It's very rare that after merely three moves in a Sicilian, you can play a line which is not only sound, dynamic, but one that has flown almost completely under the radar and yet has such a high win rate in the database. Welcome to the Gashimov Variation of the Sicilian Defence. Similar to its cousin the Chekhover Variation (1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Qxd4!?), this variation, pioneered by the late great Azeri GM, aims to throw Black off his normal game right from the word 'go', where he'll be forced to play accurately and deal with a number of intricate nuances just to get an equal position. The general premise of this line is to adopt a very aggressive setup with White, developing the queen early, fianchettoing the dark squared bishop and castling on the long side as quickly as possible in order to start belligerent operations on the kingside. Naturally Black has a number of different ways to set out his stall, but what's great about this line is that White's system is almost identical regardless of how Black decides to develop, thus making the opening easy to learn and execute over the board.
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