But even this depends on your definition of completeness. The Stonewall book offers advice against a lot of White's alternatives after 1.d4 f5, but I am sure you can find someone thinking that 2.a3 should have been mentioned or that 2.Nh3 deserved more coverage. The same will of course be the case at almost any point of the game, and what you reasonably can expect to find are the moves played by strong players and those suggested by strong analysis engines.

Anonymous said...

Well, I think that even the books that offer a "compete repertoire" for black or for white always leave some lines without covering.. It´s very difficult to cover every possible response! I don´t think it´s possible, too many possibilities! But If we did, then chess would not be so fun... It would become a matter of simple memorization and no creativity! Repertoire books offer responses to the most common moves, but not all! At least the few I´ve seen...

I also think that an openings book should be fun to read, apart from instructive, of course! I am only an amateur and don´t have much time for studying ( i work as a doctor and have chess -and other things- as a hobby). I like the Stonewall and the London books because you can read them "analitical style" or just read them like a normal book and pick some ideas for your games (that´s what I do). I don´t like chess books that are only moves and more moves.. I prefer to have some clear prose that explains the ideas and maybe two or three games as examples.. I also play the French Rubinstein. I know there are better lines, but I like this... maybe I´m lazy, or too busy!

I´d love to see the blog about the Smallest repertoire, it´s always good to know what other players think about this!

Raul (Spain).

Anonymous said...

I think that a player below 2000 can use the book.
Just focus on the ideas and not on variations!. As pointed out by Boris A in his Repertoire book 2, the Stonewall is solid. If a 2600+ GM can not find anything against the Dutch Stonewall, chances are your opponets will be struggling to come up with something...
I scored my first OTB win in less than 20 moves (against stronger opposition!)after one reading ( I was 1800+ at that time)

A Master to follow is V. Mosalenko who plays the Stonewall at high level.

I like the size of the book and the fact that the enfasis is on ideas! you can not expect a book to cover all the possibilities, after all the beuty of chess lays on the creative side.
Just a thought...

Sverre Johnsen said...


I agree that chess books should be readable. Chess is mainly about moves and I normally try to have at least one diagram and some chess moves on every page. But I also try to add sufficient prose and explanations for those who appreciate it. And in every book I try to add at least a little hint of humor. Unfortunately some of the prose must be deleted in the last phase of the writing in order to fit the text into the available space - it usually is easier to shorten a sentence than a variation.

The blog entry about small repertoires (and small repertoire books) will come, but it takes some thinking.

Sverre Johnsen said...


There is no doubt that the Stonewall can be played by players well below 2000. As a matter of fact I can imagine that Black will score even better at that level. However, it is possible that the ideas that score the most points at club level are not quite the same that score well at GM level.

In my opinion the most difficult subject in the Stonewall book is some move-order questions. But I can't really see why this should be harder to understand for a lower rated player. There may be some weak correlation between playing strength and skill at abstract thinking, but in general I expect a 1800 player and a 2300 player to have roughly the same mental capacity. The ability to use the concepts in practical play, however, is very different!

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