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com ==== ==== The Slav Stonewall [A84] We have not looked at many 1.d4 openings in this column, so for the New Year let's take a look at some positions that are also new terrain for me. First up, the Slav Stonewall from White's perspective featuring a Queen's Gambit move-order that transposes to the Dutch Defense. 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 3.Nf3 is another way to play. 3...e6 4.e3 f5 This is the Slav Stonewall. It combines the Slav Defense (2...c6) with the Dutch Stonewall (1...f5). 5.Bd3 Nf6 6.0-0 Bd6 7.b3 Qe7 8.Bb2 0-0 9.Qc1 This looks strange for White, but the point is to play Ba3 and take control of the dark squares, especially the e5square. This is recommended by Boris Avrukh in his popular book Grandmaster Repertoire 1: 1.d4, Volume One. 3...e6 4.e3 White does not aim to play Nf3. Instead, the idea is Bd3 and Nge2, with the plan of playing f3-e4. 4...Bd6 Before playing ...f5, Black develops a piece. 4...f5 Black usually waits to make this move to avoid the possibility of 5.g4!?, when White attacks the head of the pawn chain e6/d5 and takes advantage of the extra development from the knight on c3. A) 5...Nf6 6.gxf5 exf5 7.Qb3 The pressure on d5 and b7 makes defense a bit Purchases from our chess shop help keep ChessCafe.com freely accessible: ECO A by Chess Informant Dutch A80-A85 (CD) by Boris Schipkov Mega Database 2012 by ChessBase awkward. 7...dxc4 8.Bxc4 Notice that normally White plays Bd3 at some point, so the fact that White can play Bf1-xc4 shows that White has saved a tempo. 8...Bd6 9.Nf3 Both sides favor development over the check on f7. 9... Qe7 10.Ng5 b5 It is common to lash out when under pressure. This move only encourages White. (10...Rf8 is perhaps more tenacious.) 11.Bf7+ Kf8 12.Be6 Nfd7 13.e4 White opens more lines and protects the knight on g5. 13...h6 14. Nf7 Nc5 Black is already in some trouble, and, unfortunately for Black, this fancy move does not work. 15.dxc5 Bxe6 16.Nxh8 Bxb3 17.Ng6+ and White

wins a rook. B) 5...fxg4 This keeps the d5-pawn thoroughly defended and lets Black gain a tempo. 6.Qxg4 Nf6 7.Qg2 g6 Black tries to stymie White's influence on the gfile, but White has another way in. (7...c5 The answer to an attack on the wing is an attack in the center. It's an odd position, since White has the open g-file and is on move, while Black would have a better endgame. 8.Nf3 Nc6 9.Bd2 Bd7 10.0-0-0 This position is roughly equal. The situation across the board looks volatile. White can try to work with the open g-file and the e5-square, while the rook on d1 could exert pressure on the d5-pawn.) 8.Nf3 Bg7 9.h4 Why not try this? White has the center under control and Black has to struggle to get active. 9...Qa5 10.h5 Ne4 11.Bd2 Nxd2 12.Nxd2 Nd7 13.hxg6 h6 14. Qg3 White is looking at the d6-square. 14...c5 Black fires back in the center. The problem is, Black is also not castled and the c8-bishop is nowhere near developed. 15.cxd5 cxd4 16.Nc4 Qb4 17.a3 Qb3 18.exd4 (18.Nd6+ This looks tempting but allows the queen on b3 to communicate with the pawn on e6. 18...Kf8 19.dxe6 Qxe6) 18...0-0 19.dxe6 Nf6 20.d5 1-0, Sretenskij,NDykes, D/Dos Hermanas 2004 (38) White is winning and went on to win. 5.Bd3 This move is the first part of the planned set-up. White develops a piece and attacks e4. 5...f5 I recently had this kind of structure in one of my own games, which is how I became interested in it. This is the Slav Stonewall; it leads to interesting play for both sides and White's plan with f3 is currently the most potent approach. Black wants control of the e4-square and the open f-file. White wants to build in the center and attack Black's pawn structure. One way to do this is to exchange Black's dark-squared bishop, a main defender of the weakened d6/ e5 color complex. 6.Nge2 6.g4 is not as good now because Black is more developed. 6...Nf6 7.gxf5 exf5 Black is doing well. 8.Qb3 dxc4 9.Bxc4 White has lost a tempo compared to the previous variation, because the bishop on d3 moved twice. 9...Qe7 Black defends f7. 10.Nf3 Ne4 This stops White from playing Ng5. Black can play ... b5 or ...Nbd7 next. 6...Nf6 Black has a couple of other development choices. 6...Ne7 7.f3 0-0 8.0-0 In this game White castles kingside and goes for e4 right away. 8...Kh8 9.e4 dxc4 (9...fxe4 10.fxe4 Black is less developed and cramped. Black does not want to take back on e4, since Black would end up with an isolated e-pawn.) 10.Bxc4 e5 This looks suspect to me, since White is more developed. 11.dxe5 Bxe5 12.Qxd8 Rxd8 13.Bg5 Re8 14.Rad1 White's pressure on the d-file and f-pawn, and development gives White the better chances. 6...Qh4 is an odd-looking move. However, it does stop 0-0 and f3. 7.Nf4 Nf6 8.g3 White changes gears and aims to take advantage of the black queens absence from the queenside. 8...Qh6 9.h4 Ne4 10.Nxe4 fxe4 11.Be2 0-0 12. Bd2 Nd7 13.Qb3 Qf6 14.Bb4 Qe7 15.Bxd6 Qxd6 16.a4 White has achieved

one of the main strategic aims, exchanging the dark-squared bishops, and an unbalanced position has arisen. White can probably castle or stay in the center, and use the b-file. 7.f3 White prepares to play e4 and may aim to attack the kingside. 7...0-0 Black gets castled before undertaking any other operations. 8.Qc2 White attacks the e4-square with yet another piece and keeps the position flexible. White may castle queenside or kingside depending on the flavor of the play. Black has several good choices here. 8...Na6 Black develops a piece, puts more influence on the c5-square, and aims for queenside play. 8...Kh8 In this variation, we will see Black try the move ...a6 with no ...b5. Black starts with ...Kh8, staying flexible and getting off the a2-g8 diagonal. A) 9.0-0 Kramnik chose to castle kingside in this game. In the game with 9. Bd2, Carlsen chose to castle queenside. You decide. 9...a6 10.c5 Bc7 11.Bd2 Nbd7 12.b4 Kramnik expands on the queenside and aims his forces at the choppy Black pawn structure. The dark squares have no pawn defenders. 12... b6 While this lets Black breathe a little, it also opens the b-file, which Kramnik uses to his advantage. 13.Na4 bxc5 If Black had advanced to b5, White may have retreated and played a4. 14.bxc5 a5 15.Rab1 g6 16.Nb6 Bxb6 17.cxb6 Now with all the open lines White is much better. 17...Bb7 18. Nc3 c5 19.dxc5 Nxc5 20.Be2 Rc8 21.Qb2 d4 22.exd4 Qxd4+ 23.Kh1 Nd3 24. Bxd3 Qxd3 25.Bh6 Rf7 26.Nb5 Rc2 27.Qe5 Qe2 28.Qxe2 Rxe2 29.Nd6 Kg8 30.Nxf7 Kxf7 31.Rfd1 Rxa2 32.Rd8 1-0, Kramnik,V-Tregubov,P/France 2002. B) 9.Bd2 a6 10.c5 Bc7 11.0-0-0 White prefers a sharper approach and reserves the chance for a kingside attack. 11...e5 Black gets space for the army. However this also gives White the d4-square. 12.dxe5 Bxe5 13.f4 Bc7 14.Nd4 Ne4 Black defends the f-pawn. 15.Nxe4 fxe4 16.Be2 b6 17.cxb6 Bxb6 18.Bb4 White has the opportunity to play on both the queenside and the kingside. 18... Rf6 19.Kb1 a5 20.Bc3 Ba6 21.g4 Bxe2 22.Qxe2 Nd7 23.g5 Bxd4 24.Bxd4 (24.gxf6? Bxc3 25.bxc3 Qxf6 Now Black has all the play.) 24...Rd6 25.h4 Qf8 26.h5 Kg8 27.Qg4 White's initiative becomes overwhelming and he wins after a long endgame. 27...Re8 28.Rhf1 c5 29.Be5 Rde6 30.Bc3 d4 31.exd4 e3 32.d5 Re4 33.Rfe1 Ne5 34.Bxe5 R8xe5 35.Rxe3 Rxf4 36.Qe2 Qf5+ 37. Ka1 Rd4 38.Re1 Rxe3 39.Qxe3 Rxd5 40.a3 Qd7 41.Qb3 a4 42.Qc4 Kf8 43. Ka2 Rf5 44.Ka1 Rd5 45.Rc1 Ke7 46.g6 hxg6 47.hxg6 Kf6 48.Qc2 Rf5 49. Rd1 Qc6 50.Rg1 Qd7 51.Rd1 Qc6 52.Rg1 Qd7 53.Qc4 Re5 54.Qh4+ Ke6 55. Qg4+ Ke7 56.Qh4+ Kd6 57.Rd1+ Rd5 58.Qf4+ Kc6 59.Qxa4+ Kc7 60.Qa7+ Kc6 61.Qa8+ 1-0, Carlsen,M-Ivanchuk,V/Leon 2009. 8...Qe7 This variation shows Black playing for calm development and ...e5. 9.0-0 Kh8 Black seems to be trying for ...e5, so White exchanges pawns in the

center. 10.cxd5 cxd5 11.Nb5 Nc6 12.Nxd6 Qxd6 White achieves the exchange of Black's dark-square bishop. 13.a3 Bd7 14.b4 Rac8 15.Qd2 a6 16. Bb2 White can aim for the weakened c5-square. 8...Nbd7 Black aims for natural development. 9.Bd2 dxc4 10.Bxc4 Nb6 11. Bb3 This is about equal. White will castle queenside and plan for g4 or e4. 8...a6 0 9.Bd2 b5 We will investigate this idea in the first illustrative game. 9.a3 White stops ...Nb4 and prepares for queenside expansion. 9...dxc4 This is currently the fashionable plan. 9...Kh8 10.cxd5 If Black is staying flexible and not playing ...a6, then exchanging in the center and trying to exchange the black dark-squared bishop seems like a good plan. 10...cxd5 11.Nb5 Bb8 12.Bd2 Bd7 13.a4 Qe7 14.Qb3 Bc6 15.0-0 Rg8 Here we see Black try to execute a typical plan: attack the kingside. 16.Qa3 Qe8 17.Be1 g5 18.Bg3 This attack is not too dangerous if White can get the dark-squares. 18...Bxg3 19.Nxg3 g4 20.Ne2 Rg6 21.Nf4 Rh6 22.Rac1 e5 Black may have been feeling a little desperate and totally weakens his position. 23.Nd6 Qg8 24.dxe5 gxf3 25.exf6 fxg2 26. Rf2 d4 27.Rxc6 bxc6 28.Bc4 1-0, Ibragimov,I-Schubert,S/Berlin 1997. 9...Bd7 10.Bd2 Nc7 11.0-0 b6 Black holes up on the queenside. 12.b4 Nce8 13.h3 Nh5 14.e4 The e4-break is also a thematic motif. Black's weak structure becomes apparent. 14...Qh4 15.Be1 Qg5 16.e5 White is about to open the cfile and really press Black. 9...Nc7 10.0-0 e5 This does not work out well because of tactical reasons. 11. c5 e4 12.cxd6 Qxd6 Cute, because the d3-bishop is trapped, but White ends up up a pawn. 13.fxe4 fxe4 14.Nxe4 Nxe4 15.Rxf8+ Kxf8 16.Bxe4 dxe4 17. Qxe4. 10.Bxc4 b5 Black gains space on the queenside and seeks counterplay on the weak squares that White normally targets. 11.Bd3 White retreats to d3 in order to keep control on e4. 11...Bd7 Black finishes developing the minor pieces. 12.Bd2 We have transposed into the game Koneru-Suvrajit, Mumbai 2009, which we will look at in the second illustrative game. The Slav Stonewall is not very popular but it promises good play for both sides. Gaprindashvili, Valerian (2414) Martinez Torho, Jorge (2121) 19th Villa de Benasque op (10), 1999 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 f5 4.e3 c6 5.Bd3 Nf6 6.Nge2 Bd6 7.f3 0-0 8.Qc2 a6 9. Bd2 b5 Black aims for very active play right away. The drawback is clear: Black normally has a lot of pawns on light squares, and in this position he has succeeded in putting seven out of eight pawns on the light squares. 10.b3 Nbd7 11.c5

White starts to turn the screws. As we will see, White gains more space, closes the position, and then goes after the black king in a way we have not yet seen. 11...Bc7 Black keeps the bishop on the nice diagonal. 12.0-0 Castling queenside would walk into ...a5-a4. 12...g6 Black protects the f-pawn to try for ...e5, but by placing the eighth pawn on a light square, the dark squares are very tender. 12...Kh8 13.Nf4 Qe7 14.b4 g5 and Black should try to play the typical moves of attacking the White kingside. White still stands a little better. 13.e4! Now ...e5 is impossible. Black becomes paralyzed and it is hard to break out of the bind. 13...Bb7 13...dxe4 Black has to create some space, otherwise the bind White creates looks too strong. 14.fxe4 a5. 14.e5 Ne8 15.Qc1 White zeroes in on the dark squares. We see a kingside attack in this game. 15...Ng7 16.Bg5 Qe8 17.a3 Bd8 18.h4 Kf7 The king cannot even escape, because the h-pawn has no defenders. 19.Bxd8 Qxd8 20.Qh6 Kg8 21.Nf4 Qe7 22.Nce2 a5 23.h5 Nxh5 24.Nxh5 gxh5 25.Nf4 Rae8 26.b4 a4 27.Kf2! The h-file becomes a new source of pain for Black. 27...Rf7 28.Rh1 Rg7 29.Rxh5 Nf8 30.Rah1 The game becomes reminiscent of the famous game where White choked his opponent with the queen and two rooks all on the h-file. 30...Rc8 31.R5h4 Kh8 32.g4 fxg4 33.Nh5 g3+ 34.Kg2 Rc7 35.Nxg7 Qxg7 36.Rf4 Rc8 37.Rxf8+ 1-0 Black resigned, because he will be down an entire piece after 37...Rxf8 38. Qxg7 and 39.Rxh7, skewering the king and the b7-bishop. Koneru, Humpy (2612) Suvrajit, Saha (2380) 2nd Mayors Cup Mumbai (9), 08.05.2009 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 f5 4.e3 Nf6 5.Bd3 Bd6 6.Nge2 c6 7.f3 0-0 8.Qc2 Na6 9.a3 dxc4 10.Bxc4 b5 11.Bd3 Bd7 12.Bd2 Here is where we left off in the theory section. Black is active and White will be unable to get the bind we saw in the previous game. 12...Qb8 13.e4 I found this game very interesting because White has to play actively, while also dealing with the decision of how to handle king placement. Any option looks dangerous, so Koneru does not spend time and opens the center. 13...fxe4 Black opens the f-file and lets White decide how to recapture. Positionally

this decision is okay, but it is tactically flawed. 13...c5 14.exf5 c4 15.Be4 Nxe4 16.fxe4 is roughly equal, a fight with imbalances and equal chances. White has an extra pawn and nice center control, while Black has the bishop-pair and White's king is still in the center. 14.Nxe4 Another interesting positional decision. White keeps the f-file closed, while giving herself an isolated d-pawn. This also gives White an open e-file to attack Black's isolated e-pawn. Tactically this move is correct. White is threatening 15.Nxf6 and 16.Bxh7+, and the d6-bishop. 14...Nxe4 14...h6 15.Nxd6 Qxd6 16.Bf4 giving White the dark squares would be suicide. 15.Bxe4 15...h6 At first glance, it seems that White cannot take on c6. 16.Bxc6! It gets a bit sticky for White, but the extra pawn is worth it. 16...Rc8 The expected reply. 17.d5 This is the saving rejoinder. 17...exd5 17...Bxc6 Black can try to recover the pawn, but it turns out that it is a hard business. 18.dxc6 Qb6 19.Rc1 Nb8 20.Qe4 Black has too many weaknesses. 18.Bxd5+ Kh8 19.Bc3 b4 This looks like it could be promising, given that the white king is still in the center, but White remains calm. 20.axb4 Nxb4 21.Qd2 21...Rxc3 Practically forced because of White's threat. 21...Nxd5? 22.Qxh6+ Kg8 23. Qxg7# 22.bxc3 Bf5 Black attacks the c2-square. 23.0-0 Finally White castles! And now White is totally winning. 23...Qb6+ 24.Kh1 Nxd5 25.Qxd5 White is ahead a pawn and the exchange with a weak black king. 25...Rf8 26.Nd4 Bg6 27.Rfd1 Rf6 28.Qa8+ Bb8 29.Ne2 Kh7 30.Qd5 Rf5 31. Qd8 Bc7 32.Qd4 Qe6 33.Ng3 Bxg3 34.hxg3 Rxf3 35.Rxa7 35.gxf3 It turns out that this is still winning, but it looks like Black has chances for perpetual check. Why take risks? 35...Qh3+ 36.Kg1 Qxg3+ 37. Kf1 Qxf3+ 38.Qf2 Qh3+ 39.Qg2 Qxc3 40.Ra2. 35...Rf6 36.Qd7 Bf7 37.Qxe6 Bxe6 38.Kh2 h5 39.Rd6 Kg6 40.Rc7 Bg4 41. Rxf6+ Kxf6 42.Kg1 g6 43.Kf2 Ke5 44.Ke3 Bf5 45.Rc5+ 1-0 In each illustrative game, the player on the black side was lower-rated, but

they made mistakes that we can learn from. Lessons Learned ? The main positional considerations for White are playing in the center with e4 and/or attacking Black's weak squares on the queenside. White also tries to exchange Black's dark-squared bishop. Normally White castles kingside in quieter positions. ? White is pretty secure tactically, since when Black lashes out with ...c5 or ...e5, White's development and Black's shaky structure make the timing of these moves very difficult. ? If the position becomes sharp, White has the option of castling queenside and trying for a kingside attack. Practitioners These players play the Bd3/Nge2/f3 plan against the Slav Stonewall. ? Nikolai Sretenskij is an international master from Russia. He had one of the most decisive games in this variation. ? Vladimir Kramnik is a former World Champion. He has many interests besides chess and stresses the artistic side of chess. ? Humpy Koneru is a grandmaster from India. She was a challenger in the Women's World Chess Championship 2011. Bibliography ? Grandmaster Repertoire 1: 1.d4, Volume One by Boris Avrukh (Quality Chess, 2009). ==== ==== If You Want to Improve Chess Check this out: www.ajedrezdesdematamoros.blogspot.com ==== ====