28 October 2023

Video completed: The Stonewall Attack in 60 Minutes


I recently completed the video "The Stonewall Attack in 60 Minutes" by IM Andrew Martin, part of the ChessBase series of 60-minute videos on openings. I would generally agree with the comment in the post on The Stonewall Attack, in that the opening analysis is "frivolous" but the example games provided are all useful. Here's a screenshot of the table of contents:

As someone who has studied many (perhaps most) of the Stonewall Attack opening resources available, I would say that the video content could actually be a good starting point for study of the opening, just diving in with some familiarization on key setups and ideas. Personally I found it quite useful in also fleshing out my thinking about the different types of opening setups reached, since Martin provides clear (if brief) explanations about things like piece placement and certain opening ideas. Specifically:

  • Martin gives pride of place to what he calls the "kingside smash" that you can reach as a White player if Black tries standard "solid" moves, reaching a true Stonewall Attack formation. Seeing several examples of these, involving both higher and lower-rated players, helped reinforce typical plans, how to place your pieces effectively, and how to take advantage of normal-looking moves by Black that are actually quite weak.
  • The seminal game Rubinstein-Reti (1908) is a fine illustration of how White can keep going with an attack, even with the recommended defense for Black of 4...Nb4 and exchanging the light-square bishop.
  • Martin presents two games each in the King's Indian / Gruenfeld Defense setups by Black, which feature the idea of an early b2-b4 by White and rapid queenside expansion as the best plan.
  • I appreciated the inclusion of a game with Black playing ...Bg4, which in practical terms has given me the most trouble. White however still has a straightforward way of dealing with this after playing Qe1.
The relatively short format of the video did not feel like a constraint and in fact helped encourage me to re-review the game presentations, since they ranged from around 5-9 minutes apiece. So I will count it as a worthy addition to my Stonewall Attack resources.

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