The Stone Wall

  • GM arunabi
  • | May 12, 2011

by GM Magesh and GM Arun

 Screen shot 2011-05-12 at 7.37.13 PM.pngThis week we will study the Stonewall Defense. An interesting idea from black to use his pawn chain to build a wall-like formation that stops white from encroaching into black's territory. But, just as any idea has its own share of good and bad, the Stonewall Defense comes with its own sack of difficulties.

Today we will take a look at white's approach against this opening and what are some major ideas to seize the initiative. The real weakness of an opening like the Stonewall is the over-extension of the pawns. When you start pushing your pawns out early in the game you are bound to allow some weak squares and in this opening the 'e5' square becomes a target. Also committing your pawns on one color declares a lot of information to your opponent. In this case the light-squared bishop becomes a burden for black as his pawns would just be hindering his movement.

Our first game today is a strong display of positional skills from Grandmaster Vassily Ivanchuk. In this game he just follows some basic principles of the opening and you will see how that is good enough to sail home safe.



In our second game Grandmaster Kasimdzanov executes similar ideas and wins a pawn and eventually uses excellent technique to convert his material advantage into a full point.



Trading black's dark-squared bishop becomes a very important factor for both sides in this opening since it gives a lot of weak squares to be dealt with. Understanding such nuances bridges the gap between an amateur and a strong professional chess player.


  • 17 months ago


  • 5 years ago


    nice article dude , i will use this info for future games :) thanks 

  • 5 years ago


    cuz it is good

  • 5 years ago


    I like stone wall!

  • 5 years ago


    Ah the Stonewall, only good against stronger players and weaker players. 

  • 5 years ago


    The Dutch Defense:


    Nakamura plays it. Alekhine played it. Morphy played it.


    I don't recall any of them playing the Stonewall variation though. It's probably only good for a draw against strong players and against weaker players who don't know how to fight it.

  • 5 years ago


    and thats why i dont use it

  • 6 years ago


    Thanks !!!

  • 6 years ago


    I play the stonewall as white and win a very respectable percentage of my games !

  • 6 years ago


    I first thought the Stonewall was not very flexible or sharp. 

    And I was right!

  • 6 years ago


    Mastro, sometimes I wait on that - I don't normally put my king on h7 or h8, because if my h-file gets opened, I play something more like Kg7 or Kf7 to play Rh8, and get some action going.  

  • 6 years ago


    The dry stone wall.

  • 6 years ago


    Same, I wish there was a black win in there though :)

  • 6 years ago


    Hey, this is my opening! Very happy to see some coverage of it. :)

  • 6 years ago


    thank for the article,,, i play with my friend ,, he use stone wall,,, very diicult to beat,,, very strong walll hahhaha....

  • 6 years ago


    "Understanding such nuances bridges the gap between an amateur and a strong professional chess player." 


    I agree; however, since the vast majority of chess players are amateur or club players (including me!) the Dutch Stonewall is a perfectly acceptable fighting defense for Black.  There are a couple of recent books on the Stonewall (from Black's perspective) and don't forget that Botvinnik played the Stonewall frequently in his younger days.

  • 6 years ago


    The stonewall is my most favorite opening of all time. I love to use it against other players in every game I play; it is a wonderful opening to play as white, too. Thank you, arunabi. Can you submit an article of the bird stonewall, too? It would be great if you can. By the way, my avatar shows my chess soul.

  • 6 years ago


    i used to play the stonewall as white. i won a lot of games with it,but they were mostly long boring games.very cramped positions.i would never use it in blitz.some nice ideas here though. thank you.very good !

  • 6 years ago


    Could do with some rain,i guess

  • 6 years ago



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