Monokroussos on the Hedgehog System(s)

by ChessBase
7/7/2009 – Because of its rather abstract nature and, most obviously, the amount of space it concedes to the opponent, the Hedgehog System (or systems) tend to be relatively unpopular at the club level. In this week's Playchess lecture Dennis Monokroussos shows us that this is not the way things ought to be. Be there to watch on the server at 9 p.m. ET.

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Dennis Monokroussos writes:

While it takes some study, as with any other opening (and indeed, as with anything in life that's worthwhile), many of the basic strategic and tactical ideas of the The Hedgehog System have been worked out and can be quickly grasped by the enthusiastic amateur. Once this has been done, players wielding the white pieces had better look out!

Case in point for this week: the game Robert Byrne-Ulf Andersson, from the 1979 IBM tournament in Amsterdam. The Hedgehog was still in its relatively early days back then, but it had been known through the 70s. Fischer famously used it – with White – to defeat Andersson in an exhibition game, and Andersson had taken it up with Black in the years since then. His opponent, Byrne, was no slouch – a Candidate in 1973 and nearly one again in 1979, but despite this he went down against Andersson, and he went down hard. The moral for us, of course, is that if a player of Byrne's stature could be defeated rather easily by typical Hedgehog techniques, it's reasonable to think that our fellow amateurs are not going to have an easy time of it either.

But see for yourself. The show is at 9 p.m. ET on Wednesday night (that's 3 a.m. CET for the European insomniacs in my audience). It's free, so all you have to do is show up at the right time, go to the Broadcast Room and select Byrne-Andersson under the Games tab. Hope to see you then!

Dennis Monokroussos' Radio ChessBase lectures begin on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. EST, which translates to 02:00h GMT, 03:00 Paris/Berlin, 13:00h Sydney (on Thursday). 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).

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Dennis Monokroussos is 41, lives in South Bend, IN, where he teaches chess and occasionally works as an adjunct professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame and Indiana University-South Bend.

At one time he was one of the strongest juniors in the U.S. and has reached a peak rating of 2434 USCF, but several long breaks from tournament play have made him rusty. He is now resuming tournament chess in earnest, hoping to reach new heights.

Dennis has been working as a chess teacher for ten 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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