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The complete Hedgehog Volume 1 (2009) + Volume 2 (2011)

Author: Sergey Shipov

Publisher: Monghouse

Total pages: 1116!!!

What are the criteria you use in order to choose a chess Opening book? First of all, the target-opening coverage is a must. Secondly, the author’ style has to be not too brut, and enough to let the opening phase and the resulting issuing plans be transmitted to your mind in a smooth way, not in an encyclopedic style. Thirdly, the author reputation of using the opening by him during his tournaments participations is of a great importance, resulting in forcing you to decide to buy the book.

In those monumental volumes, the Russian Grand Master Sergey Shipov investigates deeply the Hegdehog System for Black in all its form, arising from 1.c4 (the English Opening – Volume 1, 1.e4 and 1.d4 (Sicilian, Nimzo – Volume 2).

All White’s plans are presented (I insist on the word: plan) in those 1100+ pages, including the basic strategic and tactical ideas for both sides, assisted in some lines by a computer engine, all this in an amiable style, which put you in a state that Shipov is sitting by your side, profiting from his decades of experience with this system to explain to you, dear reader, every move, every idea, with a humoristic style. Even when he explains why a certain plan or idea or a bad move appeared on the board, you will feel the player’ suffer. And when a typical counter-move was executed, a mix of feelings of proudness, glory and satisfaction is shared between the player, the author and the reader.

What distinguishes also those books is that they are not a repertoire book! Yes, every presented game has entered in chess history due to its instructive value, and/or to the players’ famous names.

Another important factor that the author succeeds in achieving through both volumes is improving the skill of the reader of how to evaluate a certain position, using his entertaining writing style and philosophical approach to our noble game. Even some unnecessary games continuations are truncated or left without any comments, just to save space.

Just one important issue: they are NOT amateur choice books, as a good level of understating of some Sicilian structure and experience with it are needed from the reader

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Do you want insurance for the quality of THE COMPLETE HEDGEHOG contents? Well, no other than Garry Kasparov has written the Foreword.

My impression:  the best Opening books I ever read.

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