The Accelerated Dragon has a tricky move order that often bust unsuspecting 1.e4 players who treat it as a regular Classical Dragon. Belonging to the 3 main Dragon Relatives, its move order is as follows:
  1. e4 c5
  2. Nf3 Nc6
  3. d4 cxd4
  4. Nxd4 g6 (see diagram on the right)
The move order has developed a knight on c6 instead of a pawn on d6. This is one of the main reason why most players play the Accelerated Dragon because it allows the black pawn thrust to d5 in one go. It means that if White blindly make his opening moves for a Yugoslav Attack formation in auto-pilot mode, Black in effect will be a tempo up after the thematic pawn thrust ...d5. To better comprehend the idea let's compare positions between the Classical Dragon and the Accelerated Dragon where in both cases White goes for a Yugoslav Attack set-up:

We start the comparison by looking at the Classical Dragon scenario first with the following moves:
  1. e4 c5
  2. Nf3 d6
  3. d4 cxd4
  4. Nxd4 Nf6
  5. Nc3 g6
  6. Be3 Bg7
  7. f3 O-O
  8. Qd2 Nc6
  9. O-O-O d5 (see diagram on the right)
Current theory suggest this pawn thrust to d5 for Black. If we look at the current position, we notice that White has already castled on the queenside when Black moved his pawn to d5.

Now, let's look at some games which tackled this position so as to see how Black is coping:


Having viewed the games at this point, we saw that it's not entirely bad results for Black. But surely results can be so much better if the pawn thrust to d5 by Black can come earlier before White has castled on the queenside. Black can only do this if he has saved a tempo from not moving his d-pawn twice (to d6 and again on d5). Thus the Accelerated Dragon move-order was invented for Black, particularly against the Yugoslav Attack move order.

So let us now examine the resulting position via Accelerated Dragon move-order as per introduction above:
  1. e4 c5
  2. Nf3 Nc6
  3. d4 cxd4
  4. Nxd4 g6
  5. Nc3 Bg7
  6. Be3 Nf6
  7. f3 O-O
  8. Qd2 d5 (see diagram on the right)
Now in this position, where the ...d5 pawn-push was executed by Black, we immediately notice that White hasn't castled yet. In effect, Black is playing the position a tempo up compared to the Classical Dragon above, and should be better for him.

A search in the database shows that this position can only occur in games below 2600 elo rating. Which I can interpret as a proof that there are no stronger players above 2600 elo rating who are willing to have this position as White. Thus we only have the following games to view which are particular to the position that we are now examining:

From the games we saw that Black has a more comfortable position. And indeed, the good results are also evident in the turn key online games above 2000 elo ratings, which shows the following outcome as comparison:

A 62% chance of winning says a lot for Black in this Accelerated Dragon variation 8...d5. So there isn't much to say really than learning this variation as Black is valuable. And that’s what I actually did, I have spent time to study and analyse the position and eventually formed an opening repertoire based on 8...d5 pawn break in the Accelerated Dragon. Along the way too, I have discovered a few moves which I think are much stronger than the moves recommended by popular opening books. Do you think you can too? Well, let me know so we can start fortifying Black’s chances.

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