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 websiteshttp://www.logicalchess.com/resources/openings/grob/http://www.chessgames.com/player/henri_grob.htmlhttp://www.chesscentral.com/pickard/Grobs_Attack.htmhttp://www.101chesstips.com/the-spike-o ... 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.