Andras Adorjan and the Hedgehog formation

3/7/2007 – The Hungarian grandmaster, a former world championship candidate and outstanding theoretician and polemicist, is famous for his “Black is OK!” slogan. In his Thursday night Playchess lecture Dennis Monokroussos shows us how in 1979 Adorjan used the Hedgehog to rout Tony Miles in 32 moves.

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Dennis Monokroussos writes:

Hungarian grandmaster Andras Adorjan is a colorful fellow: a former world championship candidate, an experienced trainer, and perhaps above all, an outstanding theoretician and polemicist, probably best known for his slogan “Black is OK!” Adorjan thinks the White slight edge is a myth and that Black can fight for the advantage from the first move, and he has tried to prove it in his theoretical researches. Perhaps the most extraordinary of his ideas is the “Adorjan Gambit”: 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.f3 e5!??, which Leko once used against Kramnik – and won!

One combative variation Adorjan has employed is the so-called “Hedgehog”, a formation against the English (and sometimes in the Sicilian) characterized by Black pawns on a6, b6, d6 and e6 against a White pawn on c4 (and often on e4); Black’s c-pawn and White’s d-pawn have been exchanged. It may look passive – Black’s pawns and pieces are all situated on the last three ranks, while White typically occupies all four ranks on his side of the board – but Black’s position enjoys enormous dynamic potential.

Case in point: the game Miles-Adorjan, from the 1979 Interzonal in Riga. Miles grabbed his space, took aim at the d-pawn, made no glaring errors…and was routed in 32 moves. To see how this happened, and why, tune in this Thursday night (9 pm ET), and learn some of the mysteries of the Hedgehog in the process! See you then.

Dennis Monokroussos' Radio ChessBase lectures begin on Thursdays at 9 p.m. EDT, which translates to 02:00h GMT, 03:00 Paris/Berlin, 13:00h Sydney (on Friday). Other time zones can be found at the bottom of this page. You can use Fritz or any Fritz-compatible program (Shredder, Junior, Tiger, Hiarcs) to follow the lectures, or download a free trial client.

You can find the exact times for different locations in the world at World Time and Date. Exact times for most larger cities are here. And you can watch older lectures by Dennis Monokroussos offline in the Chess Media System room of Playchess:

Enter the above archive room and click on "Games" to see the lectures. The lectures, which can go for an hour or more, will cost you between one and two ducats. That is the equivalent of 10-20 Euro cents (14-28 US cents).


Dennis Monokroussos is 40, lives in South Bend, IN, and is an adjunct professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame.

He is fairly inactive as a player right now, spending most of his non-philosophy time being a husband and teaching chess. At one time he was one of the strongest juniors in the U.S., but quit for about eight years starting in his early 20s. His highest rating was 2434 USCF, but he has now fallen to the low-mid 2300s – "too much blitz, too little tournament chess", he says.

Dennis has been working as a chess teacher for seven years now, giving lessons to adults and kids both in person and on the internet, worked for a number of years for New York’s Chess In The Schools program, where he was one of the coaches of the 1997-8 US K-8 championship team from the Bronx, and was very active in working with many of CITS’s most talented juniors.

When Dennis Monokroussos presents a game, there are usually two main areas of focus: the opening-to-middlegame transition and the key moments of the middlegame (or endgame, when applicable). With respect to the latter, he attempts to present some serious analysis culled from his best sources (both text and database), which he has checked with his own efforts and then double-checked with his chess software.


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