The Hippopotamus System of Defence

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What is the Hippopotamus system of defence? The idea is that, at the beginning of the game, Black develops within his own first three ranks. He constructs a solid, flexible and hopefully stable position, awaiting events. At the right moment, he will strike back! The Hippopotamus was given the name by an eccentric English amateur player JC Thompson, back in the 1950’s. It seems as good a name as any. Given the right conditions, Black will emerge from the chessboard swamp and crush all before them.


Many strong players have taken a liking to the Hippo, including such greats as Boris Spassky and Gata Kamsky. Here we have an anti-theoretical opening, which has allowed them to draw on experience, rather than the need to remember long move sequences. It’s worth pointing out that White may play in Hippo-style too. On this ChessBase video course IM and FIDE Senior Trainer Andrew Martin maps out a game plan for the Hippo user and shows how the opening is played in the present day. It is an exciting tour of some very unusual chess.

• Video running time: 5 hours (English)
• With interactive training including video feedback
• Extra: Training with ChessBase apps – play key positions against Fritz on various levels


  1. Introduction & General Ideas The Hippopotamus system of defence with Andrew Martin
  2. Introduction
  3. The Game Plan
  4. Spoelman vs Hort
  5. Jansa vs Jokic
  6. Plaskett vs Martin
  7. Petrosian vs Spassky
  8. Nezhmetdinov vs Ujtelky
  9. Nasuta vs Krasenkow
  10. Klekowski vs Kamsky
  11. Hippo vs Queen Pawn Systems
  12. e4, d4, c4 and f4
  13. 1.d4 g6 2.c4 Bg7 3.Nc3 e6 4.Bf4 Ne7
  14. 1.d4 g6 2.e4 Bg7 3.c4 e6 4.Nc3 Ne7 5.Bg5
  15. 1.d4 g6 2.e4 Bg7 3.c4 b6 4.Nc3 Bb7 5.Nf3 d6 6.Bd3 e6
  16. 1.c4 b6 2.d4 Bb7 3.Nc3 e6 4.a3 g6 5.e4 Bg7
  17. Hippo vs Austrian Attack
  18. 1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 d6 4.f4 e6 5.Nf3 Ne7 6.Be2 Nd7
  19. 1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 d6 4.f4 e6 5.Nf3 Ne7 6.Be3 a6
  20. 1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 d6 4.f4 e6 5.Nf3 Ne7 6.Bd3 a6
  21. 1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 d6 4.Be3 a6 5.f4 b5 6.Bd3 e6
  22. Hippo using 1…b6 as a move order trick
  23. 1.e4 b6 2.d4 Bb7 3.Bd3 e6 4.Ne2 d6 5.0-0 Nd7 6.f4 g6
  24. 1.e4 b6 2.d4 Bb7 3.Nc3 e6 4.Nf3 d6 5.Bd3 Nd7 6.0-0 g6
  25. 1.e4 b6 2.d4 Bb7 3.Bd3 g6 4.Ne2 Bg7 5.h4 h6 6.c3 e6
  26. 1.e4 b6 2.d4 Bb7 3.Bd3 e6 4.Nf3 g6 5.c3 Bg7 6.Bg5 Ne7
  27. 1.d4 b6 2.e4 Bb7 3.Nc3 e6 4.Bd3 g6 5.Nge2 Bg7 6.0-0 Ne7
  28. Hippo vs an early Bc4
  29. 1.e4 g6 2.d4 d6 3.Bc4 Bg7 4.Nf3 e6 5.Bb3 Ne7
  30. 1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 d6 4.Bc4 e6 5.Nge2 Ne7
  31. Hippo vs Be3 and Bg5
  32. 1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 d6 4.Be3 a6 5.Qd2 Nd7
  33. 1.e4 g6 2.Nc3 Bg7 3.d4 d6 4.Be3 a6 5.Qd2 b5
  34. 1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 d6 4.Bg5 a6 5.Qd2 b5
  35. 1.e4 d6 2.d4 a6 3.Be3 Nd7 4.Nc3 e6 5.Qd2 b6
  36. Hippo vs quiet White Systems
  37. 1.Nf3 g6 2.e4 Bg7 3.d4 d6 4.c3 b6 5.Bd3 Bb7 6.0-0 e6
  38. 1.d4 d6 2.e4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.Nf3 a6 5.Be2 e6 6.Bg5 Ne7
  39. 1.d4 g6 2.e4 Bg7 3.Nc3 d6 4.Nf3 a6 5.a4 b6 6.Bd3 Bb7
  40. Outro
  41. Exercises
  42. Description
  43. Exercise 1
  44. Exercise 2
  45. Exercise 3
  46. Exercise 4
  47. Exercise 5
  48. Exercise 6
  49. Exercise 7
  50. Exercise 8
  51. Exercise 9

Additional information


Running Time

5 hours



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Type of Video

Production House