The Hippopotamus Defence is just what a club player needs. It’s a straightforward and clear-cut chess opening that avoids the ever growing body of mainline theory. It’s universal: Black can use the Hippo against virtually all of White’s choices (1.e4, 1.d4, 1.c4, 1.f4, the Colle, London, Trompowsky, Réti and others). It’s not 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 inside there lurks a very dangerous animal. FIDE Master Alessio de Santis is one of the world’s greatest experts on the Hippo 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 stage 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 all club players. If you like to confront your opponents with some unexpected counter-attacks, then you need not look any further.
Alessio de Santis is a FIDE Master and one of the best known and most successful chess authors of Italy.