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4

This answer does not use modern analysis. One can always consult the old masters for advice. One of the first epic rivalries in chess was between an Irishman and a Frenchman: Alexander McDonnell and Louis Charles Mahé de la Bourdonnais. In the course of their six-match slugfest in 1834, this opening line arose thrice, with de la Bourdonnais taking 2 points ...


2

While PhishMaster's answer is correct, we shouldn't forget about the importance of the d5 square. If it wasn't for its weakness, Black would play ...e5 every single time in the Sicilian. By playing Nxc6, we are allowing Black to get rid of the main downside of his position, while also reinforcing his presence in the center. As pointed out by Akawall, 5. Nb5 ...


4

First, it is important to know that in many Sicilian positions, not just the Kalashnikov, if black gets in d5, he has equalized, and has a very free game. Thus, taking on c6 helps black reinforce the center, and he will often get in d5 soon. White following up the trade with Bc4, which scores only 20% for white despite white out-rating black 2376 to 2192 per ...


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