Hedgehog has sharp quills!

I found two games from the Second Ruy López International Chess Festival won by Michael Adams with +4. China’s Zhang Pengxiang came in second on 5-2. I saw a couple of interesting games, one of which was won by Fabiano Caruana against the rising Hou Yifan of China. Both involved the hedgehog setup. It is a common setup employed most notably in the Sicilian and English. It is characterized by the absence of any pieces or pawns past the 3rd rank. See the position below for black.

Hou Yifan-Fabiano Caruana

Hou Yifan-Fabiano Caruana

The idea is that this flexible setup is responsive to any onslaught from white and when the board explodes, blacks pieces are typically well-placed. White will often try to rush the kingside pawns on black, but a timely counter in the center usually leads to a bloody battle where fierce blows are traded. I have played this system for many years and it is resourceful, but it can be tricky if one is not careful of the move order. Following are a few games with the hedgehog… including a surprise “oldie but goodie”! 🙂

Check out these exciting hedgehogs!

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