The stonewall attack is an interesting setup that you can use pretty much against any opening. Before getting into the matter, something important to say is that the stonewall attack is not an opening, but a setup.
It’s a certain configuration of pieces that you can use to approach any setup by black. The stonewall attack is that kind of setup that makes concessions in the first stages of the game.
But it also achieves certain opportunities for players to get the game into their hands. Another interesting fact about the stonewall attack is that you can play it both with white and black!
The known Stonewall defense is a different version of the stonewall attack, they share some ideas. However, there are differences, we will explain to you in-depth how to play the stonewall set up easily.
This is one of those openings where the ideas and plans that you have available are the most important to learn. Theory won’t actually help you too much in the stonewall.
If you want to master the stonewall attack read this post until the end, we’ll explain the most important ideas.
The mainline of the Stonewall attack
To get into the stonewall attack there is no straight path that you have to follow, it can go anywhere. There is no clear variation, we could reach the setup like this: 1.d4 d5 2.e3 Nf6 3.Bd3 e6 4.f4 Be7 5.Nd2 O-O 6.Ngf3 c5 7.c3 Nbd7 8.O-O and we have the stonewall.
We have to understand that what we call the “stonewall” is this configuration of pawns on c3, d4, e3, and f4. They form the stonewall, which has its pros and cons.
You can play it against anything, for example: 1.d4 g6 2.e3 Bg7 3.f4 Nf6 4.Bd3 d6 5.Nf3 O-O 6.Nbd2 Nbd7 7.O-O c5 8.c3 and we have the stonewall attack against the king’s Indian opening.
Now, some of the ideas you need to keep in mind are that we want this solid central structure. This will help us have excellent control in the game and will allow us to attack in different places.
The good thing about the stonewall attack is that it will allow you to attack both queenside and kingside. It will of course depend on the position, but you can go for anything if you know how to play the opening for the middle-game.
Plans and ideas of the Stonewall attack
There are some important ideas to keep in mind, and we will explain them with simple variations.
If you want to play the stonewall attack you have to be careful with the e4 square. As our e-pawn only reaches e3, e4 can get out of control, and we can’t allow our opponent to put a knight there.
That’s why you play Bd3 and Nd2 to protect that square, for this reason, you shouldn’t allow black to exchange the white squared bishop. Also, Be careful with the pawn advance “c5”.
You need to remember; you must be ready to play c3 whenever black plays c5. That is done to preserve your structure in the center.
You must be careful to play f4 and then Nf3, otherwise we will lose time. The whole point is to put your knight on the e5 square, and when you castle, your f1 rook can go Rf3-Rh3 and put pressure against the king.
Usually, this will go very well combined with the static center and the bishop on d3, forcing black to play g6. After you create weaknesses you can keep putting pressure or even push the g-pawn.
It’s pretty much the same story with black, all you should worry about is c5, if you can recapture with a pawn you are ready to go. The ideal is that if c5 is played and exchanged in the center, you recapture with the e-pawn, which will leave you with an open e-file. Like this: 1… c5 2. c3 cxd5 3. exd4/cxd4 to keep the center.
If you sense that the attack on the kingside will not be effective and queenside is weaker to attack, there are also plans. You can play Rb1 and push the b-pawn. Usually black will have a pawn on c6, if not, you can push anyway to open the b-file.
This is a typical attack that we see in the English opening, for example, the stonewall attack is very flexible.
Sample games with the Stonewall attack
Now the stonewall attack with Black!
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