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Dodging the Veresov Attack

  • #1

    This is the beginning of the mainline Veresov:

    Wikipedia says it often arises from transposition, but I want to talk about the strict 1.d4 d5 2.Nc3 line.

    Let's say black is a Slav and Caro-Kann player.  Once he sees 2.Nc3, can he not try to steer the game into more familiar territory with 2...c6?  Are Veresov players prepared for this?  It might be much less winning a move, but it also seems to dodge an assumed strength of the opponent (Veresov theory).

    An online opening tool I used suggested the most played move would then be 3.e4, with the possibility of transposing into mainline Caro-Kann if black is so inclined:

    My main questions are... does 2...c6 work, and how does the Veresov player reply?  Was he expecting to transpose into the Caro-Kann?


  • #2

    Seems sensible (assuming of course that you know the C-K well).

  • #3

    Yes. The Veresov is often used to transpose sneakily into a king

    pawn opening.

  • #4

    2...c6 is played, there is nothing wrong with the idea at all.  I don't think the "main line" Veresov is any great shakes for White, but if you feel more comfortable and confident with ...c6, that's probably what will give you better results in the end.

    Also, it gives you a little more control over the course of the opening, which most players who play these unusual lines hate to give up.

  • #5
    Estragon wrote:

    Also, it gives you a little more control over the course of the opening, which most players who play these unusual lines hate to give up.

    That would be my main motivation in playing it.

  • #6

    Honestly I think white's space advantage here gives him the better position. He has the semi-open e-file and will have an easier time developing than black (his b8 knight will have to move twice and his f6 knight can get pinned) Also white can hold back his f-pawn and instead go all-out with the h-pawn which will force h6 and weaken the black kingside :)

  • #7

    Well sure, White has a bit of a plus...as he often does coming out of anything.

  • #8

    I play the Veresov as white . . . sentiments seem to be that black players like to see it and transpose into french, but that's half of why I play it! I like transposing into an e4 opening w/o having to learn the sicilian.

    Conzipe, I've never really had problems with the chigorin, so I can't say I can even concieve of having real issue with 2...c5. But then again, no one at my rating can even recognize it . . . I know Lakdawala (in his amazing book A Ferocious Opening Reportoire) rather dismisses it, and gives some  lines that seem to give black a bit of trouble.

    As for the Caro-kann, I've always transposed back into the veresov.

    So I'm prepared to meet the Caro, but I've never had to memorize any lines for it. But there's no way out of the French.

  • #9

    Perhaps the reason your database suggested that white would play e4 was because that position happened more often? And maybe that's because most of the people that get in that position were trying for a Caro, so went mainline? (I would imagine more people play the caro than the veresov).

  • #10

    Having played the Veresov basically all of 2004 and 2005, I can tell you that 2...c6 is an "attempt" at getting a Caro-Kann, but no guarantee it happens.  White can actually still play 3.Bg5.  Possibly not the best move ever played, but playable.

    2...Nc6 is a bad move for Black because of 3.e4!

    2...e6 it's harder for White to avoid King Pawn openings, but White can delay it with 3.Nf3, delaying e4.

  • #11
    ThrillerFan wrote:

    2...Nc6 is a bad move for Black because of 3.e4!


    It's actually okay for black, if he knows what he's doing. But the positions can be extremely dull and boring.

  • #12

    I found the best way to frustrate these odd Q-pawn people is to start with 1...e6 and then either go French or QGD depending on their response.

  • #13

    Advocates and authors of unusual openings are seldom able to look at them objectively.  White may get some hint of an edge as a remnant of his first move, but his chances of turning that into what the GMs call a "normal advantage" in the opening are already blown.  White is counting on surprise and Black making a mistake in unfamiliar territory.


    I agree with Conzipe generally, and particularly on 1 d4 d5  2 Nc3 c5, where White has doodley-squat.

  • #14
    pellik wrote:

    I'm always happy to see the veresov. I just play 3...e6 and hope for 4. e4 so I can play the McCutcheon. I think Caro and French players are both quite happy to see these lines. 

    Thats what I saw EVERY time I tried to play the Veresov, I ended up in a French of some description. Its pointless learning the 'theory' of the opening as you can guarantee Black will transpose into something else.

  • #15
    Chivas610 wrote:

    About the 1 d4 d5  2 Nc3 c5 line. Can't white simply play 3.e4 ? Looks to me c5 backfired for black...? :)

    How so?  Just 3 ...dxe4, and if 4 Nxe4 cxd4 looks fine. Or 4 Bb5+ Nc6 (or ...Bd7)  5 d5 a6. 

  • #16

    What I don't get is that if you're going to end up playing a bunch of French Defenses and you aren't willing or interested in playing the best 1.d4 stuff, why not just play 1.e4 and at least get in some "fun" open & semi-open games?

    There is no good way around learning good stuff. If you avoid the main lines of either d4 or e4, you aren't doing yourself any favors.

  • #17

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