The Hedgehog is a thoroughly modern defense where flexibility and understanding trump rote memorization.
Using deeply annotated critical games from international practice, GM Sergey Shipov traces the Hedgehog's development - from its origins as a way to avoid well-trodden paths to its current status as a respected weapon in Black's armory.
The Hedgehog has been adopted by the likes of Tal, Larsen, Adams, Kasparov, Kamsky, and Karpov. Drawing on decades of experience playing this defense, Shipov has put together much more than a simple opening manual full of variations.
The author meticulously explains strategic themes, typical formations, move-order subtleties, and explores the thorny question:Is the Hedgehog a "theoretically sound" opening - and does that really matter?
Along the way, the reader gets to see the mind of a grandmaster hard at work, and is treated to a lesson on one of the most important skills in chess: how to evaluate a position.
Shipov shares his approach to chess and life, and his passion for both, in this entertaining, philosophical, and highly readable work.
Russian GM Sergey Shipov is a highly respected author and trainer, best known for his live online commentary at top international chess tournaments.
From the foreword by Garry Kasparov:
"The Hedgehog came into prominence in the 1970's, around the same time I also made my entry into the world of what we call "big chess" in Russian. I learned it from my Baku peer Elmar Magerramov as a youth and eventually added it to my repertoire. (..)
From the beginning, the Hedgehog has been about concepts and plans, not concrete variations and memorized lines. Sergey Shipov's profound interest in these underlying ideas are what make his approach, and this book, so valuable.
We had countless "discussions" over the board in blitz in this opening while Sergey was working with me in the late 90's and 2000. He's not just a strong practical player, but someone who likes to study and to pursue the truth.
I highly recommend this book because it investigates strategic concepts instead of being limited to mere reactions. Knowing what to do and when to do it might allow for a degree of success.
But to achieve mastery of anything, you must also understand WHY. With Grandmaster Shipov's expert guidance, the reader has every opportunity to do exactly that."