Chess Structures in Practice - The Hedgehog

GM mauricioflores
Aug 23, 2015, 12:38 PM |

I write this blog in order to expand upon the ideas presented in my book Chess Structures - a Grandmaster Guide, published this year by Quality Chess. I follow the games of the elite on a daily basis, often looking for new instructive examples and structure-related concepts worth sharing with my readers. I write instructive posts twice a month.

Over the past few days, the 68th Russian Superfinal took place in the city of Chita. Evgeny Tomashevsky took clear first, once again proving he is a new Russian super star to watch. Being that said, I was very interested in following the games of the young star Vladislav Artemiev, in his quest to reach 2700 rating.

The young player Vladislav Artemiev has been a topic of conversation for both specialists and amateurs who enjoy following the progress of the most promising prodigies in the world. He is currently rated 2671, at the age of 17, he is the second most important junior player after the Chinese super star Wei Yi, who is currenty ranked #23 in the world, despite being only 16.

I found this game interesting because it is a great example of Black's ...g6-g5 idea against the Hedgehog structure (which I cover in Chapter 10). Artemiev's idea seems rather risky at first, but the game's analysis prove its solid positional foundation. I also Artemiev's fighting spirit should be commended. He plays for a win with Black, from the very first move, against a much higher rated player.

Here's the game:



Final Remarks:

  1. The key idea in this game was Black's ...h7-h6 followed by ...g6-g5. This is a relatively standard approach against the Hedgehog structure, in order to fight for the dark-squares.
  2. After move 12th, Black might seem to be somewhat behind in development, but this didn't make a difference because Artemiev had taken positional control of the game. White spent the next few moves simply moving around in a futile search for a plan.
  3. The position after move 25th is a great illustration of Black's strategy. Even though the position is simplified and his kingside might seem to be weakened, he continues to be in control of the game. His position is far more threatening, and his king safer than White's.
  4. Artemiev is one of the world's young starts to watch. 
This week we have the Sinquefield Cup, so I hope to be back soon, with another instructive game. In the meantime, make sure to checkout my earlier entries. You can also read more about my book on this link.
Feel free to leave comments or suggestions.