The Hippopotamus Defence is considered one of the most solid defences and GM Tigran Petrosian is considered one of the most defensive players. Apparently, Petrosian knows about Hippopotamus, but why did he never use this super-defensive defence? I thought this opening suits his playing style perfectly.

  • Why would he, with plenty of other optiones Mar 28 at 19:18
  • too rare/hypermodern of a choice?
    – cmgchess
    Mar 28 at 20:40
  • This is not an opinion-based question. There are definitely right and wrong answers to it
    – David
    Mar 29 at 10:50
  • 3
    No clue why this was closed either. It is certainly possible to provide an objective answer here. Voted to reopen. Mar 29 at 20:00
  • @RewanDemontay apparently the only questions that have objective answers are the ones discussing nerd engine shit
    – David
    Mar 30 at 10:00

1 Answer 1


The Hippo is passive, but definitely not solid.. Black is allowing White to set up the way they like without posing any real challenge.

There are simply too many ways for White to get a lasting advantage, and given that time controls in Petrosian's time were longer than today, I can't think of any situation where it'd be worth it to play the Hippo.

  • 3
    Thank you for your answer! Spassky played Hippo against Petrosian in the World Championship Match and the game was a draw.
    – Zuriel
    Mar 29 at 2:45

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