24 October 2019

Video completed: Studies in the Stonewall, Volume 2

This ChessLecture.com DVD, the companion to Volume 1, has five presentations on it, from IM (at the time FM) Valeri Lilov, IM David Vigorito and IM Mark Diesen. 


"Excelling with Modern Stonewall": Lilov presents Van Wely - Vaisser, from early in Van Wely's career. This segment addresses an audience new to the Dutch, explaining some of the basic ideas behind the Bd6 development and Stonewall pawn structure while enthusiastically talking up Black's prospects. The game itself is a 7. Nbd2 sideline, met by ...b6, with a typical plan of continuing ...Bb7, Nbd7 and ...c5. Black ends up playing ...Ba6 early as White goes back and forth with his knights. This is a good example of how strong the Stonewall can be when White does not follow an active plan.

"The Stonewall Attack":  This is an introduction to the Stonewall Attack for White. Lilov pitches it as a way to avoid having to know a lot of theory. He presents standard setups and attacking plans against Black's responses with ...e6 and ...c5, as well as ...Bf5 and ...g6/Bg7. There are useful explanations of some key concepts, including White's problems (such as the dark-square bishop), avoiding initiating an exchange on f5 that will open the e-file for Black, and the need to keep watch over e4. 

"How to Exploit a Good Center": the classic 19th century game Pillsbury - Henem is presented by Lilov. Pillsbury plays the Stonewall Attack, which makes it fit into the Stonewall theme, although the primary topic of the lecture is central control. It's not Lilov's smoothest presentation, and it's rather wordy in relation to the amount of content presented, but the ideas still come through.

"Ideas in the Dutch Stonewall:" IM Vigorito's presentation is a relatively in-depth intro to the Modern Stonewall, looking at primarily at 7. b3 (essentially the main line). It offers a cogent summary of White's main plans (exchanging the dark square bishop on a3 vs. developing on Bb2 vs. alternatively developing 7. Bf4), Black's old vs. modern light square bishop development options, the factors involved in playing ...b6 and tactical tricks after a White Ne5 are all covered. Excellent, systematic treatment of the ideas involved in the main lines of the Stonewall.

"Winning with the Stonewall Attack": Santasiere - Welch is presented by IM Diesen, who also goes into typical ideas and some of the opening alternatives early on. Although the game is one-sided (in White's favor), the general concepts (including some better options for Black) are touched on and well-explained.

Comment: the DVD doesn't attempt to present a coherent picture of the Stonewall, as it's a compilation of different video lectures over time. However, for a player starting to get familiar with the Stonewall, it's helpful in providing a reasonably thorough sketch of the main ideas, and I like the fact that it looks at the Stonewall Attack for White as well.

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