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Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2009 11:38 am
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 Post subject: Re: Surprise your opponent - Play the Grob!
PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2010 12:53 pm 
I got hold of an old book (well more of a booklet actually) called The Tactical Grob, by the infamous American player Claude Bloodgood - While on death row (the sentence was later commuted) for Murdering his Mother, Bloodgood got his ELO rating up so high that at one time he was ranked second America - this was only a technicality though, Bloodgood obviously only ever played other prisoners, and sometimes up to 4 graded games a day, it was much easier to rack up the points than a normal player would find it.

I was considering playing 1.g4 and 1…g5 against anything, at the British Rapidplay and found Bloodgood’s book very helpful and entertaining. It’s pretty short and I was able to re-read it about 6 times before the event. It will certainly be good for 5 minute internet players who don’t wish to go through tons of theory.

Eventually I decided against playing 1…g5 (the Borg) as black, because I found whites extra tempo could cause some serious damage to blacks set up if white played correctly. That progressed to sticking to 1.e4 as white as well, so that was preparation well spent!

I should have maybe stuck with the Grob - after looking like winning my section I lost to the eventual winner so looked like coming second, then lost my final 2 games so ended up joint third :roll: :lol:

You can get hold of The Tactical Grob off eBay or Amazon sellers for about £15.00 - two warnings though - it is only about 30 pages long and it’s in descriptive notation :D

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 Post subject: Re: Surprise your opponent - Play the Grob!
PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2011 1:17 am 
Definitely a interesting opening. I will try it tomorrow.

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 Post subject: Re: Surprise your opponent - Play the Grob!
PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2014 8:45 am 
A fair assessment of the Grob Attack. Being a devoted player of this opening, I can assure those who are in doubt of it's viability that it is quite formidable. The Grob Attack, without a doubt, is amongst the most aggressive openings in chess. Treating it lightly or holding it in contempt will often lead to a quick and crushing defeat for black. As with many unorthodox openings, it has received it's fair share of criticism throughout it's history, even at it's inception when it was first introduced by IM Henri Grob, for which it bears it's name. The common critique is that it is dubious and unsound, especially at master level. However, IM Henri Grob, GM Michael Basman and GM Spyridon Skembris have executed the Grob Attack with much success at top level play. Other proposed conjecture is that it may bode well as a surprise weapon in blitz games, but surely would not stand under long time scrutiny. Again, nothing could be more further from truth.

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 Post subject: Re: Surprise your opponent - Play the Grob!
PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2014 3:55 pm 
chessfips wrote:
A good many years ago I bought "The Killer Grob" by Michael Basman. The book is mainly a collection of Basman's games with the Grob. Although much lower rated, Basman defeated a lot of grandmasters with this opening (Nunn, Speelman, Cebalo, Plaskett, Hebden, Tisdall, Pritchett). And this could not have been because of the surprise value, because these grandmasters must have known what Basman was up to. I played through these original and entertaining games and even did the exercises suggested by Basman. I remember that I played a few blitz games with the opening, not without success. But then I gave it up again, probably I considered the opening as not solid enough for normal games.

When I started playing chess on the Internet, a white player came up with 1. g4 and outplayed me in the opening because I could not remember wnat to play against it. That aroused my interest and I took up the Grob again. I have played a lot of blitz games with it. My experience has been encouraging: I won nearly all my games against players rated under 2000 ELO.

I think the Grob is a fascinating opening that leads to unusual positions and leaves room for a lot of original play.

When you play the Grob you can be sure that it will be a surprise to your opponent and he will not really know how to react. Most black players answer d5. The game may continue

1. g4 d5 2. Bg2!? Bxg4!? (in my games practically everybody took this pawn) 3. c4!

Now Black must be careful and not run into the following trap:

3. - c6 4. cxd4 cxd4 5. Nc3 e6? 6. Qa4+ and the Bishop is lost. If Black plays carefully, White will get his pawn back (Qb3) but the game is equal.

Basman avoided this variation and played 2. h3.

What are the advantages of playing the Grob?

- you will surprise most opponents who will have to play without book knowledge, so very often you gain a lot of time on your clock

- you will not have to study the theory of the Open Games, the Sicilian, French, Caro-Kann, Scandinavian etc. etc. (I could name practically all openings here). This will be a great advantage, especially if you do not have so much time to study openings

- the Grob will lead to unusual middle games where the better player wins (in Basman's case even the weaker player when he plays thye opening with conviction)

The basic strategy of the Grob is easy:

- The pawn is on g4 and when Black plays Nf6, it advances to g5 (but not before that)

- if Black plays h5 you normally advance the pawn, but Basman has won a nice game against Taulbut with gxh5)

- the h2 pawn nearly always goes to h3 on the second or third move

- when Black builds a center with c6, d5, e5, you must play d4

- in most other cases you can play c4 followed by d3 and Be3

- White normally castles long and when Black castles short, your pawns are ready for a kingside attack

If you are interested in playing the Grob, you should visit the following websites ... pening.jsp

You may also get a few sample gemes from a good database.

Study the following key position after

1. g4 e5 2. h3 d5 3. Bg2 c6 4. d4! e4 5. c4 Bd6 6. Nc3 Ne7 7. Bg5! f6 8. Bd2 0-0 9. Qb3 Kh8 10. 0-0-0
The position is equal, but play is highly original.

Analyse typical Grob positions with a good engine, but do not play it against the engine. I would be too frustrating as the top engines always win. So this might put you off the Grob.

Have fun with the Grob! 8)


Thank you this thorough and fair description of a much underrated opening. In response with analysis of the opening line: 1. g4 d5 2. Bg2 Bxg4 3. c4 c6... here, I have found that 4. Qb3 applies more pressure, adding more complexity than the simple equalizing exchange of 4. cxd5 cxd5, and if black does not play precisely, he can find himself in a quandry. As it turns out 4...Qb6 is black's best reply in this position.

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 Post subject: Re: Surprise your opponent - Play the Grob!
PostPosted: Thu Nov 27, 2014 10:05 pm 
If you use the wayback machine to visit the now defunct chessville site, on their downloads you'll be able to get Bloodgood's work on the Grob.

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