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Well, with that title, you might be asking what's that Flear chap up to this time!?
The YAK is the name that I've given to a strange hybrid system which involves Black playing with ...Nh6 rather than ...Nf6 (see the explanation below). As it seems to have started in Yugoslav chess circles I've called it the Yugoslav Asymmetric Knight (=YAK).
The DID is the Double Indian Defence where Black fianchettos both bishops against a regular-looking Queen's pawn opening. There is a difference between the DID and the Hippo: in the DID Black restrains e2-e4 and is more likely to compete actively in the central arena, whereas a Hippo usually involves allowing White to develop at will with whatever centre he desires.
I already discussed the TAQID six months ago (The Accelerated Queen's Indian Defence, where Black plays a very early ...b6 and ...Bb7). The DID is an offshoot where ...g6 (rather than ...e6 or ...e5) is employed to then develop the dark-squared bishop. Confused? All will become clear below!

Download PGN of May ’19 Daring Defences games

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YAK a definition and brief discussion [D02]

Odd-looking, cert, but as it's been played by some top GMs it has to be treated with respect. As to the basic philosophy, Black can't be denied the opportunity to head towards the centre with ...Nf5 where it's quite handily placed for pressing on d4 and it could always go one step further to the influential d6-square. So spending a tempo or two to optimize the knight and free up the bishop's diagonal has clearly appealed to some and, of course, deploying the kingside pieces somewhat asymmetrically could lead to a tense struggle, especially if the opponent is out of his comfort zone!

YAK without c2-c4 [D02]

It seems to make a great deal of sense to consolidate the d-pawn with c2-c3 with thoughts of expanding in the centre with e2-e4. If Black allows this push then White has the easier piece play. Nigel Short has shown a preference for blocking this idea, but both ...f5 at some point (with a sort of Stonewall-Leningrad Dutch) or 8...Bf5, as in the featured encounter Pantsulaia, L - Short, N have their drawbacks. White's handling in this game suggests that Black doesn't solve his problems that easily. I would point readers in the direction of ...f5 which, based on my observations in the Leningrad (where the f5 and d5 structure sometimes occurs), creates practical difficulties for White as to the choice of plan.

YAK with c2-c4 [D02]

Here play often involves some 'Neo-Grünfeld style' ideas with the particularity that a subsequent ...Nh6-f5 will hit the d4-pawn. This can be useful whether Black decides on a combative ...dxc4 approach or settles for solidity with ...c6. Practical experience (which is albeit limited) indicates that Black can obtain an acceptable game with either plan, but the 6.Qa4+ of Teterev, V - Ivanisevic, I is less testing than the principled gambit 6.e4!?.

The Double Indian Defence (DID) [A50]

The TAQID with ...g6 whilst fighting for e4, I have named the Double Indian Defence or DID. In Lalith, B - Eljanov, P the solid 8.Qc2 competes for the e4-square, whereupon the strange-looking 8...f5!? comes into consideration, but the Ukrainian GM settled for 8...Nxc3 9.Qxc3 c5! after which he obtained a comfortable game. In fact, I think that Black has all the benefits of an analogous line in the QID with the added bonus of more dynamic potential due to his kingside fianchetto.

There was a hint of Black getting the better of this struggle, but Lalith defended well to earn his half-point.

Meeting 7...Ne4 with 8.Bd2 gives one the possibility of gaining the bishop pair at the cost of ceding some control of the centre. In the rapid game Yuffa, D - Romanov, E Black duly took this option hoping then to snipe at White's centre from afar with his bishops lying in wait for any sign of weakness. Romanov didn't have to hang around for long, as imprecise play on White's part enabled him to get in ...b5 when it couldn't be met in a satisfactory manner. I personally like bishops, but I also appreciate having more space, so I'm not sure which side I'd prefer in this variation. Objectively, White's control of the centre should enable him to feel confident early on, but the latent power of the bishops shouldn't be underestimated.

There are all sorts of opening variations where one side gives up bishop for knight in order to saddle the opponent with doubled pawns. The TAQID is one of these it seems, as you'll see in the Markoja, B - Safarli, E encounter where Black tried to vary from more conventional development with 4...Bxf3!?. Clearly, in the game, the calm 7.Qc2 followed by the strange-looking 8.Be2 didn't feel right, and indeed I've given the latter of these a ?! sign, as Black then had a clear plan and no real problems. The biggest test seems to be a more natural method of development with 7.Bg2 0-0 8.0-0 d5 9.f4 when there is some pressure on the light squares.

The Accelerated Queen's Indian TAQID [A50]

Another example of Black using ...g6 to deploy his dark-squared bishop was seen in Erigaisi, A - Jumabayev, R although, please note that, the sharp 7...e5 is still critical (see the November 2018 update for plenty of detail, and a recent innovation in the notes here).

When I examined the TAQID a few months ago, I evoked this possibility, but was concerned about Black's chances following 8.h4. Now I'm less sure, as if Black delays kingside castling he shouldn't get into trouble on the h-file. In the featured game, 7...g6 was met by the more cautious 8.Nf3 and then after the further 8...Bg7 9.Bc4 Jumabayev tried 9...Qd7!? and notably only castled after White had done so too (thus limiting the likelihood of coming under a blitzkrieg attack).

An exciting game ensued with a definite Grünfeld flavour about it.

Dutch 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bg5 d5 [A80]

In Akobian, V - Caruana, F White's lead in development justified an aggressive approach.

Previously, Black has replied to 7.g4 with 7...fxg4 where, in two encounters, he obtained adequate chances.

Instead, in our featured game, Caruana's 7...cxd4 8.exd4 Qb6 could have been met by 9.gxf5! when I would definitely take White.

Later, after Akobian missed this chance, he drifted somewhat, and then was thoroughly outplayed.

Dutch 2.Bg5 h6 3.Bh4 g5 4.e3 [A80]

The 1-0 result was something of a surprise after Black obtained such a good game in Yakubboev, N - Fedoseev, V. In the opening, 6.h4 was met by 6...g4, and then following 7.Nc3 Black played his knight to h5. We haven't considered this position in ChessPublishing before:

Both sides have various choices of plan, but I quite like the way that Fedoseev obtained good development, plus chances to create counterplay. The attraction of this line is that it's less dangerous for Black (as the kingside stays closed for longer) and less theoretical than 6...Rg8, but of course 6...g4 could be met by 7.h5, but you'll be pleased to know that Fedoseev seems to know what he's doing here as well (see the notes).

Dutch Leningrad 7.Nc3 Qe8 8.Nd5 Nxd5 9.cxd5 h6 [A87]

In Prithu, G - Lagarde, M the out-of-fashion 8.Nd5!? Nxd5 9.cxd5 was met by 9...h6, a rare move that was shown in this game to be somewhat weakening. It's a long time since we've looked at the main alternatives 9...Qb5 and 9...Nd7 but, after this debacle, despite possible improvements for Black at various stages, I would recommend subscribers to opt for one of those.

After the further moves 10.Bd2 Kh7?! White drummed up a kingside attack starting with 11.e4! :

which made Black's creative play look rather dubious.

Dutch Leningrad 7.Nc3 Nc6 8.d5 Na5 [A89]

In Xiong, J - Nakamura, H after 8.d5 Black responded with the decentralizing 8...Na5, a move that Nakamura has played at least a couple of times before. He then correctly followed up to 9.b3 with the careful 9...c5. The plan then employed had striking similarities with the Panno King's Indian (i.e. ...c5, ...a6, ...Rb8 and ...b5). In a largely manoeuvring game, White failed to find a good way to create play in the centre, whereas Black's expansion on the queenside eventually led to some positional pluses in the endgame.

The biggest test in the opening, according to the statistics, seems to be 10.Bd2 (rather than 10.Bb2) where the bishop surveys two important diagonals.

Till next month, Glenn Flear

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