Understanding Middlegame Strategies Vol.3 – The Hedgehog

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GM Ivan Sokolov
Grandmaster Ivan Sokolov

Throughout my playing career, I have found the Hedgehog (with both colours) one of the most difficult types of positions to master. With White (the side with more space) there is always a danger to overextend oneself (or miss your opponent’s pawn break). While playing Black (the side with less space) there is always a danger to mistime your pawn break, or simply not getting counterplay and being overrun.


The complexity of those positions is best illustrated in a Kasparov-Kramnik game – with both players allowing seemingly “obvious” mistakes. Charbonneau-Anand is another good example – a player of Anand’s stature landing in a terrible position, then missing his good attacking prospects. The game result was one of the biggest upsets of 2006 Chess Olympiad. There are different types of Hedgehog positions – many of them coming from the English opening where the White bishop is fianchettoed. In this video course, I consider the “basic Hedgehog” pawn structure; like the one coming from the Kan Sicilian for example. Choosing the right plan at the right time is the key here – the ensuing positions are full of dynamic possibilities. I endeavour to show the most common (and a few less common!) plans for both sides and try to pinpoint typical mistakes and motifs. The basic aim of this video is to improve understanding of these complex positions and to help tournament players score better!

• Video running time: 4 hours (English)
• Extra: Training with ChessBase apps – Play key pawn structures against Fritz on various levels


  1. Hedgehog – Part 1Understanding Middlegame Strategies Vol.3 The Hedgehog
  2. Introduction and Fischer vs Andersson
  3. Black pushes the g-pawn: Charbonneau vs Anand
  4. Regrouping: Kasparov vs Kramnik
  5. h-pawn push: Topalov vs Kasimdzhanov
  6. White fights the h-pawn push: Radjabov vs Kamsky
  7. Aggressive ideas for White
  8. White castles kingside and pushes the g-pawn: J. Van Foreest vs Bilguun
  9. Kingside pawn roll: Cramling vs Gruenfeld
  10. Hedgehog – Part 2
  11. Dark square control: Tal vs Polugaevsky
  12. White pushes the a-pawn: Agrest vs Nisipeanu
  13. White pushes the a-pawn 2: Firouzja vs Vachier-Lagrave
  14. Doubled-pawns: Acs vs Polgar
  15. Doubled-pawns 2: Eljanov vs Kudrin
  16. White castles queenside
  17. Diagonal domination: Romanishin vs Petrosian
  18. Diagonal domination 2
  19. Pawn structure change: Carlsen vs Wojtaszek
  20. Practice positions
  21. Description
  22. Position 1 – Black to move
  23. Position 1 – White to move
  24. Position 2 – Black to move
  25. Position 2 – White to move
  26. Position 3 – Black to move
  27. Position 3 – White to move
  28. Position 4 – Black to move
  29. Position 4 – White to move
  30. Position 5 – Black to move
  31. Position 5 – White to move
  32. Position 6 – Black to move
  33. Position 6 – White to move

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