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Every Russian Schoolboy Knows: Revolution Revisited - Part 1

Opening: A30 : English: symmetrical variation

Player(s): Nepomniachtchi, Kramnik, Yermolinsky, Adelberg, Danailov

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The Hedgehog is more than a line of the English Opening, it's a concept that can be applied to many openings, from the Sicilian to the King's Indian Defense. Black eschews the traditional central pawn placement in favor of the fire-retarding elastic “small” center of the d6-e6 pawns, complimented by moving his a- and b-pawn one step forward and positioning his pieces on the 7th rank, Nf6 being the only exception.

When introduced by the young players of the 1970's, Ljubojevic, Andersson, Adorjan and many others, it served as the red cloth waved before the eyes of the old lion guard. To their great annoyance, even best of them, the likes of Taimanov, Polugaevsky and Uhlmann, could not bust the Hedgehog, instead, finding their own position in ruin.

Decades later, it is universally believed that White has no real advantage in the Hedgehog middlegame. Therefore, modern efforts are concentrated on acting fast right out of the gate to interfere with Black's setup.

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