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The Kalashnikov variation of the Sicilian Defense is an example of modern chess theory adopting an old, discarded opening and making it fashionable again. Discarded a long time ago as being too weakening for Black, this opening has made a resurgence due to the efforts of Grandmaster Evgeny Sveshnikov and other Russian players. The first moves are:

1.e4 c5
2.Nf3 Nc6
3.d4 cxd4
4.Nxd4 e5
5.Nb5 d6

This is the move which initiates the Kalashnikov variation. Black allows White to establish a highly restrictive 'bind' on the centre, relying on the solidity of his position and planning to gain counterplay later on by opening up the queenside. The pawn structure (Black pawns on d6 and e5 in the Sicilian) bears some relation to the Najdorf variation, but in the Najdorf White is not given the chance to lock down the central pawn structure as follows:

6.c4 Be7
7.N1c3 a6
8.Na3 Be6

Even though Black's backward pawn on d6 is theoretically weak, his pieces can defend it very well, and in fact White does not usually focus his strategy on this obvious weakness, preferring instead to try and build up in the centre and slowly squeeze the Black position, sometimes opting for a kingside attack.

The Kalashnikov caused a stir when it was first played in the early nineties, as there is an attitude in modern chess opening theory that there is nothing new under the sun - it is extremely rare for an entirely new opening variation to be discovered these days because chess openings have been so extensively analyzed, often to death. For an interesting attempt to combat this stultification, see Fischer Random Chess.

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