Erwin L'Ami's Stonewall Dutch - Cutting edge theory

by Albert Silver
2/2/2017 – In round twelve of Tata Steel, Magnus Carlsen once more played the Dutch Stonewall, an opening he has returned to more and more often, and played a very precise move order. What is special is that this is cutting edge theory that is also presented in this DVD, released just days before that game. In this treatise on the extremely solid opening, GM Erwin L'Ami shares the results of his deep investigation, including new ideas and special move orders.

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Every great player has had an opening or two that seemed to bear their special hallmark. It wasn’t simply that they played it more or less often than others, but somehow these became their special laboratories for experimentation, research, and discovery. For a long time, this truism seemed to elude the current World Champion Magnus Carlsen. Of late, however, one opening has begun to appear more and more often in his games, and hardly one that was being wielded by many of his rivals: the Dutch Stonewall.

In many ways, it is quite fitting that he should choose it, as it is both incredibly solid as well as subject to many ideas and plans that need careful juggling to work around the inherent difficulties in playing and understanding it. Many players who would love to include it in their arsenal avoid it due to the challenges it presents and problems in the mainline for Black. Nevertheless, Dutch GM Erwin L’Ami has made a very thorough study of it and recorded a DVD for those interested. More than this, he also solves the issue in one of the main lines, and does not hesitate to share many of his findings.

In his introductory video, the Dutch grandmaster explains in a very well-prepared presentation (it shows) that the opening is one that is dominated by ideas and maneuvers. For this reason the next set of videos, six in all, focus each on a typical maneuver.

02: Typical Maneuvers - Bd7-e8-h5
03: Typical Ideas - dxc4 followed by c5
04: Typical Ideas - Bxe5 dxe5
05: Typical Ideas - h6 followed by g5
06: Typical Ideas - cxd5
07: Typical Ideas - c4-c5

The bishop on d6 is the pride of Black’s position, but sometimes it can give you dominance over the white squares. It can decrease the strength of the bishop on b2, so it is very difficult, as many of the ideas in the Stonewall, to give a definitive assessment of this move, but there will surely be positions where this Bxe5 is a strong positional decision and there will be positions where it is uncalled for.

After this comes the actual theory on the lines. In the first section, he covers the main lines, notably those served with b3 or Bf4 considered the most challenging ways for White to play, but he later explains he has a way to avoid them entirely without leaving the main paths of theory. The secret lies in the move order.  


In round 12 of the Tata Steel tournament, Magnus Carlsen once more brandished his Dutch Stonewall, playing a very specific move order, the very same that is recommended by Erwin L’Ami. This move order had not attracted any particular attention to it, but with both the World Champion playing it and this DVD, which appeared just days before the game was played, recommending it and explaining it in detail, it is clear once more that L’Ami’s promise for a solution as well as other new ideas that have not been played at the board yet, is indeed genuine and shows just how cutting edge this particular DVD is.


Erwin L'Ami discusses the improtance of move order and some traps to avoid

If you want to play an opening in which reams of theory take a backseat to ideas and maneuvers, while keeping all the pieces in the battle, then this work is for you.

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Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications, and the content creator of the YouTube channel, Chess & Tech.


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