The Battering Ram

The Battering Ram

23 | Middlegame

One of the main ways to combat the Stonewall Defense is to break down Black's strong central pawn chain with f2-f3 and then e2-e4. Assuming there are pawns on c4 and d4, the pressure on d5 will likely force some action, leaving the e6-pawn weak in a lot of instances.

In the following game I played a little over a month ago, my opponent, GM Yuri Shulman, surprised me with the Stonewall Defense. The opening discussion revolved around who could thwart the opponent's plans better - I played a setup that prepared this f3 and e4 central battering ram, while he prepared to diffuse that tension with ...dxc4 and ...e5.

Once I managed to execute my plan more efficiently, he turned to a flank attack, but the central pawn roller broke down everything in its path and opened up diagonals and files leading to his king.

Question 1: What would you play after 8...Kh8?

Question 2: What would you play after 10...Nd7?

Question 3: What would you play after 14...f4?

Question 4: What would you play after 17...a5?

Question 5: What would you play after 19...Nhf7?

And finally, here's the entire game in one viewer:

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