Tolush Meets A Hippo

Tolush Meets A Hippo

billwall
billwall
Aug 21, 2008, 12:00 AM |
7 | Amazing Games

Alexander Tolush (1910-1969) was a strong Soviet chessplayer.  He became a master in 1938.  In 1950, he earned the title of International Master.  In 1953, he earned the title of Grandmaster.  In 1965 he earned the title of International Master of Correspondence Chess.  He won the Leningrad Championship five times (1937, 1938, 1946, 1947, 1954).  He played in the USSR Championship ten times, taking 2nd place behind Paul Keres, in 1950.  From 1947 to 1955, he was the trainer to Paul Keres.  From 1949 to 1953, he was the trainer of Ludmila Rudenko, second Women’s World Chess Champion.  He was the coach and trainer of Boris Spassky from 1951 to 1961.  He died at the age of 58.  He was a tank officer during the siege of Leningrad in World War II.  In 1953, he took 1st place at Bucharest, ahead of Petrosian, Smyslov, and Spassky.  In 1950, he was ranked #14 in the world.

 

In 1954, Tolush gave a simultaneous exhibition in England.  One of the players was the eccentric John Crittenden Thompson (1889-1971) of Newcastle, England. During World War I, Thompson was an RAF pilot and was shot down behind enemy lines and had been taken prisoner.  J.C. Thompson was a civil servant who liked to play unusual openings.  One of the openings he analyzed and played was 1.e4 Nh6 (or 1.d4 g6 2.e4 Nh6), which he called the Hippopotamus Defense.  In 1957 he wrote a short pamphlet, entitled Hippopotamus Chess Opening.  He used this opening when he confronted masters and grandmasters during simultaneous exhibitions.  He defeated grandmasters Tolush in 1954 and Janosevic in 1956 (but lost to Keres) with this strange defense.  Thompson first called his opening (...Nh6 as Black and Nh3 as White) , the Chinese Opening, but rejected it in favor of the hippo.  In his eyes, the pawn structure resembled a sleeping hippo. 

 

Here is the game that Thompson defeated Tolush using the old hippo defense in a simul in England.  It’s a wild game with chances for both sides.  Thompson finally found a way to attack White’s King, threatening mate in the middle of the board.  Be sure to look at the Move List for all the annotations and variations to this game.

 

 

 

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