Understanding Middlegame Strategies Vol.3 - The Hedgehog

Throughout my playing career I have found the Hedgehog (with both colours) one of the most difficult type of positions to master. With White (the side with more space) there is always a danger to overextend oneself (or miss your opponent’s pawn break). While playing Black (the side with less space) there is always a danger to mistime your pawn break, or simply to not get counterplay and be overrun.

The complexity of those positions is best illustrated in a Kasparov-Kramnik game – with both players allowing seemingly “obvious” mistakes. Charbonneau-Anand is another good example – a player of Anand’s stature landing in a terrible position, then missing his good attacking prospects. The game result was one of the biggest upsets of 2006 Chess Olympiad. There are different types of Hedgehog positions - many of them coming from the English opening where the White bishop is fianchettoed. In this video course I consider the “basic Hedgehog” pawn structure; like the one coming from the Kan Sicilian for example. Choosing the right plan at the right time is the key here - the ensuing positions are full of dynamic possibilities. I endeavour to show the most common (and a few less common!) plans for both sides and try to pinpoint typical mistakes and motifs. The basic aim of this video is to improve understanding of these complex positions and to help tournament players score better!

• Video running time: 4 hours (English)
• Extra: Training with ChessBase apps - Play key pawn structures against Fritz on various levels


This is what is delivered:

  • Fritztrainer App for Windows and Mac
  • Available as download or on DVD
  • Video course with a running time of approx. 4-8 hrs.
  • Repertoire database: save and integrate Fritztrainer games into your own repertoire (in WebApp Opening or in ChessBase)
  • Interactive exercises with video feedback: the authors present exercises and key positions, the user has to enter the solution. With video feedback (also on mistakes) and further explanations.
  • Sample games as a ChessBase database.
  • New: many Fritztrainer now also available as stream in the ChessBase video portal!

That's what the FritzTrainer App can do for you:

  • Videos can run in the Fritztrainer app or in the ChessBase program with board graphics, notation and a large function bar
  • Analysis engine can be switched on at any time
  • Video pause for manual navigation and analysis in game notation
  • Input of your own variations, engine analysis, with storage in the game
  • Learn variations: view specific lines in the ChessBase WebApp Opening with autoplay, memorize variations and practise transformation (initial position - final position).
  • Active opening training: selected opening positions are transferred to the ChessBase WebApp Fritz-online. In a match against Fritz you test your new knowledge and actively play the new opening.

Even more possibilities: Start FritzTrainer in the ChessBase program!

  • The database with all games and analyses can be opened directly.
  • Games can be easily added to the opening reference.
  • Direct evaluation with game reference, games can be replayed on the analysis board
  • Your own variations are saved and can be added to the own repertoire
  • Replay training
  • LiveBook active
  • All engines installed in ChessBase can be started for the analysis
  • Assisted Analysis
  • Print notation and diagrams (for worksheets)

Sample video


  • Hedgehog - Part 1
  • Introduction and Fischer vs Andersson
  • Black pushes the g-pawn: Charbonneau vs Anand
  • Regrouping: Kasparov vs Kramnik
  • h-pawn push: Topalov vs Kasimdzhanov
  • White fights the h-pawn push: Radjabov vs Kamsky
  • Aggressive ideas for White
  • White castles kingside and pushes the g-pawn: J. Van Foreest vs Bilguun
  • Kingside pawn roll: Cramling vs Gruenfeld
  • Hedgehog - Part 2
  • Dark square control: Tal vs Polugaevsky
  • White pushes the a-pawn: Agrest vs Nisipeanu
  • White pushes the a-pawn 2: Firouzja vs Vachier-Lagrave
  • Doubled-pawns: Acs vs Polgar
  • Doubled-pawns 2: Eljanov vs Kudrin
  • White castles queenside
  • Diagonal domination: Romanishin vs Petrosian
  • Diagonal domination 2
  • Pawn structure change: Carlsen vs Wojtaszek
  • Practice positions
  • Description
  • Position 1 - Black to move
  • Position 1 - White to move
  • Position 2 - Black to move
  • Position 2 - White to move
  • Position 3 - Black to move
  • Position 3 - White to move
  • Position 4 - Black to move
  • Position 4 - White to move
  • Position 5 - Black to move
  • Position 5 - White to move
  • Position 6 - Black to move
  • Position 6 - White to move
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