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Rashid Gibiatovich Nezhmetdinov vs Maximilian Ujtelky
RUS 1964  ·  Modern Defense: Standard Defense (B06)  ·  0-1
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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jan-06-07  WarmasterKron: <Rubenus> Andy Martin is no stranger to eccentricity, and has actually written a book on the Hippo.
Premium Chessgames Member
  notyetagm: <erimiro1: Look at the Black pawns after the 18th. move. Indeed the game is strange.>

Position after 18 ... c6:

click for larger view


Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <'Devious chess'> is an invitation from the Israelian chess master and compositor into the world of fascinating chess moves and extraordinary chess games. The author (Master chess psychologist <Amatzia Avni>) takes you from the main road into the world of unexplored lands so as the play of the Czech Maximilian Utjtelky who enjoyed to creep around the edges of the chess board. Avni describes Utjtelky as followed in his devious chess: 'The Czech IM Maximilian Ujtelky made a living out of bizarre formations like the "hippopotamus", consisting of placing his pawns along the third rank. Basically, Ujtelky was provoking his opponents to the extreme and was waiting for them to have nervous breakdown. Sometimes he was slaughtered, at other times his scheme paid dividends.' By the way the great Andrew Martin describes the "hippopotamus" as: 'The idea is that black develops within his own first three ranks at the beginning of the game. He will construct a solid, stable yet flexible position, wait to see what white is doing and react accordingly' ('The Hippopotamus Rises', Batsford 2005). Avni gives a nice example in this book of the game Nezhmetdinov - Ujtelky, Sochi 1964, where the master of attack Nezhmetdinov obtained a won position but than freaked out, sacrificed a lot of material and went down in 75 moves. ...

Interesting is the tip from Amatzia Avni to search for hidden treasures in offbeat magazines and on obscure web sites, run by average club players. Games played on the Internet are also a major reservoir of devious chess but when you take up this book from Avni it is nearly impossible to put it down! Conclusion: A fascinating read!

With kind permission of the author John Elburg (

More on Ujtelky see 27th Dec 2006

Dec-27-07  klon3: this game is strange.
where did Nezhmedinov go wrong? interesting how black advances every pawn in the camp.
May-20-08  Whitehat1963: Certainly one of the most interesting games of the Player of the Day.
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: Imagine if Ujtelky played Black against Boris Alterman?

B Alterman vs Deep Fritz, 2000

There would be pawn walls on the board!

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  Phony Benoni: That's one way to avoid a back rank weakness.
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  sleepyirv: I shoot the hippopotamus. With bullets made of platinum, Because if I use leaden ones. His hide is sure to flatten 'em- Hilaire Belloc
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  parisattack: Hurray for the Hippo! Interesting when Nezh indicated he wanted to lever the KR, Ujtelky played ....Nf8 instead of the standard' Hippo ...Nf6, leaving the f-pawn free to advance.

I also chuckled at <FSR>s comment that Nezh 'went berserk.'

I don't suppose anyone here has a copy of J.C. Thompson's little book on the Hippo (1957) they would like to sell or share?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Garech: Fantastic game - maybe one of my all time favourites.


Aug-01-11  Akavall: < Maatalkko: I've been browsing throught this kind of stuff for the past week and I've developed a working hypothesis: It's impossible to break a Black pawn wall without inserting some well-timed pawn advances to chew Black's structure. I also think that the d4,e4,nc3,nf6 setup is a bit passive against the hedgehog. If my hypothesis holds true, then White will have to play e5/d5 to break the center open, but these moves aren't always well-supported. Of course White can always try to open a rook-file, but the Black king doesn't even have to castle!

The only setup I am scared of against the Hippo is f4, e4, d4. This can always lead to a pawn roller.

Any thoughts on this? Is it possible to break Black's wall without creating pawn storm?>

I think your hypothesis is right. If white are able to play f5, they should be in pretty good shape.

I posted this on the Hippo's close relative the Tiger, on another website:

I think similar ideas apply.

Nov-27-11  knighterrant999: 18...c6!! Just because I said so.
Nov-27-11  King Death: 18...c6 should get !!! because of its "nyah nyah, I dare you" attitude to the attacking maestro.

White's bishop on b3 was a sorry looking piece for sure, which sometimes happens in the Pirc/Modern.

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  King Sacrificer: What a magnificent game! It just needs a good pun to be GOTD.
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  parisattack: Has anyone engine'd this game? Particularly after 16. ... c6. As much as I like the Robatsch I think Ujtelky must have pushed it too far here.

Supposedly Nezh had a won game at some point? 17. h5 softening things up on the kingside before black hits in the center?

I am still seeking a copy/pdf of the old Thompson book...

Premium Chessgames Member
  Shams: This game is like a shining city on a hill for Robatsch players.

<parisattack> Notes from a quick (5 sec/move) pass-through with Shredder 12:

On <18...c6> the engine of course likes White, +1.23, but White must find 19.d5 cd 20.ed e5 21.h5 g5 22.Nd4 Kg8 23.Nc6 Bxc6 24.dxc6+ d5 25.Rd3 Qxd6 26.Red1 Ne6 27.Nxd5. The text gives White a modest edge, 2/3 of a pawn.

As you might expect given White's space advantage, the evaluation creeps up without the engine suggesting any improvements for Black. Around move 30 White is up the equivalent of two pawns or so. But White's <36.Ne1> squanders half of his edge; instead Shredder likes 36.Nd3 Nd7 37.Qa3 a5 38.h5 Qb8 39.Rg3 g5 40.Nc5 a4 41.Bc2 g4

White lost his small advantage for the final time with <39.Bc2> +.17, when 39.Qa3 a5 40.Qd6 Nd7 41.Rg3 Qb8 42.Bc2 a4 43.Re1 Ra6 44.Rge3 c5 45.Qxb8 Nxb8 46.Nxc5 Rc6 is +1.06

...and lost the game with <45.Nxe6?> -1.76 (instead 45.Nxd5 -0.57)

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: This is my first experience of this game, and a strange game it is. There is something of a resemblance to a first-round mismatch in a major open, where Black is more concerned with merely staying on the board for a while than with undertaking anything positive.

When that great attacker Nezhmetdinov loses his way in the middlegame, however, Ufimtsev does not falter.

Premium Chessgames Member
  parisattack: <Shams: This game is like a shining city on a hill for Robatsch players.>

Thank you much!

My sense is that the engines may not be at their best in such positions - but clearly White must have an edge - as much as it pains this old hypermodern to say so!

A friend of mine (2200 ELO) used Shredder to analyze 1. b4 lines some time back. He said he thought it over-valued Black's positions a lot of times and that evaluations 'jumped' more frequently than in standard opening lines.

I am tempted to get Houdini but I have heard if you don't invest the time to learn how to use an engine properly, can hurt your play more than help it. True? Anyway, the worst I can get hurt with a book is to drop it on my foot so perhaps I will stand as is. :)

Feb-16-13  vinidivici: GOTD!!
Feb-16-13  JohnTal: GOTD name - I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas. Make this GOTD on Christmas Day
Feb-19-14  GumboGambit: I like 'Shoot From The Hippo'
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gregor Samsa Mendel: The Hippopotamus

I shoot the Hippopotamus
With bullets made of platinum,
Because if I use leaden ones
His hide is sure to flatten 'em.

Hilaire Belloc

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gregor Samsa Mendel: Oops--<sleepyirv> beat me to the punch almost four years ago.
Premium Chessgames Member
  devere: White had a winning position after 35 moves and then made a string of inferior moves starting with 36.Ne1?. He capped them off with the unsound piece sacrifice 45.Nxe6? and lost.
Premium Chessgames Member
  sleepyirv: The Tortoise and the Hare

A strange victory from the Player of the Day, certainly designed ahead of time to beat the aggressive Nezhmetdinov.

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