A lot of kids don't like seeing their opponents play 1. d4 when they are black. Why? It's slower and less exciting than 1. e4, plus it's less common, so most people don't have as much practice playing against it. If you hate facing "closed openings" (and that can mean 1. c4 or 1. Nf3 as well!), you might LOVE the Stonewall Dutch. It's an attacking opening, easy to learn and play, and can be used against all three first moves. What my students like the most about it is that you don't have to memorize long boring variations; you just have to know where your pieces go and some fun attacking ideas.
We are going to look at three games that show black's three big ideas and plans. Our first game shows a fun kingside attack where black channels his pieces over to the kingside, then bravely pushes his pawns. Notice how important black's g pawn is: it leads the attack, defended by the knight on e4 and the queen on e7.
A fun attack, right? Here's what you should try to remember:
1. The basic Stonewall set-up: f5, e6, Nf6, d5, c6, Bd6, 0-0.
2. The idea that you want to keep your good dark-squared bishop! It's much more useful than the light squared bishop, which is blocked in by the central pawns. If white tries to play b3 and Ba3 to trade it off, stop them with Qe7!
3. Your "bad" light-squared bishop can be developed with Bc8-d7-e8-h5 (the most common way) or by playing e5 and f4 (but that's harder). Your queenside knight often comes over to the kingside with moves like Nb8-d7-f6.
4. Your kingside attack can include moves like Ne4, g5-g4, Rf8-f6-h6 or Rf8-g8 if the g file opens.
In the next article on the Stonewall Dutch, we'll look at a different attacking set-up for black you can use when you can't bring your bishop to d6, and in the third article we'll look at how black can play more positionally on the queenside.
See you next time !