The Stonewall Dutch is a traditional favourite amongst club players, as it offers Black ready-made attacking plans on the kingside. As Grandmaster Bent Larsen has noted, the Dutch also has the tendency to 'bring out the coward' in opponents, giving it an added practical sting.
However, up until the late 1980s, the Stonewall wasn't fully trusted at grandmaster level, despite its earlier use by Alekhine and Botvinnik. Black's attacking plans were too one-sided, and White's methods too well worked out. The change came when a new generation of players, including Nigel Short and Simen Agdestein, showed that Black could handle his position in many other ways, including play on the queenside and in the centre, with the 'Stonewall' structure stifling White's attempts to generate play of his own. Agdestein in particular has continued to experiment with many new set-ups and move-orders for Black, and this book contains a wealth of new recommendations and suggestions based on this work.
The authors are all from Norway. Sverre Johnsen is an enthusiastic chess analyst, researcher, organizer and writer, and co-author of Win with the London System, one of the most popular openings books of recent years. Ivar Bern is a Correspondence World Champion and an International Master over-the-board. Grandmaster Simen Agdestein was for many years Norway's leading player, and also achieved fame for combining his chess activities with a career as a top-level professional footballer.
Gambit books by Sverre Johnsen: A Killer Chess Opening Repertoire - new enlarged edition with Aaron Summerscale; The Ruy Lopez: a Guide for Black with Leif Johannessen; Win with the London System with Vlatko Kovačević; Win with the Stonewall Dutch with Ivar Bern and Simen Agdestein; Win with the Caro-Kann with Torbjørn Ringdal Hansen.
Download a pdf file with a sample from the book.
"...an excellent work for a player looking to bring the Stonewall into their armory." - Bill McGeary, www.chessville.com
"...a superbly illustrated and comprehensive instruction guide suitable for novice and seasoned players alike. Of special note are the additional contributions of Norwegian Grandmaster Simen Agdestein." - Micah Andrew, Midwest Book Review
"A book I could recommend to anyone looking to mix things up against 1.d4 players" - IM Stephen Gordon
"An outstanding book ... Not only do the authors rehabilitate an underestimated opening - they even do so by means of inspiring chapters supported by the personal experiences of leading experts." - GM Peter Heine Nielsen, Skakbladet
"The reader is offered all advice and guidance he will need in order to be prepared for practical play. The main emphasis is on presenting typical ideas and ways of playing, rather than on concrete variations. This is particularly useful for this kind of opening, with so many possible transpositions between the theoretical variations." - Idar Dyrdal, NRK (Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation)
"The exercises are very difficult and require you to do some research of your own. I think that this is a strength of this book as it takes you through what you need to do to get on top of any opening. I found this book particularly instructive on how to study openings in general. Not an easy book to study, but rewarding." - Paul Dunn, Australasian Chess
"Although I have been covering the Stonewall Dutch for chesspublishing.com for several years, I don't claim to really understand it that well. This book could be exactly what I need to bring my erudition up to shape! ... the best approach to reading this book is to ditch one's prejudices and keep an open mind. There is almost a certain pride in these pages in defying dogma: 'what matters in modern chess is to win the game. What works in practice is the important issue, not general principles.' ... An original aspect of this book is a series of intelligent questions and answers embedded in the text. A novel way of emphasizing the quintessential. ... Highly revealing and a definite for anyone who doesn't really comprehend the Stonewall Dutch, which means (be honest now!) just about everyone." - GM Glenn Flear, New-in-Chess Yearbook
"This book is incredibly well-written and it makes the theory of this opening extremely accessible. The authors are honest and objective in their appraisal of the individual lines, which makes the book a perfect tool for the study of this fascinating opening. If you have not already bought this book, it is time to do so now. For those who need a new weapon against 1 d4, this book makes an excellent case for it to be the Stonewall Dutch." - Carsten Hansen, www.chesscafe.com
"I have nothing but praise for the book Win with the Stonewall Dutch ... This book provides a degree of detail that usually goes with a highly technical book. The variations are analysed deeply and accurately, with plenty of original ideas. But in addition, there's a tremendous amount of prose with plentiful explanations in every section of the book; it's very easy to read, and the authors' love for their work shows through. If you want a new opening to try out, you might consider the Stonewall, if only because everything you need is contained in this superb volume." - IM John Watson, The Week in Chess
"This book is an enthusiastic and solid invitation to, as Vladimir Kramnik put it, 'one of only a few openings where Black achieves an immediate advantage in space'. It contains a detailed overview of the main lines (divided into 12 'lessons'), lots of illustrated high-level games and a lot of useful exercises." - Arne Moll, www.chessvibes.com
"Brings us completely up-to-date with the latest theory. An absolute must for anyone playing the line with Black, but also essential for anyone opening 1 d4, who might be facing the Stonewall" - Bab Wilders, Nederlands Dagblad
"The book gives a very thorough treatment to the Stonewall Dutch (plus a few related lines) in 12 Lessons. Each chapter - sorry, lesson! - begins with an overview, followed by a series of illustrative games and with a final section in which the theory of the variation is summarised. The full games are 64 in number, which I suppose is appropriate for a chess book, and are analysed quite thoroughly, with a great deal of explanatory text. There are also a small number of Test positions for the reader to try out, to test how much he has understood of what he has read. I have to admit that the more I read of the book, the more my original scepticism melted away, as I was carried along by the enthusiasm of the authors and the lucidity of their presentation. This old dog is probably too old to learn new tricks, but for someone approaching the subject with an open mind and a desire to learn something new this book will make an excellent primer." - Alan Sutton, En Passant
"I expect copious, reliable analysis with any opening book from Gambit, but Win with the Stonewall Dutch won me over with its flowing, enjoyable prose, its detailed descriptions of the plans for both sides, its historic discussions, its simple but logical layout which makes it easy to find anything and everything, and its lesson overviews and summaries, which make sure you understand the ideas it's trying to impart. As a repertoire book, [it] doesn't let you down since it also explores lines where White avoids 2.c4, lines where White doesn't fianchetto his light-squared Bishop, key sidelines like 2.Nc3 and 2.Bg5, and the Staunton Gambit and other odd 2nd moves. ... this is a must buy for fans of the Stonewall" - IM Jeremy Silman, www.jeremysilman.com
"Kramnik [says] that he feels that Black's position is easier to play than White's and that it is an excellent choice against attacking players as White cannot deliver mate and the strategic opponents for the opponent are considerable. Kramnik hasn't played the Stonewall Dutch in many years nor has anyone dared play it against him but for non-professionals it makes a lot of sense as it gives Black reliable positions without having to learn lots of theory. Win with the Stonewall Dutch provides just the guide they need." - IM John Donaldson, www.jeremysilman.com
"...dynamic, modern and aggressive." - John Saunders, British Chess Magazine
"A very important reference work" - John Elburg, chessbooks.nl
"...the authors do an excellent job of teaching the Stonewall with down to earth explanations." - Sean Marsh, marshtowers.blogspot.com
"A comprehensive guide to the Dutch Stonewall featuring a remarkable profoundness." - Uwe Bekemann, www.bdf-fernschachbund.de