139 ( +1 | -1 ) More about "Hippo"/"Feustel" or "hedgehog" system?Having played chess for 35 years now (27 of which in chess clubs), there are still openings I have not known until recently ... A fellow in our club even played this successfully in recent tournament games (though against weaker opponents), and I often come across this now in online blitz games. I am talking about what seems to be called the "Hippopotamus" system (in Germany sometimes also referred to as "Feustel" system), where black replies to whatever white moves with a flexible and at first seemingly passive system g6, Bg7, d6, a6, e6, Nd7, b6, Bb7, Ne7 and possibly h6. In some other places, similarities to a so-called "hedgehog" system are mentioned.
I have not researched a lot so far, but it seems there is very little source material to be found on this opening system at all, at least on the web. The only major book on this seems to be "The Hippopotamus Rises: The Re-Emergence of a Chess Opening" by IM Andrew Martin.
What I would like to know if any of you have more experience with this system or can tell me where I possibly find some more information on it in the internet.
Is it really a serious opening system to be played up to the highest levels? What would be the typical plans for black? What would be the best strategy for the opponent? Can it also be played with the white pieces? Looking forward to getting some more insights ...
136 ( +1 | -1 ) I don't really have experience with the hippo, but I have researched and studied it briefly in the past. Here are two hopefully helpful links: -> www.chessville.com (review of the book and somewhat the opening), -> www.jeremysilman.com (review of some games).
It's definitely an interesting opening, one which I actually thought about giving a better try soon. As long as the other player doesn't try too hard to crush this deceptively resistant opening, I think it ends up terribly for the hippo player. Your position is awkward, pieces everywhere and pawns that are difficult to defend. Once the other guy finds his break through, it's too dificult to reorganize a good defense.
You're not going to be playing GMs everyday, so I think it's fine to learn it. I guess as long as all your little maneuvering moves behind your little pawn wall actually serve a purpose, you'll likely come out of it fine. It's when you stop knowing what to do and aimlesslessy shuffle pieces back and forth that your opponent can find his break.
However, you've been playing chess for longer than I've been alive, so perhaps my ramblings are simply ramblings. Good luck.
42 ( +1 | -1 ) hmmmmI just read your profile and saw your rating. Maybe you will be playing GMs somewhat regularly...
Now it feels even more awkward that I tried to give you advice. I know I played the hippo (as white) against a computer (not the strongest) to test it out. I'll try to find those games, though they may be incomplete as I usually got bored in the middlegame while testing openings against that computer.
129 ( +1 | -1 ) Good links, thanksJust had a look at the links - really good stuff, thanks! I did not know those web sites (but who knows even a little part of all chess-related pages on the web ...). Some very interesting games, especially the weird Nezhmetdinov – Ujtelky game, where all black pawns stand on the 6th rank at one time ... I think I will take some time to look deeper into the subject, and in fact, I plan to open a thematic mini-tourney with that opening very soon (though it is hard to choose a move order to start with, since it is a system rather than a fixed setup of initial moves) - I thought of using 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d6 and asking people to continue with the usual moves g6, Bg7, d6, a6, e6, Nd7, b6, Bb7, Ne7 etc.
And I can assure you, I appreciate your advice - I am 99.9 % certain I will never play a GM, at least in live chess. Here on GK, you actually never know, I have had opponents who played flawless like GMs indeed ... I think ratings here on GK are somewhat deceptive and cannot be compared to real chess ratings - e.g. in my case, having enough time to avoid any big mistakes makes all the difference. At the real board, I often spoil good positions due to time trouble, or draw against weaker opponents who I usually defeat here on GK.
23 ( +1 | -1 ) Hippopotamus, etc...... If you can unearth a copy of Keene and Botterill's "Modern Defence" (Batsford, 1972), you might want to look at its final chapter "The Avant-Garde". Your man, Max Ujtelky emerges as something of a hero in this chapter... Cheers, Ion
56 ( +1 | -1 ) HippoMore than half of Bernd Feustel's "Eröffnungen abseits aller Theorie" deals with the Hippo. He calls it Robatsch Defence, tough. The book still might be available in second hand book stores.
Feustel played the Hippo frequently, sometimes even with White.
You can find many of his games on www.chesslab.com when you search for Black player = Feustel,B (Don't forget to look in the historical archive, too!).
Warning: The Hippo is not good against the Austrian Attack (e4, d4, f4, Nc3) also against e4, d4, Nc3, Be3, Qd2, O-O-O it's not advisable to do all the Hippo-moves.
148 ( +1 | -1 ) Thanks, sualksnh ...... for the additional information you shared with me:
(sualksnh) "The 'hippo' cannot be too bad actually. At least, it even appeared twice in the first World Championship between Petrosian and Spasski. Both games ended in a draw, one of which was very spectacular. As far as I know, there is agreement that it is really a valid system against small setups with block f or c pawns.
Opinions are split as regards the setup of e4, d4, c4 and Sf3. Danny King gives the meaningful comment, "...it takes skill to avoid being squashed." (English Defence, on the variation 1.d4 e6 2.c4 b6 3.a3 g6). Christian Bauer thinks that white has the better position, but, of course, does not stand to win. Michail Gurevic even thinks that white is supposed to win, but this was a spontaneous spoken statement.
I think that 'hippo' is a good complementary opening for players who like opening with 1...g6 or 1...b6. Tony Miles and Luke McShane have used it successfully every now and then. To my knowledge, Feustel is the strongest player who played this system regularly (even if he did not do so against the 3 pawn attack). The opening should match your personal style. The 16 pawns often stay on the board for a long time!
Whether it is a good choice to use it to win against weaker opponents, is a different story. I have tried this 3 or 4 times and never exceeded a draw. Probably I would have had more success with normal openings. IMHO, the system is rather something to counter an attack."
27 ( +1 | -1 ) The "hippo" mini-tourney is up ...I have done it ... I created a "hippo" mini-tourney -> gameknot.com for all interested players who would give it a try and explore this system in practice - and enhance the Gameknot opening database on it!
43 ( +1 | -1 ) Larry Christiansen...... plays this a lot as white on the ICC when he's playing handicapped blitz against the average patzer. Of course, there the idea is to keep pieces on the board as long as possible, thereby increasing the probability for the Patzer to go wrong. And since I don't think he would play something that's principally unsound, I guess it's ok. Seems to be a "learn more (of your opponents plans) by doing less (yourself)"- type of thing... :o)
310 ( +1 | -1 ) btw:Megabase (+ TWIC-updates) turns up over 2000 games with this system. If you're interested, I can mail them to you - would be too big to post.