The Hippopotamus Defence is just what a club player needs. It's a clear-cut and straightforward chess opening that avoids the ever growing body of mainline theory. It's universal: Black can use the Hippo against virtually all of White choices: 1.e4, 1.d4, 1.c4, 1.f4, the Colle, London, Trompovsky, Réti and others. It's not yet very well-known and will surprise many opponents. On top of all that, the Hippo is seriously underestimated: with its characteristic double Fianchetto, it may look quiet but is in fact a very dangerous animal. Alessio de Santis is one of the world's greatest experts and has written a practical, well-structured and accessible manual. His book can be studied on three levels: after a first flash of 3 to 4 hours you will be familiar with the Hippo's basic moves and key variations, its strategic themes and recurring manoeuvres. In the second and third phase De Santis leads you through the most important concrete lines and introduces the Semi-Hippopotamus to counter some specific White ideas. You can use the Hippo as a surprise weapon or as your main repertoire. The extensive explanations and clear conclusions make this book an easy-to-navigate manual for club players. If you like to confront your opponents with some unexpected counter-attacks, you need not look any further.
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Alessio de Santis