According to 365Chess.com the opening move of 1 g4 is known as the A00 Grob’s attack. ‘Back in the day’ it was simply known as “The Grob.”
Any Chess player reaching class B, which is a rating between 1600 and 1799, knows he should defeat any player dumb enough to attempt playing the Grob’s attack. I played the Grob several times in rated tournaments, losing only to IM Boris Kogan.
Why would I have played 1 g4 versus an International Master of Grandmaster strength? After losing to Boris three times in OTB play when playing a more conventional opening the decision was made to try something a little different. OK, that should be “a lot different.” Sure, I lost the game, but the loss was worth something just to see the look on my opponent’s face! The fact is that a decent middle game position was reached prior to my blundering the exchange. Still, it was the only time playing Boris I had the feeling of being in the game. Players do not like facing the Grob attack because they know anything less that a win is tantamount to a loss…of face and credibility. After losing to the Grob one of my Stein Club (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2021/06/06/shanglei-lu-seeks-bishops-opening-truth/) opponents had to listen to an onlooker ask, “You lost to the Grob? How the hell does anyone lose to the Grob?” At that point my opponent emptied his beer stein into the face of the kibitzer before exiting the Stein Club… How bad is Grob’s attack? To put it into perspective, after 1 e4 e5 2 Qh5 the SF program at lichess.com shows white with a disadvantage of -0.4. Before the move white had a +0.4 advantage. You do the math…
According to the Big Database at 365Chess (https://www.365chess.com/opening.php) the thirteenth most often opening move made by those in charge of the white brigade has been 1 g4. The Grob. The Grob spelled backwards is:
Anyone can occasionally play what has come to be known as the, C20 KP, Patzer opening.
GM Magnus Carlsen (2835) – IM Shamsiddin Vokhidov (2480)
World Rapid 2018 St Petersburg RUS, 2018.12.26
1.e4 e5 2.Qh5 Nc6 3.Bc4 g6 4.Qf3 Qe7 5.Ne2 Nf6 6.d3 Bg7 7.Nbc3 h6 8.Nd5 Nxd5 9.exd5 Na5 10.d6 cxd6 11.Bd5 Nc6 12.Bd2 Qf6 13.Qe4 O-O 14.O-O Ne7 15.Nc3 Qf5 16.Qb4 Nxd5 17.Nxd5 Kh7 18.Nc7 Rb8 19.Qxd6 b6 20.f3 Bb7 21.Rae1 Rfc8 22.Bc3 Bf8 23.Nb5 Bxd6 24.Nxd6 Qe6 25.Nxc8 Rxc8 26.Rxe5 Qd6 27.Rfe1 Bd5 28.a4 Be6 29.a5 bxa5 30.Kf1 Rc5 31.Rxc5 Qxc5 32.Ra1 d5 33.Rxa5 Qc7 34.Ra4 Qxh2 35.Rxa7 Qh1+ 36.Kf2 d4 0-1
It takes a special type of player to open with the Grob’s Attack. There are those who highly tout Grob’s Attack. For instance:
Most Underrated Chess Opening: Grob’s Attack
So today we’ll learn another underrated chess opening called the Grob’s Attack, which starts with the unusual 1.g4. The opening takes its name from Swiss International Master Henri Grob (1904–1974) who analysed it extensively and played hundreds of correspondence games with it.
A great thing about this opening is that the White’s first move 1.g4 is so rare that most of your opponents will be shocked to see it. Therefore, you get them out of their opening preparation giving you a great chance of winning the game!
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Have you ever felt like you stepped into a pile of hyperbole?
In the first round of the Caplin Hastings Masters 2022 a chap named Stellio Jerome, rated 1501, opened with the A00 Grob’s attack versus Expert Matthew J Payne, rated 2116. The result will come as no surprise:
- g4 d5 2. h3 h5 3. g5 e5 4. h4 Ne7 5. Bg2 Nbc6 6. e3 Be6 7. Ne2 Qd7 8. d4 e4 9. c4 dxc4 10. Bxe4 Bd5 11. Nbc3 Bxe4 12. Nxe4 Nd5 13. a3 O-O-O 14. Bd2 Re8 15. f3 f5 16. gxf6 gxf6 17. N2c3 Bg7 18. Kf2 f5 19. Nc5 Qf7 20. Qa4 Nb6 21. Qc2 Nxd4 22. Qd1 Qe7 23. N5a4 Nb3 24. Nxb6+ axb6 25. Nd5 Qf7 26. e4 fxe4 27. Bf4 Bd4+ 28. Be3 Qxd5 29. Qe2 exf3 30. Qxf3 Bxe3+ 0-1
Imagine the surprise seeing that Mr. Jerome decided in the third round to play it again, Sam:
Stellio Jerome (1501) vs Nick Faulks (1802)
Hastings 2022 Round 3
The Grob Attack
- g4 d5 2. h3 c5 3. Bg2 Nc6 4. c4 d4 5. d3 e5 6. Nf3 Bd6 7. Nbd2 Qe7 8. Ne4 Bc7
- Bd2 h6 10. Ng3 Bd7 11. Qc2 g6 12. g5 hxg5 13. Nxg5 f5 14. Bd5 Nf6 15. Bf7+
Kf8 16. Bxg6 f4 17. Nf5 Bxf5 18. Bxf5 Nd8 19. O-O-O Ne8 20. Rdg1 Nd6 21. Be4 Rh5
- h4 Nxe4 23. Nxe4 Rxh4 24. f3 Ne6 25. Qd1 Rxh1 26. Rxh1 Qg7 27. Qf1 Ke7 28.
Be1 Rg8 29. Bh4+ 1-0
1. g4? (-1.5) d5 (-0.9) 2. h3?! (-1.6)(2 Bg2) 2…c5?! (-1.0)(2…h5) 3. Bg2 (-0.9 )(3 e5) 3…Nc6 (-0.8)(3 e5) 4. c4 (-0.8) 4…d4 (-0.9)(e5) 5. d3 (-0.8) (5 Bxc6+) 5…e5 (-0.5)(Bd7) 6. Nf3?! (-1.4)(6 Bxc6+) 6…Bd6 (-1.2)(h5) 7. Nbd2 (0.9) 7…Qe7?! (+0.1)(7…Nf6)
It has taken Nick only seven moves to go from having a winning advantage to having an even game. Things obviously went downhill from here… If you are a class A player and you lose to anyone opening with the Grob you must ask yourself some serious questions, beginning with, “Why am I playing Chess?”
In the fifth round Stellio Jerome did it again:
Stellio Jerome (1501) vs Sanjit S Kumar, (1965)
Hastings 2023 Round 5
The Grob Attack
- g4 d5 2. h3 c5 3. Bg2 Nc6 4. c4 e6 5. cxd5 exd5 6. Nf3 Bd6 7. Nc3 Nge7 8. d4 Be6 9. Bg5 f6 10. Be3 b6 11. Rc1 a6 12. O-O O-O 13. dxc5 bxc5 14. Na4 c4 15. Bb6 Bc7 16. Bc5 Rb8 17. Nd4 Nxd4 18. Bxd4 Ng6 19. e3 Ne5 20. Nc5 Bf7 21. Nxa6 Nd3 22. Rc2 Ra8 23. Nxc7 Qxc7 24. Qxd3 Bg6 25. Bxd5+ Kh8 26. Qxc4 Qxc4 27. Rxc4 Bd3 28. Rfc1 Bxc4 29. Bxc4 Rfc8 30. Rc3 Rab8 31. Bb3 Rd8 32. Kg2 h6 33. f4 Kh7 34. h4 Kh8 35. g5 hxg5 36. hxg5 Rd6 37. gxf6 gxf6 38. Rc7 Rf8 39. Kf3 Ra6 40. e4 Rb8 41. Bd5 Re8 42. e5 Rxa2 Rxa2 43. e6 Ra3+ 44. bxa3 Rxe6 45. Rc8+ 1-0
After only eight moves he Stockfish program utilized at lichess.com shows the game to be even, Steven.
Do not let this happen to YOU! Give the Grob a chance and open with 1 g4 in an off-hand game or several. No matter what opening your opponent fires at you, a player should have at least an idea about how to play against any, and every opening. To help you down that path here are the opening moves preferred by Stockfish:
1. g4 d5 2. Bg2 Bxg4 3. c4 c6 4. Qb3 e6 5. Qxb7 Nd7 6. Nc3 Ne7 7. cxd5 exd5 8. Qb4 Nf6…