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mattdw ♡ 48 ( +1 | -1 )
Black's best defense against a Stonewall attack? Does anyone know any good ways to break up a stonewall attack? I don't think I need to be memorising opening lines for while yet but I really dislike closed positions at the moment, I would much prefer to be able to force the game into something much more open or sharp as soon as possible. Are there any gambits for black that can rip the centre open or if not, any good general ideas for diffusing white's kingside attack? Thanks,

masros ♡ 233 ( +1 | -1 )
Taken from wikipedia:-
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. 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.

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.

Since the Stonewall is used against a variety of Black defenses, the Encyclopedia 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.
ionadowman ♡ 41 ( +1 | -1 )
It may depend... ...on how White begins setting it up.
If he begins 1.f4, then the From Gambit (1...e5) is going to put a bit of a crimp in White's plans.
If White begins 1.d4, you might consider the Benoni: 1.d4 c5. If White takes on c5, there doesn't seem to be much danger in 2.dxc5 Qa5+ 3.Nc3 (say) Qxc5 ...
If he advances, 2.d5, just play 2...d6 and go into a King's Indian/Modern Defence set up.
At any rate, White can kiss goodbye his chances of setting up a Stonewall...
loreta ♡ 5 ( +1 | -1 )
Good answer, ionadowman. If you don't like a stonewall you could avoid it...
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mattdw ♡ 30 ( +1 | -1 )
Thanks Masros & Ionadownman I think I prefer Ion's suggestions of preventing a stonewall before it even happens rather than dealing with it once it is already there. I'll have an opportunity to try it out pretty soon hopefully too, one of the people at the local chess club seems to play it in every game! Thanks,

loreta ♡ 15 ( +1 | -1 )
Do not afraid Anyway, from my practice against Stonewall, my opinion is it isn't very dangerous and, in common, I'd handle vs it quite well. For example, to 1. f4 I even play 1. ... f5
ganstaman ♡ 34 ( +1 | -1 )
expanding on loreta's advice "For example, to 1. f4 I even play 1. ... f5 "

In this situation, when white eventually plays d4, you'll see that he wants a stonewall. You probably shouldn't respond with ...d5, making a symmetrical stonewall. White has created the hole on e4 for you to occupy. In return, he wants the e5 square. If you play ...d6 instead of ...d5, you deny him that square, which is very good for you.
loreta ♡ 14 ( +1 | -1 )
As ussually in that case i put my pawns at f5, e6 and d6 - quite flexible structure. Depending on a mood of opponent, the game could go in very sharp and bloody way.
ionadowman ♡ 71 ( +1 | -1 )
mattdw... ....Later down the track, maybe, you might want to explore ways of dealing with Stonewall set -ups. Max Euwe had something to say on the subject in one of his Middlegame books - a kind of Anti-Stonewall set up with c, d and f pawns on the 4th rank, the e-pawn on the third. But another idea is to steer your knights to attack the hole on the e-file.
But the impression is that you would like to steer the game towards open positions, rather than to go along with the closed or semi-closed positions the Stonewall sets up.
Fair enough. Just as it's likely you would be more comfortable with room to move, one who likes the Stonewall might find his agoraphobia coming on with an open game...
mattdw ♡ 34 ( +1 | -1 )
Ta. Thanks again for the ideas, I will try to put them into use. Ion, I will want to begin at some point try tackling these kind of games in a more strategic manner but until I get a bit better I think keeping things as tactical as possible will be quite beneficial.