Stonewall Attack (Part 4)

Mar 30, 2011, 7:17 PM |

Hello all and welcome back to my Stonewall series. Hopefully, you've learned the set-up for the stonewall and its basics on part 3. Now, it's time to tackle black's defenses. As you all should know, the Stonewall is not perfect. If black chooses to defend annoyingly against it, then boohoo. Here are some things white can find very annoying:

A bishop on f5

The knight on c6

Pawn on c5 or c4

Pawn on d6 or f6 to protect e5

Castling Queenside

Fianchettoed bishop on light squares


I'm going to take a view on each of these today. First off, one annoyance I found when playing my games is an immediate Bf5 after 1. d4 d5 2. e3:


The Bf5 move prevents white from doing 3. Bd3 (Well, you can actually try 3. Bd3 but the outcome really sucks:


If you can't really analyze the moves, I'll explain them. 1. d4 d5 3. e3 Bf5

- Black tries to gain light sqaure space by immediately developing his bishop to f5. 

4. Bd3?! Bxd3 5. Qxd3

-White won't get a great advantage out of capturing with the queen. Qb5+ is threatened, so black is forced to defend against it.

5. ..c6 6. f3

White would love to do an e4 push. f3 supports it; if 6. e4?! right away, then Nf6 will attack the queen with tempo. 

6. ..e6 7. Qb6 Nc3 8. Qa6 =

Black's last move challenges the light squared diagnol made by white's queen, which eqaulizes the game. So, 3. Bd3 in response to 2. ..Bf5 is not a great thing. Instead, there's a move I recommend: 3. c4! This move suddenly changed the Stonewall Attack big-time. It is now a Queen's Gambit-like postion with the Baltic Defense. By moving c4, white pressurizes black's queenside light squares, which is a smiliar theme to the Queen's Gambit. If you're a successful QG player, then you're in luck! Otherwise, you'll have to deal with the transposition. Most likely, your opponent would decline the trading offer and would protect the pawn with c6 or e6. You can then add more pressure to the light squares by moving your light squared bishop to an aggresive square or moving your queen to b3 to attack both d5 and b7, which is pretty nice.


This is something that can frequently happen. But also you should watch out for the move c6, because if Qb3 then your opponent will counter it with Qb6.  If you trade, then you leave an opponent file for his rook if the c pawn takes back. But inexperienced Stonewall defenders might play Bf5. However, the next defense I'm about to show you is a bit more stronger.


1. d4 d5 2. e3 Nf6 3. Bd3 Nc6!


Just looks like some calm development of knights, right? NO!! You're wrong! This is the extremely aggresive zealous defense that experienced Stonewall defenders would use. First of all, the Nc6 moves prepares for e5 that will break white's stonewall. Second, it has access to the b4 square to harass the knight, which is a bad thing for white. But first things first. e5 is an even greater threat, so we should try and overlook (unbelievable, yeah) Nb4. f4 is my recommendation to the stopping of the e5 march. If you play the bad move c3, then e5 would be played. Why is this so bad? Simple. If you take on e5, black's knight will get a central post, your bishop is being threatened, and you lost your magnificent d4 pawn. Not cool. If you do a random developing move, say Nd2, then you'll just be constricted when black pushes e4, which will really suck. If you discourage the e4 push by playing a move like f3, then black can just ignore it and develop. So this is why c3 is a bad move for white (Just in case, there are boards on the bottom for you to look at).



The 2nd board you viewed (Just above this sentence) should be your main expectations. Like a double check, white cannot do anything to stop 2 things at once, so Nb4 is allowed. If so, then do not retreat your bishop to d2 or go anywhere else for, because you'll be tasting your own plans after

1. d4 d5 2. e3 Nf6 3. Bd3 Nc6 4. f4 Nb4 5. Bd2?! Bf5 6. Na3

Na3 is forced to stop the fork threat on f2.








The instant you move your bishop back, your opponent takes advantage of that (yikes). Your stonewall is getting kind of messy after that, so do not retreat by playing Bd2. Now you might be thinking, "now what? Bb5??" No, Bb5 would be foolish. Instead, I recommend you overlook this. Just continue your normal day developing your pieces (Nf3, Nc3, etc..). Also, I do expect my opponent to take the bishop. they might think, "Oh yes!! I have the bishop pair now and his strong light squared bishop will not be annoying any more!" I have to admit, I have to give in. And you'd all sigh if you take it with your queen.... with plans for beyond the game..... WAIT! WAIT WAIT! PAUSE THAT! You do not take with your queen!! Take back with your pawn (I know what I'm doing). Although you have doubled pawns, the weak e4 square won't be a worry for you anymore. So by coming into here, you're waving bye-bye to your original Stonewall plans, too.


-----------BACK TO THE Bf5----------- 


Oh yes, I did forget to mention something about black's zealous Bf5 response. After 1. d4 d5 2. e3 Bf5 3. c4 e6 4. Qb3, black sometimes plays Nc6! This line of the early Bf5 is a trap, luring you to try and get a draw. Why?



FREE PAWN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Would be your first thought). Actually, this b7 pawn is not so free. After the interesting Qxb7!? Black moves the knight with tempo to b4 my attempting a fork at f2 (Black's dark-squared bishop on f8 is protecting the knight on b4). You want to keep your rook, right? So protect it by moving Na3 (Like you got any other option). Now this is the interesting part: black will move Rb8! If you are simple-minded, you'd grin and say, "another free pawn!" You would happily take on a7, which is forced anyways. But now, the game is a draw if black is in a drawy mood right now. You know why? With Ra8, white's queen is forced to go to b7. Now black will do repetition on you and you just got a draw!! So if you do not want a draw, don't take the pawn on b7. 


Interesting trap, right?
1. d4 d5 2. e3 c5!?
Made by inexperienced Stonewall players, this is a very weak and premature response. However, this can snare you, too, if you're not careful! If you play 3. Bd3??, then 3. ..c4 would only gain space and tempo while you retreat your now bad light squared bishop. After c5, 3. c3 is recommended. I used to play Bd3 after that because if c4 is pushed, then I simply retreat to c2, still maintaining my precious diagnol. Say your opponent develops with a move like Nc6; now it's time for a surprising dxc5! White has gained an extra pawn and can play b4 because he can easily protect the dark squares:
c5, Bf5, and Nc6. What else do I have to cover? I bet you'd know this: g6!! I think g6 is very solid against the Stonewall because it blunts the bishop on d3 and it makes it more difficult to attack black's kingside. Very tough to crack. But NM Yaacov Norowitz, excellent Stonewall player, recommends the copycat trick. Fianchetto your dark squared bishop as well! Doing this will also give you some control over dark squares, and you can even trade it off which boosts white's advantage! One mistakes junior Stonewall players make is ignoring black's play. This is a really thing because white can't just go on making the Stonewall, acting oblivious to black's doings. White must also respond, too. If you are very comfortable to format your pawns and pieces, that's a good time to do it. Risking/gambiting while doing the Stonewall is a bad idea for white because white bottles p his pieces before getting into the bloodbath zone. 
Lets move on to a more advanced issue of the Stonewall: when black castles queenside. White MUST learn how to respond to black castling queenside or he will surely be clueless and wondering. After planning for the kingside attacks, you must be darn MAD that your opponent freely castles queenside. However, just simply shift your attack to the queenside if your opponent's king is there. With careful precision, you should be able to launch a queenside attack almost just as good as launching a kingside attack. This has the same concept as the King's Indian defense: attacking white's queenside. Doing a pawn steamrolling drill is great (just be careful of the weakness at c4 when storming the pawns), just be aware of your own kingside, too, as black can also launch a kingside attack, too. 
White should have a successful queenside attack he knows where to strike hard at.
Remember, if you have any questions about the Stonewall, feel free to send me a message; i'm not the best Stonewaller so I'll try my best to answer. Just 2 more entries till' completion!
--------CONTINUED ON BLOG 5--------