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King
 
Joined: Sun Oct 01, 2006 10:20 pm
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Location: Eckental / Germany
 Post subject: Surprise your opponent - Play the Grob!
PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2008 2:13 pm 
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

http://www.logicalchess.com/resources/openings/grob/
http://www.chessgames.com/player/henri_grob.html
http://www.chesscentral.com/pickard/Grobs_Attack.htm
http://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)


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King
 
Joined: Sun Nov 25, 2007 1:03 am
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2008 12:58 pm 
As much as I love offbeat openings, I draw the line at this one


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King
 
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 Post subject: Surprise your opponent - Play the Grob!
PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2008 8:40 am 
I have played the Grob on various chess servers with very good results. My opponents were rated between 1700 - 2300.

Have fun with the Grob! :D

chessfips


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King
 
Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2008 9:57 am
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PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2008 7:18 pm 
I just flat out think it’s too easily beaten – it’s rare I’ve come up against it, but I always play 1…e5 (not d5, why let White kick your Queen?) followed by 2.h3, Ne7 eying the weak h4 square – I could do a huge database dump on this here, but I won’t bother as it seems to have been very well covered above.

I sort of hold the Grob and the mirror Polish in the same league as Larsen's opening – interesting theory, but in most cases they let black equalise very quickly.


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King
 
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 Post subject: Surprise your opponent - Play the Grob!
PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2008 8:33 pm 
I have played hundreds of games with the Grob on internet servers by now and won many of them under 20 moves. I can say that most players rated under 1800 misplay the middle game. Opponents rated over 2000 offer stiffer resistance, but they would in normal openings, too. When you play the Grob, you can be sure that they won't be able to play their favourite lines of the Sicilian or the King's Indian with positions where they feel comfortable.

In my blitz games nobody played the plan with Ne7 followed by Ng6 and Nh4, advocated by Andrew Martin as a kind of refutation of the Grob, but I am not afraid of that. It takes a lot of time (3 moves) and when I exchange my knight on f3, which has made one move, for the knight on h4, I gain two tempi. Often you sacrifice a pawn for two tempi and here you get them for nothing.

There are many good options for White in the middle game. When Black castles kingside, you can castle queenside and use your advanced pawns for an attack (often with the rook on g1). Actually there are many lines with an early g4 in the traditional openings, very often praised in books like SOS as a surprise weapon.

Your king can also stay in the centre and feel safe with the pawn on e2 and the bishop on e3. Sometimes it can even go to f1 and feel safe there. Then you can attack on the queenside, especially if Black has castled there.

Here is a short game where Black followed the wrong plan:

1. g4 e5 2. Bg2 d6 3. h3 h6 (is he afraid of g5 ? or does he think he can lose a tempo, too, as White has lost a tempo by playing h3?) 4. d4 exd4 5. Qxd4 c6 (the wrong plan, it is better to play Nc6 followed by Bd7) 6. Nc3 Nd7 7. Bf4 d5? (consistent but wrong) 8. Bxd5! cxd5 9. Nxd5 (with an overwhelming position) 9. - Qa5+ 10. Kf1 and Black cannot cope with all the threats. The game ended when I checkmated on move 20.

I hope this little game could arouse your interest in the Grob. Always keep in mind that you are playing against amateurs not grandmasters. If you think you have a real chance against a grandmaster with your openings, then you should stick to them!

It anybody told me that there are good and bad openings, I would say "that's nonsense". It all depends on how you handle the middle game. I admire Larsen who played the supposedly inferior openings in great style.

Try the Grob and have fun! :D


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King
 
Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2006 10:09 pm
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2008 1:18 am 
The only time that I ever took clear first place in a blitz tournament at the Chess Palace in Orange County, California, I played 1 g4 in every game as White and I played ...g5 on move one or two in every game with Black.

In slow tournament games, however, I have a rather poor record with the Grob and Borg (Grob Reversed).


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King
 
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 Post subject: Surprise your opponent -Play the Grob!
PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2008 7:03 pm 
DarthStapler wrote:
As much as I love offbeat openings, I draw the line at this one.


I would draw the line at 1. a4 and 1. h4 which were played on internet chess servers against me. Provocation?
These moves do not help the development of your pieces and they have no influence on the centre.

I am not so sure about 1.a3, although it does not do anything for development. But I have known a fairly strong player who used to play this. If you like playing black opening systems, it is o.k. and you cut out many openings where a white player would reply Bb5, such as the Ruy Lopez. So you can concentrate on the rest of the open games or on systems where a3 is useful (the Sicilian or the Queen's Indian Defence, e.g.).

The Grob opens a diagonal for the bishop and has an indirect influence on the centre as White may drive away the knight on f6 by playing g5.

So I think according to normal chess standards it is a normal opening.

Now you may say that it weakens the squares f4 and h4. This I do not fully understand, because any pawn move weakens squares and here the square f4 will be covered by the bishop on c1 or by a pawn on e3. And if a knight appears on h4, it has had a long journey (Ne7-g6-h4). I will exchange ir with my knight on f4 and gain two tempi.

I have played hundreds of games with the Grob and nobody has been able to exploit these weaknesses.

Remember that Henry Grob played his opening successfully in correspondence chess.

If you still insist on repeating the verdict on the Grob then please explain why Michael Basman defeated a lot of masters and grandmasters with this opening when it did not even have a surprise effect.

Basman even played the Grob with Black,but this is very daring, although 1. c4 g5!? has not been refuted. Just play over the following very attractive game, one of my favourites:


[Event "Civil Service Quickplay"]
[Site " "]
[Date "1988.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Salem"]
[Black "Basman, Michael"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B00"]
[Annotator "chessfips"]
[PlyCount "46"]
[EventDate "2000.11.15"]
[SourceDate "2008.04.23"]

1. e4 g5 2. h4 gxh4 3. Nc3 c5 4. Bc4 e6 5. d3 Nc6 6. Nf3 Be7 7. e5 a6 8. a4 b6
9. Ne4 Bb7 10. Bg5 Bxg5 11. Nfxg5 (11. Nexg5 Nxe5) 11... Nxe5 12. Nd6+ Kf8 13.
Qh5 {White's attack seems very strong.} Bxg2 14. Ngxf7 (14. Ndxf7 Qe8)
(14. Rg1? Qxg5! 15. Qxg5 Nf3+ ) 14... Nf3+ 15. Ke2 Qf6 16. c3 Ke7! {
threatening Rf8} 17. a5 (17. Nxh8 Kxd6) 17... Qf4! 18. Rhd1 Nf6 19. Qh6 Qxh6
20. Nxh6 Kxd6 21. Nf7+ Ke7 22. Nxh8 b5 23. Ba2 Rxh8 {
and Black won the endgame.} 0-1

I like counter attacks of this sort very much and I hope you will enjoy this game!
:)


Last edited by chessfips on Wed May 28, 2008 9:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

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King
 
Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2008 9:57 am
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2008 1:05 pm 
Someone recently played the Grob against me in a Tourney on Chessworld.net – I was able to crush him in 20 moves (I made some of the moves quickly, while I was having a 5 minute net surf at work, and they probably weren’t the best ones either). I have to say, this game doesn’t inspire much confidence in the Grob – he’d had it by about move 5 if you ask me – He wasn’t a bad player either, he beat me in the other game (that been said, I had the advantage the majority of the time, until I missed a Rook and King fork with Bishop, but it all counts).

[Event "www.ChessWorld.net server game"]
[Site "www.ChessWorld.net "]
[Date "2008.5.20"]
[Round "NA"]
[White "badddmofo"]
[Black "Nasgard"]
[Result "0-1"]
[Termination "White resigned"]
[WhiteElo "1674"]
[BlackElo "1701"]
[Mode "ICS"]
[DateLastMove "2008.5.22"]
[Board "4935361"]

1.g4 e5 2.Bg2 h5 3.gxh5 Rxh5 4.e3 Qg5 5.d3 Qxg2 6.Qxh5 Qxh1 7.Qxe5+ Kd8 8.Kf1 Nf6 9.e4 Bd6 10.Qg5 Ke7 11.Bf4 Bxf4 12.Qxf4 d6 13.Nd2 Bh3+ 14.Ke2 Nc6 15.Rd1 Nd4+ 16.Ke3 Nxc2+ 17.Ke2 Bg4+ 18.Ndf3 Nd4+ 19.Ke3 Nxf3 20.e5 Nxe5 {White resigned} 0-1

Bit of a cheap tactical affair I know :lol: there were probably more graceful ways to seal the deal – I regret snapping off the Bishop on move 5 if I’m honest, should have developed first.


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King
 
Joined: Sun Oct 01, 2006 10:20 pm
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 8:55 am 
Nasgard wrote:
Someone recently played the Grob against me in a Tourney on Chessworld.net – I was able to crush him in 20 moves.


This game was a poor performance of the Grob and White was actually crushed after 5 moves. My comment on the opening play:

1. g4 e5 2. Bg2

This move, although usually played, may not be the best in this variation. Basman won a nice game with 2. c4 against the strong British player Arkell (now grandmaster).

2.- h5 3. gxh5

This move is not bad, but other moves are interesting:
3. Nf3!? Nc6 (3. - hxg4 4. Nxe5) 4. d4 e4 5. Ne5 hxg4 6. Bxe4: a very unusual and interesting position after 5 moves.

3. - Rxh5 4. e3

This move is very poor because it does not do much for development. The diagonal for the other bishop should be opened by 4. d3. Then the black queen cannot go to g5. The attack on the rook on h5 by moving the e-pawn should be reserved for a later stage of the game.
Also possible is 4. d4 exd4 5. Nf3 with a very unusual position.

4. - Qg5 5. d3??

After this move White's game is lost. He has a very poor pawn structure and loses a piece. This is not the way to play the Grob. White must play 5. Qf3 or even 5. Kf1 when the game is about even, but leaves a lot of room for the creative player.

5. - Qxg2 (the nice bishop gone!) 6. Qxh5 Qxh1 7. Qxe5 Kd8 8. Kf1 (finally the king goes where he should have gone on move 5)
8.- Nf6 9.e4 Bd6 10. Qg5 Ke7?? 11. Bf4?? (why not 11. e4 forking Black's bishop and knight, and White will have more fun in the middle game?)

This was not a good performance from either side. Basman once said words to the effect that if you cannot play the Grob correctly, you should play the Ruy Lopez instead, and these words certainly apply to the white player in this game. :cry:

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________
"Chess is 99% tactics." (Richard Teichmann, German grandmaster)
"Nonsense!" (Anatoly Karpov, Russian World Champion)


Last edited by chessfips on Thu May 29, 2008 10:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

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King
 
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 Post subject: Surprise your opponent - Play the Grob!
PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 9:17 am 
chuckychess wrote:
The only time that I ever took clear first place in a blitz tournament at the Chess Palace in Orange County, California, I played 1 g4 in every game as White and I played ...g5 on move one or two in every game with Black.


This adds additional weight to my argument. After all it is the practical results that count.

Thank you for making this post! :D


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King
 
Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2008 9:57 am
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2008 11:21 am 
I must confess someone played the Grob against me in a 5 minute game at Chess club last night, and I lost horribly – didn’t record the moves sadly, so I can’t show you the game, but I left my Queen in front of a Bish :roll:

In my defence, it was almost 12pm and I had been playing since 7 – plus I’d had about 7 pints at this point (disadvantage of your Chess club been based at a pub) :lol:


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King
 
Joined: Sun Oct 01, 2006 10:20 pm
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 11:40 pm 
Nasgard wrote:
I must confess someone played the Grob against me in a 5 minute game at Chess club last night, and I lost horribly – didn’t record the moves sadly, so I can’t show you the game, but I left my Queen in front of a Bish :roll:

In my defence, it was almost 12pm and I had been playing since 7 – plus I’d had about 7 pints at this point (disadvantage of your Chess club been based at a pub) :lol:


It is a pity you cannot remember what you played. Be aware of the Grob that will have a killing effect on people who drink. 8)


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 Post subject: Re: Surprise your opponent - Play the Grob!
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2008 12:29 am 
chessfips wrote:
chuckychess wrote:
The only time that I ever took clear first place in a blitz tournament at the Chess Palace in Orange County, California, I played 1 g4 in every game as White and I played ...g5 on move one or two in every game with Black.


This adds additional weight to my argument. After all it is the practical results that count.

Thank you for making this post! :D


My approach to chess is all about my practical results. I'll let the computers and the 2700-players search for "truth" in chess. While they're doing that, I'll enjoy winning games with my "inferior" openings. (Of course, I also lose with my wierdo openings, but I seldom get crushed, and virtually always have practical chances in a tactical melee even when I have a "worse" position.)


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 Post subject: Re: Surprise your opponent - Play the Grob!
PostPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2010 11:22 pm 
i have played the grob almost exclusively for 11 years.. and if u want to know the best play after Bxg4... c4 c6 cxd cxd Qb3 Qc8 Nc3 d5 all else fails.. this is even in my opinion.. make ur own conclusions.. in uscf i am +26-6=2 with the grob.. :D


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Joined: Tue Aug 31, 2010 1:45 pm
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 Post subject: Re: Surprise your opponent - Play the Grob!
PostPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2010 1:49 pm 
When I started reading this post I wasn't really convinced as I don't like "tricky" openings, because if black plays well you will be in a disadvantage. This goes against game theory principles, you should assume your opponent will play perfect. Although playing explotive against your opponent if you know he will make a mistake is a good strategy. So I am still undecided about the opening.


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