01 December 2011

Annotated Game #21: Modern Stonewall Hero

As part of learning the Dutch Defense, I'm currently working my way through Win with the Stonewall Dutch (Sverre Johnsen/Ivar Bern/Simen Agdestein, Gambit, 2009).  I'll post my thoughts on the book when it's complete, but one of the more innovative things included is an exercise in each chapter.  In Chapter 5, the reader is directed to research and choose a "Stonewall Hero" from internationally recognized players, while in Chapter 6 the exercise is to analyze and annotate at least one of their games, only using an engine after you have looked at the complete game yourself.

Although for practical reasons I generally prefer using computer-assisted analysis for my own games (i.e. looking at them with the aid of an engine, but not just feeding a game to one), I stuck to the authors' guidance in order to maximize the learning experience.  It turned out to not be as much of a chore as I thought it might be.  The "bare-brained" analysis process did especially help to identify and figure out some of the "roads not traveled" (variations not played) due to tactical or strategic considerations; when looking at positions with an engine, the computer won't offer up moves it considers inferior, although their drawbacks may not be initially obvious.  I also found that I could get something out of the analysis process while looking at an unannotated GM-level game, which had also been a point of doubt for me.  After all, what could I bring to the analysis of such a high level game?  Enough to make it worthwhile, it seems.

I selected Artur Yusupov (alternate spelling Jussupow, which is how he appears in the database I have) as my "Stonewall Hero" because of his breadth and depth of experience playing the Dutch over a number of years. He of course has also been a close collaborator with Mark Dvoretsky on a number of chess instruction books, including Opening Preparation, which I own.  As luck would have it, I opened the first game of his in the Dutch and it was a win in the Stonewall.  I found the game itself to be quite interesting, following a major sideline of the Modern Stonewall and featuring a number of thematic ideas in the opening, which are commented on below.

[Event "WchT U26"] [Site "Mendoza"] [Date "1985.??.??"] [Round "11"] [White "Yrjola, Jouni"] [Black "Jussupow, Artur"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A90"] [WhiteElo "2500"] [BlackElo "2590"] [Annotator "ChessAdmin/Houdini"] [PlyCount "74"] [EventDate "1985.08.??"] [EventRounds "12"] [EventCountry "ARG"] [Source "ChessBase"] [SourceDate "1999.07.01"] 1. d4 e6 2. c4 f5 3. g3 Nf6 4. Bg2 d5 5. Nf3 c6 6. O-O Bd6 {the main line Modern Stonewall position} 7. b3 {a standard and flexible move. White can use this as a prelude to exchanging dark-square bishops on a3 (with a little more preparation).} Qe7 {the standard reply, stopping Ba3 for the moment} 8. Bf4 { this appears at first glance to be a dubious idea, but in fact is a major branch of the Stonewall. White exchanges off the Bd6 this way, enhancing his control over the dark squares.} Bxf4 9. gxf4 {The half-open g-file can be both a vulnerability and a path of attack for White, depending on how things develop.} O-O 10. Ne5 Nbd7 {also a standard reaction by Black to the presence of a Ne5, which should not be left in place too long.} 11. e3 {normal development, supporting the f4/d4 pawns and opening the d1-h5 diagonal for White.} Kh8 {preparing for later play down the g-file} 12. Nd2 {the development of Nc3 is rarely seen in the Stonewall, as the reachable light squares on the queenside are dominated by Black pawns.} Nxe5 {no reason to put off the exchange} 13. fxe5 Ne4 {A standard Black theme, which usually has the same result (a knight exchange).} 14. f4 Bd7 {in the Modern Stonewall variations with a bishop exchange on f4, the light-square bishop normally follows the classical Stonewall development pattern of Bd7-e8-h5, to assist in a kingside attack.} 15. Nxe4 dxe4 (15... fxe4 {it's sometimes difficult to understand which pawn to take with in the central formation in the Stonewall. Here it seems the d-pawn is better (as played in the game) due to the mobility of White's f-pawn and the additional space ceded to White (the g4 square), which would allow White attacking chances on the kingside.} 16. Qg4 {with possibilities for increasing kingside pressure with Bh3, Kh1 and Rg1 as well as play on the queenside.}) 16. Qd2 (16. d5 {doesn't seem to lead to anything for White.} exd5 17. cxd5 cxd5 18. Qxd5 Be6) 16... Be8 17. b4 {White needs to activate his play on the queenside, otherwise Black has an easier time of it on the kingside.} Rd8 {restraining the d5 push by anticipating the exchange of pawns on b5.} 18. Rab1 {as it develops, this plan is too slow and does not gain White enough on the queenside. He needed to start preparing defensively on the kingside; Houdini suggests h3.} g5 {now that Black's prophlyaxis is in place on the queenside, operations begin on the kingside with this thematic pawn break.} 19. b5 gxf4 20. Rxf4 (20. exf4 {would leave Black with a monster passed e4-pawn.}) 20... cxb5 {this exchange leaves the b-file closed and White with fewer immediate prospects, although opening- the c-file.} 21. cxb5 Rg8 { activating the rook to great effect} 22. b6 Bh5 {a multipurpose move - activates the bishop and connects the rooks, creating a tactical threat to exchange on g2. Notice the difference in Black's position after just two moves, now that his rook and bishop have sprung to life.} 23. Rf2 (23. bxa7 Bf3 24. Kf1 Rxg2 25. Qxg2 Bxg2+ 26. Kxg2 Qg5+) 23... axb6 24. Rxb6 Bf3 {right now one can't help but think that White should have played Kh1 at some point before this.} 25. Kf1 Qc7 {one of the Dutch Defense's strengths is its flexible play. Here Black is able to extend his initiative to the queenside.} 26. Rb4 Qc6 { very instructive how the Qc6 influences the kingside attack by protecting f3 again.} 27. Rb2 f4 {one must be prepared to play f4 boldly in the Dutch. When done at the right time, it is often the signal that White's position is about to crumble.} 28. Kg1 (28. exf4 Qc4+ 29. Ke1 Rxd4) 28... Bxg2 29. Rxg2 f3 { the nail in White's coffin, taking away valuable squares from White's king.} ({ Houdini finds} 29... Rxg2+ 30. Kxg2 f3+ 31. Kh1 Rxd4 {and the rook is safe due to the back-rank mate.}) 30. Rg3 Rxg3+ 31. hxg3 Rg8 32. Rc2 Qb5 {threatens to penetrate at b1 with check} 33. Kf2 Qd7 {time to swing back over to the kingside} (33... Qe8 {seemed a more obvious method; Houdini agrees.} 34. Qe1 Qh5 35. Qg1 Qh3 {and the pinned g-pawn will inevitably fall as Black can advance his h-pawn to attack it.}) 34. Qc1 Qg7 35. Qg1 Qh6 {forces White to guard h2, otherwise the queen penetrates.} 36. Rc7 Ra8 37. Rc2 (37. Rxb7 Rxa2+ 38. Ke1 Ra1+) 37... Ra3 {and White cannot save the e-pawn.} 0-1


  1. That "Jussupow" is pretty good! I didn't even know he was a Dutch defender, most of the games I've ever seen of his were from the Candidates and World Cup events where he used the more solid defenses like QGD Lasker, as I recall.

  2. He's had an interesting and long career with the Dutch (not just the Stonewall variation). The database I culled for his Dutch games has 56 of them spread out from 1985 to 2007, although the last batch from 2007 were blitz or rapid games; that's to be expected, though, since he'd retired from professional tournament play. He has some excellent comments on the Dutch in the Dvoretsky book cited.

  3. I would be very interested to see if inyour database anyone EVER played the Dutch against Karpov after he started playing mostly 1. d4. I would expect perhaps one game where someone tried to shock him, but for some reason the thought makes me laugh. I do remember that sometime in the late 80s early 90s the Dutch had a big revival at the GM level. I seem to recall that N. Short and a couple other top players took it up for awhile, and I guess Artur was one of them.

  4. That's a very interesting idea. So....

    There are 38 games with Anatoly Karpov in the database vs. the Dutch. Highlights:

    -- Beat Jussupow at Linares 1989 in the Leningrad Dutch.
    -- Beat Malaniuk in the 1989 USSR championship in the Leningrad Dutch.
    -- Beat Nigel Short in the 1992 Linares tournament in the Stonewall (a game annotated in the "Win with the Stonewall Dutch" book)
    -- Drew twice with Ivanchuk in Stonewall games (Tilburg 1993, Linares 1995)
    -- Drew Malaniuk in a Leningrad Dutch in the 1995 Keres Memorial rapid tournament
    -- Drew Spassky (!) in a Stonewall in the 1974 Candidates tournament
    -- Lost in the 1968 U20 world championship in a Leningrad Dutch to Bo Jacobsen
    -- Lost in the 2008 Cap d'Agde rapid tournament to Nakamura in a Leningrad Dutch

    According to the database statistics, White (always Karpov) had an average performance rating of 2690 and an actual average rating of 2728. So, while he had a strong plus score against the Dutch (+21 =13 -3, not counting an internet simul game), he actually underperformed his rating against the defense.

  5. Intriguing. It turns out that playing it agianst him wasn't some kind of death sentence. Not to surprising that he never, ever played it.

    One thing about 1. d4 e6 is, of course...the French! In blitz I usually like to throw the Staunton Gambit against 1. d4 f5. So black has to choose between some anti-Dutch things. The Staunton isn't really that fearsome, but I find it a good blitz weapon.


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