Martin - The Hippopotamus Rizes (2005)

August 4, 2017 | Author: Raul Aviña | Category: Chess Openings, Chess, Game Theory, Competitive Games, Chess Theory
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Martin - The Hippopotamus Rizes (2005)...


The Hippopotamus Rises The Re-emergence of a Chess Opening

Andrew Martin


First published in 200S Cl Andrew Martin The riJht of Andrew Martin to be identified as Author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance wIdI the Copyriaht. Desisns and PaIents Aa. 1988. ISBN 071348989 8 A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the BrItish Ubrary.

All ri&hts reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced In Iny form or by any means without permission from the publisher.

Printed in England by MPG Books Ltd for the publishers

B.T. Batsford Ltd. The Chrysalis Building

BramIey Roacl. London. WIO 6SP Distributed in the United States and Canada by Sterling Publishing Co.• 387 Park Awnue South. New yortc.. NY 100 16. USA

An imprint of Chrysalis Books Group plc


Definitions of Symbols


i =+=


+ +-+



'?! ?

'r! t

check slight advantage for White slight advantage for Black clear advantage for White clear advantage for Black decisive advantage for White decisive advantage for Hlack equal game good move excellent move move deserving attention dubious move weak move blunder with an attack/initiative




The Modem Approach - and Game Plan


~c4 Systems


Austrian Attack


Quiet System


Systems with an early ~e3 or .i.g5


A Hero of the Hippo


Friends of the Hippo


Index of Players


Index of Variations



V.Ragozin White J.C.Thompson Black Simultaneous, London 1956

The Hippopotamus chess opening was an original invention of an eccentric English player J.C.Thompson. Looking over his games one can see that this man was an iconoclast and simply wanted to 'cock a snook' at accepted chess practice. He tried to justify his opening in an original book, published in 1957. hut frankly, his ideas have little value today. With White or Black he just wanted to mess around, manoeuvring in his own camp. luring thc opponent forward and then to take advantage of any mistake that might arise. Providing he didn't make the mistake first! For historical reasons then, I will show you two of his games. This is mischief making on a grand scale!

1 d4 g6 2 c4 f6 3 tOe3 lLlh6 4 ~t3lj)f7

Nobody can play this way today. Well, they can, but they are going to be slaughtered, or they may be taking the mickey against a much weaker opponent.


In The Hippopotamus Chess 5 .i.r4 e6 6 e4 d6 7 .i.d3 c6 Opening (1957) Thompson gives 80-0.i.e7 this move a question mark. But The black bishops are what does he want to play? deployed much more Black's position is beyond dynamically in the modem redemption already: l4 ...:tc8 Hippopotamus. Black's play is a 15 exd6lLlxd6 161Vb3. Maybe I joke in this game. He does shouldn't even be giving nothing and gets wiped out. variations ...


9 Ael lLld7 10 "cl lLlfB 11 Itadl .i.d7 12 e5

15 du6 li:\1e6 16 exd6 17 du7 lIfxe7 18 lLld5+- :el 19 liJlc7 lbcl 20 .ixcl ~e7 At some stage White is going 21 lLld4 c;t>f6 12 ~xf5 .i.c6 23 to have to take action and I guess lLld6lhfg5 24 h4 ti:)b3+ 25 gxb3 Thompson was used to his weak :g8+ 26 ~n f3 27 lbe6+ 1-0 opponent making mistakes at this stage. Naturally the It would be quite unfair to Grandmaster (even in a simul), rubbish Thompson, because it is builds up patiently, and then very hard to come up witb goes for it. Black's position is so something totally new in chess. passive that he can only sit and At least he tried! So I'll give a watch. win of his now, and then fBSl 12••• f5 13 dS cxd5 14 ndS g5 forward to the present day, where a much more interesting version of this opening has bcc::a developed.

D.Janoscvic While J.C.Thomp50D Black

Simultaneous, London 1956 I liJo f6 2 e4 lLlb6 3 i.c4lLln 6

7 dS eS 8 dsc6 bxc6 9 ~b4 g6 10 f4 j,g7 11 IS g5 Il "'S 0-0 13lDg6!

Oh dear! One can only chuckle at the sight of these moves. 4 0-0 e6 5 d4 d6 6 lDc3 c6 You can see he's just dismissed Thompson as a patzer who is going to fold at the first sign of attack. But Thompson was resilient if nothing else! 13•••dS Trying to confuse the guy as much as he can; good tactics in a funnily enough, against early simul. j,c4 systems, this sort of stuff might work quite well! The 14 exd5? bishop on c4 often tends to be exposed. As we'll see later, I e4 14 lDxf8 just wins as far as I g6 2 d4 j,g7 3 ~f3 d64 j,c4 can see: 14... dxc4 15 ~6 ""6+ a6!, followed by ... e7-e6 is quite 16 ~hlll)d7 17 h4. OK for Black. But with ... f6 14••• bsg6 IS fsg6 lDh6 thrown in .. .'l The Grandmaster's 16 h4?? eyes light up!


16 "e2, admitting defeat and

And so the early career of the

keeping the game going. was

I Iippopotamus drew to a close.

rather better.

After all. who would be inspired



by these games? Piddling around 'itfb8 on the third rank clln hardly fonn

d1C6+ 18 hxgS 'ilfd4+ 19 :12 ~xhS the basis of a winning game 20 gxb6 .xc4 plan. Yet the idea of creating an elastic, flexible positiun, hard to


break down and ready to react favourably





opportunity has merit. With a bit of tinkering. couldn't Hlack's play be improved?


The Modern Approach - and Game Plan Maybe the Hippopotamus got a name from Thompson, but the idea of pluying elastically with Black has been around for a long time. What is the Hippopotamus anyway? The idea is that Black develops within his own first three ranks at the beginning of the game. He will construct a solid, stable yet flexible position. wait to see what White is doing and react accordingly. I le must not wait too long. I think this is the major lesson for modem players. As with all the reactive detences such as the Pirc/ Modem or the King's Indian, poor timing by Black leaves him horribly passive. I'll say at the outset that I believe Black can play the Hippopotamus successfully in this day and age and I'm going to show you how. We'll take a tour through some very

unusual move-orders and look at some very odd games, but that does not mean that the opening is bad. I think the Hippo has been misassessed. I'm going to stick with exclusively modem games in this book. You can find all the old stuff elsewhere and frankly, it's not my intention to give a history lesson. Besides. those old games were so poor. If you arc going to play this system as Black. you need a game plan. What should it be'! I) Black must have a good sense of timing. He must be ready at any moment to strike back against the white centre or misplaced white pieces. 2} Black must feel happy. initially, with a cramped position. 9

The Modern Approach - and Game Plan 3) Black should be a fighter, many different ways. For most willing to play long games. players, that is tbe main Often White doesn't come out to attraction of the Modem. Here play and patience is required. we see veteran Grandmaster Hort employing a 'rope a dope' 4) Black should have a good strategy facing a series of routine sense of humour. The occasional developing moves from his horrible defeat is inevitable opponent. White is invited to playing this stuff. Mind you, assume the initiative and run that's true of every opening. aground against the sturdy Black position. Typical Hippo strategy! 5) Black must understand the 2 d4 d6 3 .i.e3 .i.g7 4 ~c3 notion of potential. This is the key idea underpinning all reactive defences. Black may be cramped, but his position holds promise. He needs to know how to keep the game on the boil. 6) There's the added benefit of originality. The books haven't been here...yet! Before getting into specific move-orders, let's look at a few games to whet the A very, very popular system appetite and see if we can make against the Modem these days. more sense oCthe formidable list White can play with 12-0 or above. ~gl-f3.

W.Spoelman White 4••••65.4 b6!?

V.HortBlad Essent Open, Hoogeveen 2002

The first sign that Black is intending a 'Hippo' formation.

1 e4 g6

6 .d2 .i.b7 7 .i.c4 ~d7 8 ~D After 1... g6 Black's defensive set-up can be interpreted In e6 10

The Modern Approach - and Game Plan

He leaves the knight on g8 at advantage. Spoelman isn't really home to delay .i.h6. up to it. 90-0

10 llfel ftJe7 11 lladl ~f8! ll.idJ ~g8

White may consider either 9 h4 ~gf61O d5 e5 or9 d5 e5 10 g4!? both of whieh are messy.

I suppose if White does nothing Black will eventually come to ... e6-e5 and ... f7-fS after due preparation. Spoelman eyes the king heading for h7 and tries to get his knight over to aid a kingside attack.

9••• b6!

13 It)e2lt)f6 14lDgJ "eR!

An extremely annoying move to face mainly because White feels he has to be going somewhere with his position but when he starts to cast his eye around for a plan he struggles to find anything concrete. Whichever central pawn he pushes liberates a black bishop. He would love to be able to move his knight to e I and plough through with f4-5 but that takes ages. Now White must demonstrate patience and even cunning if he wants to get any

15 'Ifb4 Not sure White wanted to play this one but Black was threatening ... It)g4 anyway. Alternatives arc not inspiring: 15 b3 It)g4 16 h3 It)xe3 17 llxe3 c5! 18 c3 ~h7~; 15 "c3 c5!. 11

The Modern Approach - and Game Pia"

IS••.aS 16 .a3 l:td8 17 c4

32 i.b2 :te8 33 l:tcl 'iVe6 34 1.a3 :te7 35 ~S i.lldS Looks fine, but White weakens 36 exdS "K4 37 d6 cx.d6 the square b4. Hort is on to this 38 l:txd6 e4 39 tbh2 .xb4 40 1:bb6 i.d4 small detail in a flash. A remarkable little game which should really have been concluded IS moves ago. White's initial advantage in space and time seemed to evaporate and he was left only with weaknesses. Spoelman was doubtless baffled - where on earth did he go wrong.. .'!

17•••lDd7 18 h407\.:6 19 llJb4 20 b3 eS

0-1 I have dabbled with the Hippo Finally some sign of real myself although not on any activity from Black, although regular basis. In a reeent 4NCL with the bishop on b I buried it game I found myself having the seems to me as if White has black pieces against the already been totally outplayed. extremely well-prepared and thorough John Shaw, fresh from a GM norm at the Olympiad21 dxeS dxeS 22 .cl .e7 not a pleasant prospect.

23 l:td2 c,t>h7 24 lledl llJa6 25 llJe2 lLldcS

J.Sha. While

Attacking both b3 and c4.

A.Martill Bid 4NCL, England 2004


26 lLlc3 lLlllb3 27 Axd8 lLlxcl 28 :&d7 29 i..llcl i..c6 30 %l7d3 llJb4-+ 31 :Jell .xc4

I e4 b6!? 12

The Modern Approach - and Game Plan

This seemed like the best way in at the time. Black fully intends to fianchcllo both bishops. but by playing 1... b6 he hopes to talk White out of the more aggressive move-ordcrs. panicularly 1 c4 g6 2 d4 Jig7 3 ~3 d6 4 f4!.

2 d4 .i.b7 3 li)cJ e6 4 li)t3 d6 S .i.d3 ~7 6 0-0 g6 7 a4! ...and Black is OK. He will play ... c7-cS after due preparation and the bishop on d3 finds itself on the wrong square.


Quite right! John Shaw is a methodical. logical, classical player and he usually goes for a nagging edge with White rather than the quick attack. I underestimated 7 a4 and immediately made a bad move.

8... buS

Horrible. The more 1 looked at 8...1t1e7 9 a6 JLc8 the less I liked Of course 7...86 is forced - 1 it: 10 .i.gS (10 .i.f4 0-0 11 .d2 know that now! - with the eS 12 .i.h6! exd4 13 .i.xg7 ~xg7 intention of answering 8 as with 14 ltlxd4 ltleS I 5 f4 ltlxd3 16 .xd3±) 10...h6 JI .i.e3 0-0 8...bS 7•••JLg7?


The Modem Approac:h - and Game Plan

12 ild2 ~h7 13 Ilfel±. The problem is that Black has no good pawn breaks in the centre. let alone the usual Modem idea of attacking and dismantling the centre as and when necessary. I looked but I did not see.

The alternatives leave Black with nothing to do. At least in the game White has choices to make. it's still murky and he could go wrong. 11.. .l:lb8 12 lhaS±; 11...'ii'bS 121lxaS.

lllDxaS flc7 9 .te3lDgf6 10 liXI2!

13 f4! I'm not sure how big White's advantage is here. It's in between substantial and life-threatening I think, and so I had to find some way to play on at the same time keeping somc chances. I soon reconciled myself to the ultimatc loss of the a7 pawn: after that it was easier.

These positions arc so difficult to play becau...e one is making original judgements on vinually every move. "'or instance should White take on b7 or not and then just play against the a-pawn', For Sbaw maybe thal was thc be5t approach although 13 f4 cannot be wrong; indeed it looks as though Black may be mated. c.g. 10._0-0 UlDbJ c6 .c I-h4 etc. Where is his Is this really a Hippo? Well. counterplay coming from? So Black has plenty of pawns on the 13 :a2 nfbS 14 . 0 .tc8 third rank; it comes pretty close. IS :fal± seems best. 14

The Modem Approach - and Game Plan This came as a swprise to John Sbaw. Chugging along without The first glimmer of light complications was no longer an appelU1i at the end of the tunnel. option.

IS ~b3 cS 16 dlcS dieS

20 esdS exdS 21 ~xdS

17:81 21 ~S ~xeS 22 fxeS d4 White is still playing very well 23 J.d2 dxc3 24 J.xc3 J.dS! is, and very logically too. He seems I would say, unclear. Black is to have a total grip. I knew that fighting. 21 lira I dxc4 22 J.xc4 playing passively would be 1Ob6!. useless and cast my eye over the position for an unusual idea. 2l-bdS 22 b3 Ilea

17.•Jtb4 18 ~2 . . . The first stage is to get the big pieces out of exposed positions. 19~c4

Now I was very happy. The game seemed to have utterly changed. Suddenly White had to make a massive mental readjustment from attack to defence. Furthermore, in this 19••• ~5! inspired frame of mind. For better or worse. At least I had spotted an excellent Black is going down in flames. combination. 15

The Modern Approa(:h - and Game Plan

23 .d2 .i.xc4 24 .txc4

Shaw was visibly upset and who wouldn't be? The point is that he ean't play 28 l:tg 1 due to 28 ....i.e5. The queen and :a2 are very remote indeed.

28 : •• 1 .ilal 291b.l .xc4 3O.x.7.xcl Some care is required in the endgame but it must be an easy win. 24... :xc4!!

31 :n 1i'c4 32 ••8+ g;v.7 33 "al+ .d4 34 •• 7 .(6 Based on White's awkward 3S ~Il .e7 36 ••1+ f6 37 h3 pieces. I think the idea works. l:te2 38 Wbl WeS 39"'.7+ ~b6 40 :el 41 l:xe1 W'xe1+ 42 ~h2 We5+ 43 g3 1i'e2+ 44 ~v.1 edl + 45 Wf2 .d4+ 25 bxc4 lbe3 transposes. 46 ~f3 c4



26 blc4 ~d4


47 v.4 For one horrible moment I thought I had been mated, e.g.

27....xf4! 16

The Modern Approach - and Game Plan

.m+ c;t>gS!' I'd seen this V.Jansa White move some time ago of course S.Joksic Black but panic sets in when you are European Senior Championship, Arvier 2004 winning cleanly and the opponent gel.. even the slightest I e4 g6 2 d4 J.g7 3 M d6 chance. (47 ...!iti>h5?? is the 4 .i.e3 ~7 5 ltifJ a6 6 .d2 blunder of the year: 48 g4+ ~g5 h6!? 49 h4+ ~xh4 50 ~6 mate) 47

47••••d3+ 48 ~12 ~g5 49 .18 .e2+ 50 ~ .e3+ 51 cotgl cl 52 .c8 'lii'h4 53 .c7 .xh3+ 54 irr-L.Thicdc. Gennany 2004 and now 17 ...llc8 I suppose there are various scenarios where Black might gives Black a perfectly playable benefit from leaving his bishop position. on c8. I'm thinking of a variation where White plays d4-d5, Black ...e6-eS in response and then the bishop is in pole position to support ... f7-f5! But such lines are rare; White doesn't hurry to close the centre, 8 ... i..b7 is of course natural and probably makes little difference at this stage:


B) 9 ncl'\gf6 10 ~t~ 0-0 11 .if} Ilc8 12 .tgl cS 13 .ixd6 cxd4 14 fud4 lOcs 1 darcsay both players were happy with this result; it certainly looks that way! 9 'ilfd2 h6 10 h3 lLb7 11 Ilfel


Systems with an early .i.eJ or ~5 Why not? Black takes the initiative.

14 bq4 fug4 15 .i.g3 ~R6 16~1

I was commentating live at the 8riililh Championships on the game and it became clear at this point that Greet dido't have the faintest idea what to do. White has amngcd his pieces in the usual pretty picture but what next? Seeing this and other similar games ifs clear to me that White has real problems placing his bishops correctly against the Hippo; this is the key opening problem to solve.

12 .t.r4 as 13

16...b5! A strong move and distinctly annoying for Greet who finds himself on the back foot with the white pieces after only 16 moves! What advice can one offer apart from try to sit tight!

17 : .. 1 13 .ig3 would have al least saved a little time, but you could not say that the position is at all clear: 13 ...~g6 14 dS eS IS as b5 16 .t.d3ltlhS (16... g4 17 hxg4

17 ~g4 bxg4 18 :adl :h7! gives Black all the chances.

.ic8!) 17 .i.b2 ~f4. This one was a shock to the audience; a move which nobody

13···14 87

Systems with an early i.e3 or i.g5


22 .th2 ~b6 23 ~b7 24 could understand and particularly when Black has a very -..5 ~f6 25 . 0 g5 39 Ac8 f6 40 :g7 persist... a3 41 l:xg6+ ~f5 42 .1fl lIb2-+ 45 :.5 f4 (42 ...12 43 g4+). 45 ...:f4 46 g3 :12+ 47 ;'g1.

38 .id7 :d4


Systems with an early.t.eJ or ~j

59....bJ 461bgS? a3 47

:as &2-+

S9 ...lL:S+ 60 ~e6 (60 ~g4 :C3) 6O...AxhS 61 :XaJ :hl'"

46•••~1 Seller is 46.. .Ad3.

47 :s&5 a3 48 49 .t.D fOe3


60 ~ :13+ 61 ~15 IIb3 61 ~14 :c3 63 15 :b3 64 ~f4 :c3 65 h6+ ~"7 66 ~e5 :bJ lZd3 67 WeN 68 ~e4 lid 69 ~f4 lZd3 70 ~5 :&3+


49...~f2 50 h4 ne3 5 I hS Ac I 52 g4 fxg3+ S3 ~xg3;t;

70 ...:'c3? 71 :.7+ 72 ~g6 lIg3+ 73 ~ti+-

5Oh411cJ51 h5~n+S1Wh3 ~Z 53 ~4liBD 54ldJ ~ SS~~


71 ~ ebb6 71 Wf7+ ~b7 73 fi :e3 74 WfB :bJ 75 n al 76 :Sal J:b8+ 77 ~e7 :b7+ 78 We6 79 ~e7 Ih-I,h


4 ...h6 is by no means the most exciting or effective way 10 proceed against 4 .lgS, but it i.' playable for Black. I don 'I really sec any other way 10 gel a decent Hippo-like opening position. Suddenly it is Black who has 10 struggle 10 draw.

So LII nol to leave you high and

dry I'll finish wilh a couple of

5S•.•Wh6 56 ~ :c4+ 57 f4 brief, recent examples where While does not play 84 and :c3 51 :86+ ~7 59 ~ Black gets going on queenside with I'uccess.

59 ~g5 Jlg3+ 60 ~f5 :b3.



System.v with an early .le3 or Ag5

A.Kizov White G.Ardelean Black Montenegro Open. Sozina 2004 I d4 g6 1 e4 .tg7 3 ttlo d6 4 ttlc3 .6 S .te3 ttlr6 6 Wfdl

Absolutely critical. Yet our game will show that Black can deal with this plan. 10 h4 is comfortably met by 10... b4 and Black is defending: 11 ~e2 .txc4 12 .txe4 lDxe4 t 3 'It'xb4 ttld7 14 hS rtbS 15 "'a3 ttldf6 16 hxg6 bxg6 This is the straightforward scheme of development which more and more White players are turning to. The idea of .th6xg7 gives the While position some bite. The comes e4-eS or some direct assault involving h2-h4. 6•••bS

10...dxeS! 10 ... ttlg8 also appears possible, but why go backwards when you don't need to? 11 "c3 .txn 12 gxO lbd7 13 h4 cS 14 f4 exd4 15 1fxd4 ""6 16 'lfxb6 ~xb6- B.Jarac~­ M.Socko, Dl:wir~yno 2004. Black has nullified the attack. 11 du5 ~rd7

Black simply has to gel on with it

Black's idea is to fix the pawn 7 .i.dJ .tb7 8 .th6 0-0 on eS and in the long-tenn to try 9 .lxg7 cilxg7 10 cS and win it! 94

Sy.'tlems with an early .i.e3 or .ig5 16 1Id2 18 :hdl

llJcs 17 .i.xc6 .ixc6

121We3 Ki:loV is expecting to castle long and gain some advantage by pinning Black on the d-file. With the black pieces jumbled up he then intends to sound the charge with b2-h4. It doesn't turn out that way. I think that Black can deal with other moves relatively comfortably: 12 .ie4 ~xc4 13 lilxe4 ~b6 14 .e2 .dS 15 0-0 (IS lOc3 'ffe6 16 0-0-0 lOc6) IS ...lilc6=; 12 .f4 .ixf3 13 .xf3 c6 14 1Ve3 'iWb6 15 .xb6 ~b6 16 0-0-0 liJ8d7 17 f4 f6=

.. .looks like White is keeping a small edge. Black should block the file: 18 ...b4 19 lDe2 .i.dS! 20 ~f4 c6 21 ~b 1 :fd8 22 Ild4 a5=

16•.•~b617 ~f4 Traditional play in this line. White funnels his knights across to the kingside. Yet, almost out of nowhere, Ardelean is able to whip up a counterattack.

17...lilc4! 18 "cl?? 12•••e6 He can't believe Black actually Creating a square for the queen

has a threat and goes wrong right away! This is a very common mistake when you think you 13 i.e4 lilc6 14 8-0-0 .e7 arc in total control. 18 .e2! 15 b4 h5 J6li.:le2 :ad8.

on e7.


Systems with an early .i.e3 or .i.g5 here would be a crime. He has to start the action.

18...tDb4! White is suddenly in desperate trouble on a2.

6••• bS! 7 f3 .i.b7 8 b4 b6

191i'el .i.xe4 201i'xe4ltJxa2+ 21 ~bl 'ifb4!

9 g4 Many. many of your opponents will play this way. They just push the kingside pawns forward There is no ongoing way to to gain space and dissuade Black defend b2. from a later 0-0. The Modem defender should not feel 0-1 uncomfortable facing this aggression. He must juggle the obligations of flcx.ible defence P.Baki White and the preparation of V.Ianov Black counterplay, but that is the Gyorgy Marx. Opt:n. Paks 2005 intellectual challenge after 1 c4 d6 2 d4 g6 3 lLlc3 .i.g7 1... g6. If you cannot cope with this pressure. don't play the 4 ii.e3 a6 S "d2 tDd7 6 0-0-0 Modem! After'} d5 h5 10 tDh3 White is shaping up for the big cS 11 dxc6 .i.xc6 12 tDd5 lLlgf6 onc. To play slowly with Black 13 lLlxf6+ .i.xf6 14 lLlg5 :c8

22 "d4 l1ad8


System... with an ear~v i.e3 or i.g5 An casy idea to remember. Black prepares ...c7-cS, with his rook in the right place. 10 gS hxgS 11 .i.xg5 cS

Black. has very satisfactory countcrplay on the c file. He has a good version of the Dragon. White has no breakthrough in sight and the knight on gS is simply misplaced. IS ~d4 'ilc7 16 .i.xf6 ~xf6 17 i.d3 lQd7 18 f4ll\cS 19 f5 gxf5 20 exfS f6 21 ~ ~c6 22 fxc6 ~dR! 23 nhgl 'iVb6 24 "'f4 i.e8 2S .g3 ~c6 26 :tge 1 Q;c7 27 .g7 Ilce8 28 ~g6 :bg8

The second key move. It's a turbo-charged Hippo. unrecognisable from the original beast.

12 duS tiJus 13 .i.h3 b4! 29 'ii'h7 .J:.h8 30 .g7 :hg8 31 1rh7 In-In V.Koziak- 14 ttJels b3!! N.Bezold. Neuhausen 2004.


Baki certainly didn't expect this one. All the good things


Systems with an early L3 or J.g5

about Black's position come into 20•••'tib6 21 Wfe2 l%b4 22 play now. White may already be ~r6 lost. 15~bl

The variations are easy if While moves his queen. IS 1i'e 1 .txd5 16 exd5 bxa2 17 ~d2 l:tbS-+; 15 We3 bxa2 16 ~d2 .txb2 17 .i.xcs .txeS!-+ Black might even castle in a minute...

23lLlbJ ... unless White plays this one.


23 •• J:tbxb4 24 lie 1 lLle4 25 .cS 0-1 White woke up and counted the pieces. A brilliant, short game by fonov.

IS.••,fue4 Not that this isn'l easy to understand. All of White's kingside advances arc rendered irrelevant.


This chapter has been very brief, because there are only a 16 fs.e4 bxc2+ 17 c,!tal few circumstances where the cxdl=W+ 18 .xdll1c419 .tg2 Hippo approach functions properly. You are advised to be .txdS 20 exdS more direct, as our last two examples show. 20.xd511e2! 98

A Hero of the Hippo Where did Doris Spassky gel bis enthusiasm tor the I1ippo? Possibly from Dr Max Ujtelky, whose iconoclastic intcrpretation of I ... g6 earned him the right to pat his name behind the defence before the thought of the &Modem' camc into being. Ujtelky wasn't always successful with l...g6. but he blazed the trail for the next peration with his wacky ideas. R.Spassky White M.Ujtelky Black Chigorin Memorial, Sochi 1964

I e4 g6 2 d4 J.g7 3 ~c3 a6

It was very bold to play in this way against the universal Spa'\sky. However. why not see how the genius deals with a weird idea. Ujtelky would not worry too much about losing;

he wanted experimentation. originality and to learn something about chess. Later in his career Ujtelky would settle on 3... e6 as his favourite move. following up with ...4'Je7 and ... d7-d5. a hybrid French if you like. To my knowledge this is a totally unexplored area. even today. 4 ~t3 d6 S .i.c4 e6 6 .i.gS tOe7

7 114 h6 8 i.e3 b6 9 0-0 ~7 lOltel White has arranged his pieces in apple-pie order, but is it a case of all dressed up and nowhere to go'!


A Hero of the Hippo

... e6-eS where neccssary. We would see Spassky cmploy a similar idea against Pctrosian.

I .. .ir.. Ad8 IS h4! The weight of Black's position is drifting away from the kingside and so White starts to apply the pressure there:.


Is_.~m 16 .tb31'617 ~bl e5

I think the main reason Black kccps his bishop on cS is that he wants to play ...e6-cS and if White then blocks the centre with eIS, the bishop is in a good spot to support ... O-5! This is a positional point worth remembering.

11 .d2 ~h7 12 :.dl ~b7 13 .e2 .cS?!

An odd-looking move. B ...•eS is also possible, eyeing 84 and preparing ... d6-eIS or

Yct Black's position is hulding and even hitting back! Onc of White"s main challenges against the Hippo is tu place hill bishups correctly. l'm nut sure that Spassky got it right here. ,om equally sun: that Boris was impressed by Black Os invcntion and the way in which lJjtelky got a playable game.


18 .td ~

A Hero of the Hippo

18...exd4 19 ~xd4 cS! 20 ~f3 26 b4! ~xa4 (26 ... .i.xh4 t5! was the way lo go here, with 27 tte5+! .i.tYl 28 'ii'h5) 27 'iih5 Black's pieces opening up for l:ti18 28 .i.xa4± Ktion. Possibly Ujtelky didn't do &hili hecauliC White had one 23 exfS :txfS 24 ~cl :b5?? extra rook in the centre. A 24 ...1Oc6 25 i.xf5 gxfS chance missed! 26 ~c4 lbf4 27 i.xf4 J.xf4 28 ...O±; 24 ......g8 25 llk4 ~f4 19 d Ilf1l20 ~1 f5 26 .i.xf4 i.xf4 27 1txe7+ Risky. Black's pieces are loose (27 .i.xfS lbxfS) 27 ...:tti 28.e2± OD the e file ...

25 "'xbS 1~

21 ds:e5 dxe5

One can imagine Spassky pondering this gamc, and eventually deciding that he could play 1... g6 better tban this guy. It was a question of the detail. Strong players are very receptive to new ideas. Ujtelky's record with the Hippo was mixed. All his games were interesting.

22 ~l.eS! ... and Spassky finds a beautiful way to exploit tbis. Instead 22 .i.c2 fxc4 23 .i.xc4 .i.xe4 24 "xe4 lbc5 25 "c2 .g4::;

G.Forintos White M.Ujtelky Black Chigorin Memorial, Sochi 1964

1 d4 g6 2 e4 i.g7 3 lbc3 a6 4 a4 b6 22 ... lDc5 23 .i.c2 .i.xe5 24 exf5 i.f6 2S fxg6+ ~g7

Preventing the cramping a4a5.


A Hero of the Hippo

11 ~cel ~7

5 .i.c4 e6 6lDgeZ It looks like White intends to play f4-5.

Ifs clear that 11 ... t3

6._d6 7 0-0 lDe7 8 .tbJ Sidestepping ...d6-dS.

8•..0-0 Once again he leaves his bishop on cS.

9 ~J cS

... was an alternative. I guess Forintos was planning 12 f4 atler With f4-f5 on the horizon, it is that, otherwise Black just gel8 important to create a central a massive kingside attack. diversion. and then 12•..lQd7 13 c4 fxe4 14 ~xe4 lDf6 leads to 10 d5 e5 approximately level play. In keeping with the messy image of his opening. Ujtelky refuses to clarify matters.

12 iLc4 J:b8 13 .d3 lIaB!? 14 cl .c7 15 Ae3 "'7 J have to prefer IS ... CS now. with a very acceptable po!;ition for Rlack. White's queen and his knight on g3 seem mi!;placcd to me. Now the bishop on cS is in a perfect position 10 support

... 17-CS.

16 :83 b6 17 "d2 ltb7


A Hero of the Hippo

I would be very happy to take Black here.

19 :b3 lOr6 20 : . I lOg4 2J ..tell rs

This is an odd game, with a lot of strange manoeuvering going on. Forintos does not exactly know what to do and in these cases frustrating the opponent's At last! plan is a good idea, while at the same lime not weakening one's II f3 1Of6 23 e:lfS lOsfS own position. Does 18 "'c2 24 "'d3 ..td7 2S ion6 "'sdS reaJ1y prevent 18... f5 ? I'm not 26 1fxdS lLlxdS 27 ..td3 !iJc7 sure ...

28 c4 ..te6 29 tiJe4 :rd8 30ltbaJ dS

Why not ]8 .•. fS 19 cxfS gxfS 20 f4 c4 21 :dllOf6

What happened to the white centre? I played Forintos several times and it was obvious he had a problem with his clock. In some ways he was like a lesser Reshevsky; endlessly inventive and a great fighter, brilliant in time trouble, but not the most practical player in the world. Maybe this is why Black delayed action for so long and White too for that matter!


A Hero of Ihe Hippo

31 cxd5 .txd5 32 ~d .te6 Most practical players that I 33 ~b5lt)lb5 34 axb5 know would have played 46 ~f2 very quickly. This has to be 34 .ixb5 ~4 is very good for right; White must force the pace Black. and get his bishop out of the pin. By leaving the black pawn on c4, 34 •••c4 35 .to It)d4 36:c1 Forintos invites a problem. It)xb5 37:'6 46 ... :d2+ 47 ~gl I1xb2 48 ..txc4 .ixe4 49 };{xc4 .ih6 37 l:e3 :bc8+ 50 ~fl. 37...lOd6 38 .ie3 li'Ille4 46•.•.tb6 47 Wfl :!cl! 48 Itd 39 fIe4 Ildc8! 40 :xb6 :xb6 41 .txb6 Ilb8 42 .ic7 :'e8 48 lhcl .txcl 49 i.a3 c3 is 43 .id6 h5 game over. 48•••.id2 49l:a3 lid 50 :.7+ 51 :.8+ ~g7


A prelude. 52 :.7+ .in! 53 .i.e2 ..tcl

Now White will rue the missed opportunity to simplify. 54 .tal cl 0-1

44 Ad?! 44 lla 1 l:d8 45 :a6 .tg8 46 ~f2 was without doubt a better

Overall. a good game by way to proceed. The game move Ujtelky, who outplayed Forintos gets the white rook in a mess. initially with his obscure opening and after that by sheer 44.••lId8 45 .i.c5 l:dl 46:d persistence! 104

A Hero of the /lippo 6 ~f3 l1'.e7 7 .te2 b6 8 0-0 .tb7 9 "eJ ~d7 10);tal

S.Wagman White M.Ujtelky Black Reggio Emilia 1965

I e4 g6 2 d4 ~g7 3 lbc3 d6 4f4a6

He would rather play 'itb4, but he's waiting for Black to castle first. Ujtclky does not oblige. I'm sure White has designs of The popularity of 4 ... a6 has :a3-h3 too if he can clear the fluctuated over the years with third rank. This all assumes current thinking weighted in Black does nothing. favour of White. 4 ... a6 was not invented by Ujtelky, but he soon JO ••• dS puts his own special slant on this exciting variation. In general Black's plan consists of moves such as ... b5, ....tb7, ... ~d7 and a quick ... c7-c5! Kotov won games using precisely this method. Wagman moves to stop it. S a4 e6!? Putting his own personal stamp 5...~6! is an effective move on the game. here. Black goes his own way. 105

A Hero of/he Hippo

11 exd5

Black, with ... .:.aeX lO follow. So Wagman lashes out.

Now, if I I c5 then II...c5! and Black is in reasonable shape.

13.•. f6

1l ...exd5 12 f5

14 fxg6? 12•.. 0-0!

Simply doesn't work. White has to try 14 i.. f4 tbxfS 15 ..idJ The moment of truth. Black ne8 16 ~2 with a small amount knows he will come under of compensation. although attack, but he figures that the hardly enough if the defencc is :a3 and the lDc3 arc not ideal up to scnllch. and meanwhile he has ... c7-c5 at his disposal. It's a judgement call 14.•. fxg5 15 gxh7+ ~b8 and a good one I think. 16ltJxg5



16 'ii'd2 tne6 17 h3 g4 I R hxg4 lDf6 is winning for Black.

13 fxg6 fxg6 14 .i.g5 lbf6 leaves White with the dilemma 16.. :it'e8 about how to improve his 16 ... Axd4+ was good too: position further. For instance, if 15 .i.d3 'fi'd6 16 a5 b5 17 "'e5 17 o;t>hl :xfl+ I~ 'a'xf1 (18 "'d7 is positionally OK for .txfl "'e8 19 ..td3 ~e5 20 _g3


A Hero of tire Hippo ll)xd3 21 "'xd3 i.f6 22 ll)e6 20 g4.ie6 21 ~f6 "'e7 22 110 ~5-+) 18...•f8 19 ll)e6 "'xfl + ltJd7 20 .txfl i.e5-+ Deep Fritz demonstrates that 17 lhf8+ It)d8 18 "'f2ltJeg6 22 ... i.xg4 wins rather easily: 23 ll)(7+ (23 ~xg4 'ii'xg5) 23 ....xt7 24ll)xg4 "'d7-+ 23 lLlxd7 .xgS 24 &5 lLluS White runs out of heart and out of pieces. 0-1 To finish, an extraordinary effort where Ujtelky goads one of the most feared attacking players of all.

19l1)ce4! Ingenious. 19•••.i.c8!

R.Nezhmetdinov White M.UJtelky Black Chigorin Memorial, Sochi 1964

And a cool response. The idea is that if 19 ... dxe4 20 tDt7 + '.trxh7 21 lbg5+ ~h8 22 :b3+

1 e4 g6 2 d4 .ig7 3 ll)c3 d6 4 .ic4 e6 It helps to have a bishop on c4. 5 ll)f3 ll)e7 6 h4 h6


... IS



a wmner.

Note the reaction. Black answers 7 h5 with g5. Whilst that might still be good for 107

A Hero of the Hippo

White, most players would not Black continues his want to commit themselves this manoeuvring, although in this early. case a6 needed to he defended. Ujtelky asks NC7.hmetdinov 7 .i.f4 a6 8 .e2 lLld7 'What is your idea?' 16 .i.b3 1617 ne1 'itf718.let Here, he could certainly try S...bS 9 .i.d3 lLlbc6 with ideas c6 of ...lLlb4, ...lLlxd3 and ....tb7. Maybe I'm the wrong type of guy to play this slow stuff... 9 a4 b6 10 Ildl .i.b7

How should you classify a position like this'! Black is keeping White at bay. I personally find Black's play too passive in this game. 19 lLlcI2 dS 20 a5

Very pretty by White and where to go from here'!


20 exdS cxd5 21 h5 gS leaves nothing clear at all.


20••• bS 21 lLlo Wc7 22 .td2 He is baffled by the lack of .tc8 23lLla2 ~h7 24lLlb4 :lheR contact. 25 ~d..1 ~f8 26 .tf4 I think White missed a chance 1I •••li\f8 12 c;t>gl .c8 13 i.b3 1t'd7 14 1Ib3 IldR IS .tc4 .cR here: 26 eS CS 27 :g3 ttxi7 108

A Hero of the Hippo 28 .i.b4. The threat of a kingside altack combined with White's ability to stop ... c6-cS makes the black position unattractive. For instance: 28 ....i.~ 29 .d2 ~g8 30 ..td6 .txd6 31 exd6 .xd6 32 t;\feS+


he is the exchange down. Having said that, White has to find the right way to break in. How about preparing g2-g4!

36 ~ I?! Time-trouble perhaps? 36 00 could be played.

36....i.nS 37 dxeS .ICS 28 .e3 ~g8 29 li.)cs ~7 38 ~ ••739 .id cS 30 ~d7 jlxd7 31 c3. with the idea of .i.c2 and g4, was to be Black is right back in the considered. game. 18.••1Ib6 29 1 ~h7? 40 b4 ~ 41 .83 c4 42 ~c:S ~nS 43 bS 44 l:g3 ~7 29 .. .Ild7.



30 ..t.S ••7 31 .i.xd81bd8 32 Wd2 .tb7 33 .as :ta8 J4 lL\c5 .i.e8 35 cl ~f8


He just lost it psychologically. Unable to pierce the black pawn The manoeuvres continue. He front. Nezhmetdinov goes seems not 10 care onc whit that haywire with an unsound piece 109

A Hero of the Hippo


sacrifice. And having provoked S9 'iVellDd4 60:f6+
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