Triangle Slav 4.e3: Play the Strong Stonewall – iChess Club – IM Robert Ris

One of the great features of the Triangle Slav is its flexibility. The Slav setup works well against many of White’s opening choices; however, there is another dependable system for black – the Stonewall formation.

This is part 3 of a 6-part series about the Slav Triangle by IM Robert Ris. If you missed the earlier parts click on the links below:

Part 1: Slav Triangle Noteboom Variation

Part 2: Slav Triangle Versus the Catalan System

There is no need to be concerned about learning another opening since there is a lot of overlap between the Stonewall and Slav Triangle systems.

What is the Stonewall?

The Stonewall is a system where Black places pawns on f5, e6, d5, and c6. Black’s dark-squared bishop will almost always go to d6 to help control the weakened e5-square.

1.d4 e6 2.c4 d5 3.Nf3 c6 4.e3 f5

VECO Slav Triangle Stonewall 4...f5
VECO Slav Triangle Stonewall 4…f5

When you combine the Slav Triangle with the Stonewall system, you get an excellent combination of positional and tactical play. Another pleasing aspect of the Stonewall is getting a space advantage with black.

One of the apparent drawbacks of the Stonewall is the bad bishop on c8. However, this bishop often plays a vital supporting role from b7 or adopts a more active stance on a6.

Another common maneuver to activate the bishop is Bd7-e8-h4 and is one reason why Black develops the queen on e7. Don’t rush to play Bh4 because, on e8, the bishop can support a c5 pawn advance.

Exchanging light-squared bishops is usually a good exchange for black. When he has pawns on e3, and d4 White will have a bad dark square bishop.

Although this exchange is nothing to fear for Black, it is not something to rush into either.

5.Bd3 Bd6 6.b3 Nf6 7.0-0 Qe7 8.Nc3 0-0 9.Bb2 Ne4 10.Ne2 Nd7

VECO Slav Triangle Stonewall 10...Nd7
VECO Slav Triangle Stonewall 10…Nd7

It brings us to a balanced middlegame position which, thanks to IM Robert Ris, you will be well-prepared to play.

In Conclusion

Although 4.e3 is a modest approach by White against the Slav Triangle, it can lead to sharp tactical positions. The unprepared Black player can easily find himself in a challenging position.

In light of your iChess Club membership and IM Robert Ris, you will not be among the unprepared players. The Stonewall formation works exceptionally well to provide Black with excellent opportunities to play for a win or at the very least to reach an equal middlegame position.

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