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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Stone Master or Stonewall Master!?

Fadli Zakaria is a well known chess player as well as chess coach in Malaysia. He uses nick name as Stone Master. To know more about him you may surf his website at: .
I do not know why he uses nick name as Stone Master. As far as I know, the only 'stone' in game of chess is Stonewall Attack. There are not many chess masters use this kind of style in playing chess. If Fadli Zakaria is truly concentrates on this variation of playing chess, and then he is truly a Stonewall Master.
Below is a brief explanation about Stonewall Attack.
The Stonewall Attack is a chess opening; more specifically it is a variation of the Queen's Pawn Game. It is characterized by White playing 1.d4, 2.e3, 3.f4 and 4.c3, usually playing 5.Bd3 as well, even though the moves are not always played in that order (see transposition). The Stonewall is a system White sets up, rather than a specific variation. If White puts up the Stonewall formation it is called a Stonewall regardless of how Black chooses to defend against it. When Black sets up a Stonewall formation, with pawns on c6, d5, e6 and f5, it is a variation of the Dutch Defense.

General remarks

As the name implies, the Stonewall setup is a solid formation which is hard to overrun by force. If Black fails to react energetically to the Stonewall setup, White may launch a lethal attack on the Black king, typically by bringing a rook to h3, advancing the g-pawn, and making a well timed bishop sacrifice at h7. Often this attack is so powerful that White does not need to develop the knight and bishop on b1 and c1. Traditionally, chess computers have been vulnerable to the Stonewall because the positions are usually without clear tactical lines. White simply prepares for an assault by bringing pieces to aggressive posts, without making immediate tactical threats. By the time the computer realizes that its king is under attack it is often too late.

The downsides to the Stonewall are the hole on e4, and the fact that the dark squared bishop on c1 is completely blocked by its own pawns. If Black defends correctly against White's attack, these strategic deficiencies can become quite serious. Because of this, the Stonewall Attack is almost never seen in master-level chess anymore, although it is seen occasionally among club players. However, Black playing the Stonewall Variation of the Dutch Defense is seen occasionally at master level.

Black has several ways to meet the Stonewall. One choice which must be made is whether to fianchetto one or both bishops. Another is how to play the pawns in the centre. Black often meets the Stonewall with a ...b6 and ...Ba6 aiming to trade off the dangerous White bishop on d3.

Encyclopaedia of Chess Openings

Since the Stonewall system is used against a variety of Black defenses, the Encyclopaedia of Chess Openings has trouble classifying it. Among the codes used are D00 (when Black has played ...d5), A45, and A03, the code for Bird's Opening.

Sample game

This sample game illustrates what can happen if Black defends poorly.

1. d4 d5 2. f4 Nf6 3. e3 e6 4. Nf3 c5 5. c3 Nc6 6. Bd3 Bd6 7. O-O O-O 8. Nbd2 b6 9. Ne5 Bb7 10. g4 Qc7 11. g5 Nd7 12. Bxh7+ Kxh7 13. Qh5+ Kg8 14. Rf3 f6 15. Rh3 fxe5 16. g6, 1-0

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