Openings for Tactical Players: Veresov Opening

  • GM Gserper
  • | Apr 25, 2010

The Veresov Opening (1.d4 d5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Bg5 or 1.d4 Nf6 2. Nc3 d5 3. Bg5) is an original system developed by Soviet IM Gavriil Veresov. Today he is mostly remembered because of his opening, which is a shame since he was a very strong chess player.  According to Veresov was number 13th in the world in 1944. Also it shouldn't be forgotten that having spent his whole life in Minsk (the capital of Byelorussia), Veresov was a founder of the Byelorussian chess school which produced GMs Gelfand, Smirin , Shulman and many others.

The Veresov opening was never truly popular amongst either top elite or club players. I think there are two reasons that contributed to this sad fact.  First of all it is not really understood by most of chess players and also it requires the original thinking and most of chess players like to follow some-one's footsteps (a book analysis, a GM recommendation from the "Informant" and so on). Checking my database I found it amusing that the only modern top GMs who played this opening: Morozevich, Aronian, Gashimov are all well known for their unique, original style of play.

For the regular readers of my column it shouldn't come as a surprise that I think that the best way to learn any opening is to analyze the games played by strong chess players (especially the inventors of the opening). This way you learn the ideas, the spirit of the opening.  And when you know the ideas, you'll be able to come up with a good move in any unknown situation. Today I want to present you some of the games of Gavriil Veresov played in his favorite opening. Since most of these games cannot be found in chess databases (I quote them from the old Soviet books), I think they will be especially useful for you, my dear readers. Please remember that you can always replay the whole game from the first move if you click "Solution" and then "Move list".


If you like to attack and prefer the openings where your creativity is more important than a knowledge of certain lines, then the Veresov opening is for you.  Give it a try and I am sure you won't regret.
Good luck!


  • 7 months ago


    Très intéressant!

  • 7 years ago


    nice one

  • 7 years ago


    nice one

  • 7 years ago

    GM Gserper

    Dear  silaskulkarni,

    Please check the archives.  I covered many lines against 1.e4.  The Scandinavian, Latvian gambit, Caro-Kann, the French to name few...

    Dear FM_HOLLAND,

    As you can see from the Veresov's games, the Man himself didn't play 4.f3?! that you analyzed.  He played 4.Nf3! instead, so I am not sure why you were trying to refute the line which was never played or recommended by the inventor of the opening....

  • 7 years ago


    Dear Gm Serper,


    Why don't you ever post lines to play against 1. e4?  I have seen many against 1. d4, but currently am bored with my options against 1. e4.

  • 7 years ago


    I have a line against the veresov which was covered in a new in chess article ( ithink) and in my opinion it pretty much refutes it, or at atleast gives black and advantage. Of course white can deviate but those lines dont really have much bite.

  • 7 years ago


    I agree with skrc - probably Bunatian did not see that the dark square bishop can be captured

  • 7 years ago


    anand should play this tomorrow, wouldnt that be fun!

  • 7 years ago

    IM Nezhmet

    In GM Svetozar Gligoric's instructive biography "I play against pieces", he had a game as black and he felt a correct active response was:


    1. d4 Nf6 2. Nc3 d5 3. Bg5 c5!

  • 7 years ago


    Good article, but I've known this as the Richter. Prestwick's post explains why:)

  • 7 years ago


    good games

  • 7 years ago


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    Nice games, but to call the opening 1 d4 d5 2 Nc3 Nf6 3 Bg5 the Veresov is unhistorical and forms part of the legacy of Soviet intellectual imperialism. Although played earlier, this opening owes its development as part of modern chess to the “Hypermodern” players Breyer, Reti and Tartakower. The latter, a super-GM of his time, in particular deserves to have his name associated with this opening: Megabase has 19 games of his with it, the earliest played in 1922 (when Veresov - born 1912 - was probably still in short trousers) and the last in 1951. Many other strong players have a better (or equal but prior) claim than Veresov to have their name associated with this opening, notably the German IM Kurt Richter (a brilliant attacking player) who popularised the opening in the 1930s; books from that era usually called this Richter's Opening. Megabase contains 21 of his games with it, the first in 1928. To compare, Veresov has 23 games with it in Megabase, the first in 1938. A further injustice was done to Richter by the Soviets, who named the popular Sicilian line 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 exd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 d6 6 Bg5 after their player Rauser, yet much of the early development and testing was done by Richter.

  • 7 years ago


    It is difficult to believe these games were played in in 20th century. Were his opponents really of master level or he was playing club players ? Most GMs play like Tal against club players.

  • 7 years ago


    A Veresov player must be prepared for the Nc3 French, (1.d4 d5, 2.Nc3 e6, 3.e4) the main lines of the Caro-Kann (1.d4 d5, 2.Nc3 c6, 3.e4) the complete Pirc (1.d4 Nf6, 2. Nc3 g6, 3.e4) and the Nimzovich (1.d4 Nc6, 2.e4) or the Chigorin Queen's Gambit (1. d4 Nc6, 2.c4 d5) or the Mexican defense (1.d4 Nc6, 2.d5 or 2.c4 Nf6) 

    So there is considerable theory involved with this opening. At the club level, most players will prefer a transposition to a familiar opening.

  • 7 years ago


    Very clever games.

  • 7 years ago


    Nice article Smile

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