The oldest games with the opening in MegaBase 2008 are by American Theodore Dunst in the fifties but the opening is often named after the Belgian player Bernard de Bruycker who played it (and a few related lines) in the late seventies and early eighties. I wonder if he did anything to propagate the opening - published some analysis perhaps? A much more frequent practitioner is Serbian GM Miroslav Markovic who, as far as I can judge, must be the prime candidate for naming rights. MegaBase has 19 games where he plays 1.e4 c6 2.d4 Na6 with a decent score against strong opposition. I will return with a few of his efforts in the opening in later entries. Other strong players who have used the move more than once are in alphabetic order:
GM Igor Efimov
GM Lev Gutman
GM Todor Todorov
IM Juri Dovzik
IM Angus Dunnington
IM Renier Gonzalez
IM Esad Goric
IM Denis Shilin
IM Olivier Touzane
IM Dirk van Geet
IM Gerard Welling
IM Aleksandar Wohl
What I didn't fully realize in my previous post was the fact that this set-up is just as playable against 1.d4. This becomes instantly obvious once you have a serious look at it. If Black can survive 3.c4 in this line, then it's hardly likely that White can prove much after 1.d4 c6 2.c4 Na6. Actually transposition by 3.e4 (Dia) must be the only critical reply.
As a matter of fact only one of White's sensible move-orders may make it hard for Black to achieve his desired formation - namely 1.e4 c6 2.Nc3!? after which 2...Na6 can be met with 3.Bxa6!? ruining Black's queenside formation at the cost of the bishop-pair. After 3...bxa6 4.d4 we have this position: (Dia)
I am not a strong enough player to judge whether this exchange is advantageous for White or not. My feeling is that Black's chances should be OK if he makes the most out of his open b-file and his light-squared bishop.
This versatility - a close to universal system - clearly makes Markovic' Defence more attractive. Yet the main drawback remains: Black's modest developing scheme leaves White free to set up his position as he prefers. Obviously Black cannot prepare for all of these (except for practical preparation in the form of thousands of blitz games) For practical purposes Black probably should prepare for these replies (after 1.e4 c6):
B: 2.d4 Na6 3.c4
C: 3.f4?! (and the related 3.Nc3 Nc7 4.f4?!)
D: 3.Nf3 Nc7 (3...d5!? 4.exd5 cxd5 5.c4!) 4.Bd3
E: 3.Nc3! Nc7 4.Bd3
F: 3.Nc3! Nc7 4.Nf3!
Quite likely I will return with some more details on these lines in later entries.