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Hippopotamus Defence

  • #1

    The Hippopotamus Defence is considered a bad opening by many, others haven't heard of it. The Hippo Defence involves g6, Bg7, d6, e6, Ne7, Nd7, b6, Bb7, O-O and relies on white trying to break through with e4 or d5 before black. It does not matter too much what white plays. It is a counter attacking opening where, if white breaks with d5 black plays e5 and plays for f5. If e5, black plays d5 and c5. I'm actually taking up this opening here on Chess.com, just for fun and trying something new. If anyone would like to play a game as white against my Hippo, feel free to send me a challenge. We can talk while playing, or if anyone has actually played this opening as black I would like to see a game.

  • #2

    Well, I dont know much abt this opening, but Gonnosuke strikes a strong point here with that game there. But I'll research a bit more on this opening and see all sides of it

  • #3

    I tried it a few times. I lost both tragically. They were blitz so I couldnt concentrate though. If you want to see just how bad the last one was go on my live chess games. :(

  • #4

    I played against this system as White: you can view the game from my blog.

  • #5

    It's an okay opening - even some grandmasters play it occasionally. Swedish GM Tiger Hillarp Persson wrote a book where he put a chapter on Hippo and there's a site on the Internet ("Hippopotamuschess.com" if I remember correctly) where there are a lot of games by strong players. Also Andrew Martin wrote a book "The Hippopotamus rises" which isn't that good, but still useful.

  • #6

    I might try this opening out, Hippos are my favorite animals ;)

  • #7
    Gonnosuke wrote:

    It's a great opening if you are playing an aggressive opponent because it's designed for counter-attacking, but against passive opponents it usually leads to boring, drawn games, the kind of games that make you wish you never played the Hippo Defense.

    Here's a recent non-boring game

     

     


    Why play the hippo if you want a crazy game? A player who knows what he is doing against a hippo will just keep building up his position, only striking at the right moment and not giving black any holes to make use of.

    Even so, I'm actually suprised the hippo isn't played more, because like you said it could be excellent against aggressive, attacking players who don't like positional play that much. Certainly you could expect most of them to prematurely advance their center in an attempt to attack, if not absolutely confused about how to play the postion at all.

  • #8

    My first trial to play the hippo - and the last.  Undecided

  • #9

    LOL Black's defense was horrible. Why not to play e6 after Qf3?

  • #10
    Gonnosuke wrote:
    Elubas wrote:
    Gonnosuke wrote:

    It's a great opening if you are playing an aggressive opponent because it's designed for counter-attacking, but against passive opponents it usually leads to boring, drawn games, the kind of games that make you wish you never played the Hippo Defense.

    Here's a recent non-boring game

     

     


    Why play the hippo if you want a crazy game? A player who knows what he is doing against a hippo will just keep building up his position, only striking at the right moment and not giving black any holes to make use of.

    Even so, I'm actually suprised the hippo isn't played more, because like you said it could be excellent against aggressive, attacking players who don't like positional play that much. Certainly you could expect most of them to prematurely advance their center in an attempt to attack, if not absolutely confused about how to play the postion at all.


    One thing you realize after playing the Hippo is that patience is a rare trait.  White should definitely play it slow and incrementally improve his position until the time is right to launch an attack but in my experience most people don't do that.  If anything, the Hippo has a tendency to make me people over confident.

    It's difficult to know why people do what they do but from my side of the board it's almost as if the Paradox of Choice drives white a little mad.  When faced with a position in which there is no obvious course of action, no best move or correct way to play the position, they often unravel or over extend or simply get impatient and do something brash.

    As a drawing weapon for black, it would easily be my first choice.  It's damn tough to crack.


    I should really try it. I think even good players could easily get confused, and I mean not everybody is thinking of how they would crack a hippo.

    You know it seems like almost an insulting opening. Giving white everything he wants, yet it's so hard to actually exploit the space.

  • #11

    I generally like hypermodern play, but I inexplicably loath the hippo. I would never play it, and don't particularly like playing against it (only because I'll be boring too and not over-extend).

    I know it's sound enough, but I hate it. I can't explain why, but it just feels wrong.

  • #12

    No, sir. You are not going to tempt me to the evil that is the hippo with some interesting tactics and complex middlegames.

    Evil, I say!

    Turn your back on it and all will be forgiven. There is still time.

  • #13

    But, but, but....

    Oh, I don't know. It's just so wrong.

    Where's the beauty? Where's the dance of the pieces? Damn it! Where's the theory?

    We need the theory! Don't leave it behind. My memorised lines are important. They must be. Why did I spend so much time memorising them? My beautiful books... none of them say that moving all my pawns to the 3rd rank is a good thing, so it must therefore be a bad thing.

    Ha! The answer.

  • #14

    You must feel guilty though.

    It's a bit like singing "I know a song that will get on your nerves" over and over again until your little sister punches you. Then you cry "Muuuuum! She punched me!"

  • #15

    I actually developed a hippo style formation that I employed in every game I played when I was younger until I began learning openings.  Every time I have completely set it up, I have never lost with it.

  • #16

    Qxe8, was your avatar ...Chuck Norris? Chuck Norris faced the hippo once. He hit it with a spin heel kick and turned it into a set of luggage.

  • #17

    Wow, that Nezhmetdinov game is absurdly difficult. Amazing game.

  • #18
    Gonnosuke wrote:
    18...c6 brings a smile to my face every time I see it.  Madness?  Balls of steel?
    Who knows.

    Incredible.

  • #19

    I think I might take up the hippo defense just for fun

  • #20

    Wow, that Nezhmetdinov game is real?

    Black had all his pawns on rank 3 at one point!  That's amazing, and now I'm tempted to learn more about this system. 

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