01 December 2011

Annotated Game #21: Modern Stonewall Hero

As part of learning the Dutch Defense, I'm currently working my way through Win with the Stonewall Dutch (Sverre Johnsen/Ivar Bern/Simen Agdestein, Gambit, 2009).  I'll post my thoughts on the book when it's complete, but one of the more innovative things included is an exercise in each chapter.  In Chapter 5, the reader is directed to research and choose a "Stonewall Hero" from internationally recognized players, while in Chapter 6 the exercise is to analyze and annotate at least one of their games, only using an engine after you have looked at the complete game yourself.

Although for practical reasons I generally prefer using computer-assisted analysis for my own games (i.e. looking at them with the aid of an engine, but not just feeding a game to one), I stuck to the authors' guidance in order to maximize the learning experience.  It turned out to not be as much of a chore as I thought it might be.  The "bare-brained" analysis process did especially help to identify and figure out some of the "roads not traveled" (variations not played) due to tactical or strategic considerations; when looking at positions with an engine, the computer won't offer up moves it considers inferior, although their drawbacks may not be initially obvious.  I also found that I could get something out of the analysis process while looking at an unannotated GM-level game, which had also been a point of doubt for me.  After all, what could I bring to the analysis of such a high level game?  Enough to make it worthwhile, it seems.

I selected Artur Yusupov (alternate spelling Jussupow, which is how he appears in the database I have) as my "Stonewall Hero" because of his breadth and depth of experience playing the Dutch over a number of years. He of course has also been a close collaborator with Mark Dvoretsky on a number of chess instruction books, including Opening Preparation, which I own.  As luck would have it, I opened the first game of his in the Dutch and it was a win in the Stonewall.  I found the game itself to be quite interesting, following a major sideline of the Modern Stonewall and featuring a number of thematic ideas in the opening, which are commented on below.


  1. That "Jussupow" is pretty good! I didn't even know he was a Dutch defender, most of the games I've ever seen of his were from the Candidates and World Cup events where he used the more solid defenses like QGD Lasker, as I recall.

  2. He's had an interesting and long career with the Dutch (not just the Stonewall variation). The database I culled for his Dutch games has 56 of them spread out from 1985 to 2007, although the last batch from 2007 were blitz or rapid games; that's to be expected, though, since he'd retired from professional tournament play. He has some excellent comments on the Dutch in the Dvoretsky book cited.

  3. I would be very interested to see if inyour database anyone EVER played the Dutch against Karpov after he started playing mostly 1. d4. I would expect perhaps one game where someone tried to shock him, but for some reason the thought makes me laugh. I do remember that sometime in the late 80s early 90s the Dutch had a big revival at the GM level. I seem to recall that N. Short and a couple other top players took it up for awhile, and I guess Artur was one of them.

  4. That's a very interesting idea. So....

    There are 38 games with Anatoly Karpov in the database vs. the Dutch. Highlights:

    -- Beat Jussupow at Linares 1989 in the Leningrad Dutch.
    -- Beat Malaniuk in the 1989 USSR championship in the Leningrad Dutch.
    -- Beat Nigel Short in the 1992 Linares tournament in the Stonewall (a game annotated in the "Win with the Stonewall Dutch" book)
    -- Drew twice with Ivanchuk in Stonewall games (Tilburg 1993, Linares 1995)
    -- Drew Malaniuk in a Leningrad Dutch in the 1995 Keres Memorial rapid tournament
    -- Drew Spassky (!) in a Stonewall in the 1974 Candidates tournament
    -- Lost in the 1968 U20 world championship in a Leningrad Dutch to Bo Jacobsen
    -- Lost in the 2008 Cap d'Agde rapid tournament to Nakamura in a Leningrad Dutch

    According to the database statistics, White (always Karpov) had an average performance rating of 2690 and an actual average rating of 2728. So, while he had a strong plus score against the Dutch (+21 =13 -3, not counting an internet simul game), he actually underperformed his rating against the defense.

  5. Intriguing. It turns out that playing it agianst him wasn't some kind of death sentence. Not to surprising that he never, ever played it.

    One thing about 1. d4 e6 is, of course...the French! In blitz I usually like to throw the Staunton Gambit against 1. d4 f5. So black has to choose between some anti-Dutch things. The Staunton isn't really that fearsome, but I find it a good blitz weapon.