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Win with the Stonewall Dutch - 2nd hand

Sverre Johnsen, Ivar Bern, with a contribution by Simen Agdestein

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The Stonewall Dutch is a traditional favourite amongst club players, as it offers Black ready-made attacking plans on the kingside. As Grandmaster Bent Larsen has noted, the Dutch also has the tendency to 'bring out the coward' in opponents, giving it an added practical sting.

However, up until the late 1980s, the Stonewall wasn't fully trusted at grandmaster level, despite its earlier use by Alekhine and Botvinnik. Black's attacking plans were too one-sided, and White's methods too well worked out. The change came when a new generation of players, including Nigel Short and Simen Agdestein, showed that Black could handle his position in many other ways, including play on the queenside and in the centre, with the 'Stonewall' structure stifling White's attempts to generate play of his own. Agdestein in particular has continued to experiment with many new set-ups and move-orders for Black, and this book contains a wealth of new recommendations and suggestions based on this work.


Lesson 1 - 7 b3: Introduction
Lesson 2 - The Critical 7 b3 Qe7 8 Ne5!
Lesson 3 - 7 Qc2, 7 Nc3 and Rare 7th Moves
Lesson 4 - 7 Bf4
Lesson 5 - Lines with a Delayed Bf4
Lesson 6 - Early Deviations
Lesson 7 - 4 c4 with Nh3
Lesson 8 - 2 c4: Non-Fianchetto Lines
Lesson 9 - 2 Nf3: Non-Fianchetto Lines
Lesson 10 - 2 Nc3 and 2 Bg5
Lesson 11 - The Staunton Gambit and Rare 2nd Moves
Lesson 12 - 1 c4, 1 Nf3 and 1 g3
Solutions to Exercises
Index of Variations
Index of Players


I have for a long time been fascinated and mystified by the Stonewall Dutch. In my active years as a tournament player, most of the Norwegian chess elite played it - probably inspired by Simen Agdestein's successes. The system seemed easy to learn but yet I could never quite pinpoint why in one game Black was successful and in another completely destroyed. Having co-authored this book, a lot of questions have been answered and I hope the reader too will increase his chess understanding - not only of the Stonewall Dutch but of chess in general. The format is slightly experi­mental but we hope it will help involve the reader actively in the study of this unique opening.

 Work Distribution

When I first decided to write on the Stonewall Dutch, I contacted Norwegian Stonewall pioneer GM Simen Agdestein, who indeed was interested and at the first opportunity gave me a crash course, which was the basis for the first seven chapters of this book. Unfortunately, it soon became clear that Simen didn't have the time to give the project his full attention. Luckily I found the per­fect replacement - Norwegian Correspondence World Champion Ivar Bern.

The selection of games was to some extent influenced by Simen and later modified by Ivar. With a few exceptions I annotated all the games with the help of Mega Database 2008, Rybka 2.3 and Fritz 11. Some have later been reviewed and changed to the extent that very little of the original text and analysis is left unchanged. This is in particular the case with the games in the theoretically criti­cal lines and for Ivar's and Simen's own games (this is reflected in the notes, which are written from the players' perspective).

Except for Lessons 1 and 2 and for his annotations of his own games, Simen's input mostly was of a rather general character. When Ivar took over as the theoretical authority, he accepted special responsibility for the theoretically most challenging lessons: 2 (which was heavily rewritten), 4,7 and for the 2 Nc3 part of Lesson 11. For Lessons 1 (which had already received a lot of input from Simen), 3,6,8,9 and 10, Ivar's role was more that of a reviewer and advisor. Ivar preferred to keep his hands off Lesson 12 as he had little experience with it and - more importantly - because he had fundamental reservations against 1...f5 when White hasn't weakened his e4-square by playing d4. Consequently this chapter is solely my responsibility. I did, however, receive valuable input from GM Berge Ostenstad, who pointed out several areas in need of further research.


I want to thank GM Leif Johannessen for providing valuable material and for his help with check­ing the manuscript. This was done at a late stage, when it was no longer possible to make funda­mental changes, but was still of great help.

I must also thank 'Sjakkbutikken' and Oystein Brekke who in the hectic days before an extended deadline even gave me moves over the phone from books I had ordered but would not have in my hands for a couple of days.

During the entire process, Belgian Stonewall expert and enthusiast Helmut Froeyman was there as a valuable contributor. He was my main discussion partner in the early planning stage, found some very important resources for Black, discovered countless improvements on our analysis and saved us from some embarrassing mistakes.

Oslo, May 2009, Sverre Johnsen

  • Casa editrice Gambit
  • Code 5980us
  • Anno 2009
  • Pagine 223
  • Isbn 1-906454-07-8