Openings for Tactical Players: Veresov Opening
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 chessmetrics.com 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".