In Chess Psycholoyg: The Will to Win, William Stewart recommends playing the Stonewall Attack as white. This recommendation is one of a set of openings that are very similar and are therefore suitable for player's who don't want to memorise a lot of opening theory. (The other openings are the French Defence against 1. e4, and the Schallopp Variation of the Slav Defence against 1. d4.)

For the Stonewall Attack, Stewart describes the classical structure (1. d4 d5 2. e3 Nf6 3. Bd3 c6 4. f4 Nbd7 5. Nbd2 e6 6. Ngf3 Bd6 7. 0-0 0-0 8. Ne5 ...), how to play against 2. ... c5 (e.g. 1. d4 d5 2. e3 c5 3. c3 Nc6 4. dxc5 e5 5. b4 a5 5. Bb5), how to play against an early 2. ... Bf5 or 3. ... Bf5 (e.g. 1. d4 d5 2. e3 Bf5 3. c4 ...), and he recommends adapting to the King's Indian Defence with a Zukertort set-up (e.g. 1. d4 Nf6 2. e3 g6 3. Nf3 Bg7 4. b3 d6 5. Bb2 0-0 6. Be2 Nbd7 ...).

What is missing, since the book is not intended as an opening handbook, is what to play after 1. d4 f5. Is it best to continue the normal Stonewall set-up or is it better to deviate, like in the case of the King's Indian Defence? (The best response may even be a totally different anti-Dutch approach, but that's a different question.)


4 Answers 4


The game 1/2‒1/2(40) Dietze, Sebastian (2129) – Lorenz, Mark (2250) / Regionalliga NW 0506 (7.1), Bayern 2006, gave me a hint on how to proceed:

[FEN ""]

1. d4 f5 
2. f4 Nf6 3. e3 b6 4. Nf3 Bb7 5. c3 e6 
6. Bd3 Be7 7. O-O O-O  8. Nbd2 d5 9. b3 Ne4 

After ... f5 I believe its necessary to stop that pawn with 2 f4; ... Nf6 was the best continuation according with an opening report, and following the same kind of white moves e3 / c3 / Bd3 to form a wall of pawns and positon the bishop to attack on diagonal b1–h7.

Dietze played 6 Bc4 which I saw as a move different of what you have shown us, therefore I preferred Bd3 and worked out the continuation with the help of a chess engine.

I see a balanced position, similar as the positions you have shown us and with a potential advance in the queen side.


As a former Stonewall/Bird/Dutch player, I would suggest the anti-Dutch Bg5. This is annoying for black, and you solve the problem of your worst piece.


Transposing into a Colle is not good as the king side attack is blunted by the f5 pawn. The suggested method is to break with f3/e4 and saddle black with a weak e pawn.

EDIT: diagram to help with 2. Bg5

[FEN ""]

1. d4 f5 2. Bg5 h6 3. Bh4 g5 4. Bg3 f4?  5. e3

Black really weakens the kingside and many attacks are available. The best move is 2. ... Nf6 where you can exchange your bad bishop and ruin black's pawn structure.

  • 2...Nf6?! is generally considered dubious, since 3.Bxf6 gives a nice positionnal advantage to White. 2...h6 3.Bh4 g5 4.Bg3 Bg7 and 2...d5 are more accepted choices.
    – Evargalo
    Commented Nov 13, 2017 at 15:32
  • 1
    Or the suggestion of Jan Ehlvest, which is to play ...g6 and ...Bg7 before ...h6 to kick out the Bishop, keeping the pawn structure intact. The lines are similar to lines in the Leningrad, with even some ideas from KID territory. It has the added option of being able to respond to a later h5 from white with ...g5.
    – Arlen
    Commented Dec 27, 2019 at 17:38

Honestly, I'd put to use the study you've already done, and play the other side of the Stonewall with a move in hand. Have a look through your preparation to play the Stonewall Attack, and see what ideas from Black seem to be the soundest, seem to give you the move trouble, and play for those sorts of positions with the White pieces. If Your opponent continues with the Stonewall Dutch, then you're in territory you're already familiar with, and you have an extra move.

Always look to re-use the work you've already done as often as possible when starting out. You really don't truly understand a position well until you've played it from both sides. I went a few years playing the Pirc/King's Indian as Black and opening Nf3 as white, heading for KIA positions.


I had people play this against me but instead of 4...f4? I play Nf6 and have done well. Maybe my opponents were not that good. Or maybe white really gained nothing with his bishop foray to KN5 so early.

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