Most Underrated Chess Opening: Grob’s AttackMarch 30, 2022 2023-02-28 16:11
Most Underrated Chess Opening: Grob’s Attack
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!
“Right, let’s take a look. So, first of all, what’s the point of this move, pawn 1. g4? And why would you play this first of all? This definitely gets your opponent out of their opening preparation because this is once again a very rare move. Secondly, you are preparing a fianchetto. Right, so you’re going to put your bishop to g2, and it’s going to put long-term pressure along this diagonal. Also, the pawn on g4 is quite annoying to the black’s knight because normally black’s going to bring their knight to f6 at some point in the game, and in this case, if they ever do that, you can always start attacking and kicking this knight away by playing pawn g5. I’m not showing you the opening variation right now, it’s just to illustrate the point. So, basically, there are these two main points of the Grunfeld attack: having this bishop, which is extremely active, causing a lot of troubles for black, as well as kicking the opponent’s knight away from f6 by pushing this pawn forward. So, these are just some general things, and now let’s get down to business and let’s check some lines.
Also, this move is really, really tricky. There are many ways for black to get down very quickly here, and it’s really funny. One of them is usually black responds with pawn 1…d5. I don’t know, like, don’t ask me why they play pawn d5. I don’t know the answer. e5 is a perfectly good move, but for some reason, a lot of players play pawn d5. I guess the reason is that they want to attack this pawn right away, even though it doesn’t work that great for black. Anyway, you can and should sacrifice this pawn. Some people play pawn h3 just to defend it, but that’s a very passive approach, and you’re not playing the Grunfeld gambit just to defend passively. You want to play bishop g2 and offer this g4 pawn as a bait.
2. Bg2 Bxg4 3. c4
So that Black can capture this pawn, but then run into some trouble. What kind of trouble? Well, if they take this pawn, you’re going to play pawn c4 and all of a sudden you start attacking Black right at the very first moves of the game. Somehow this bishop on g2 is not only attacking this pawn on d5, but is also hitting the b7 pawn, which is no longer defended due to the absence of the bishop on c8 square. Therefore, Black is already having some problems here, and your opponent will suffer. I checked in the database, they play all kinds of moves, and usually it’s all wrong. Like, very few people know how to react here. For Black, very often they just play ridiculous moves and go down quickly.
3…dxc4? 4. Bxb7
One of the ways for Black to lose some material right away is to actually take the second pawn on c4, thinking that you’re just playing a bigger player throwing out random moves. But now I can go ahead and capture this pawn on b7. Not only that, you can easily see that the rook on a8 is captured, even though this line is not super popular. Anyway, that does happen.
So let’s take a look at this critical position of this opening and let’s analyze different possible ways and different common ways for Black to react here. As I said earlier, Black reacts here surprisingly badly. Well, it’s not really that surprising because they’re unfamiliar with this line, which is first of all, and secondly, defending in chess is generally speaking hard. Therefore, it’s not easy for Black to find the right moves when they’re facing this opening. So one of the common ways for Black to defend this pawn on d5 is to play pawn e6. It makes a lot of sense. Then we play this really, really common move, Qb3.As you can see it works in the vast majority of lines. And it hits both pawns just as well. So, once again, that’s how you put pressure on black and force them to make a decision. Now, your opponent will definitely figure out that the purpose of queen b3 is to hit the pawn on b7
4…b6 5. cxd5 exd5 6 Bxd5 c6 7 Bxf7+ Ke7 8. Bxg8
Sometimes they just move it forward, which is a very popular reaction by black but completely wrong. This just weakens the diagonal, which is one of the main routes for your attack. Anyway, now black is weakening it. After pawn takes d5, they recapture and you take it with the bishop. Now, they realize that the bishop is attacking the rook and the only way to cover is by playing pawn c6. However, the bishop is not only attacking the rook, but also attacking along the other diagonal, which is supported by the queen. Therefore, you can and should grab the pawn on f7, deliver and check. Once the king goes, you grab another piece, the knight on g8, and black’s position is devastated. You want a piece, a pawn, and the king is weak. You can go inside on the next move with the Qf7 if you wish, so it’s time for black to resign.
3…Be6 4. Qb3
Another way for black to react in the critical position arising from the Grob’s attack after bishop takes and you play pawn c4 is to play bishop e6. This is quite an awkward move because it blocks the way of the pawn and also blocks the bishop from coming out. However, some black players play this move quite frequently, hoping that you initiate this trade in the center of the board. If you do, black recaptures with the bishop, and their position is just great because this bishop now neutralizes your bishop. So, you really have nothing for the sacrificed pawn, which is what your opponent is hoping for. But we aren’t going to give this to them. Instead of trading in the center of the board, you play the same move, queen to b3, which still puts pressure on the pawn on b7 and also the central pawn d5. It puts black in trouble because they can’t defend both pawns simultaneously.
4…b6 5. cxd5 Bxd7 6. Nf3 Nf6 7. Ne5
Usually, they play pawn b6, covering the pawn on b7, but then you capture on d5, attacking the bishop, and gaining extra tempo. The bishop has to move and now you start bringing your pieces out very naturally, knight to f3. After knight to e5, you can even start pressing black right away by playing knight to e5. The point is that, in order for black to bring out their pieces, they normally need to move their pawns forward. But now, you have such strong control over all the squares, together with the knight attacking all around, and the bishop controlling this diagonal that black can’t really get their pieces out. You’re completely dominating.
Very often, they play pawn g6, thinking that they can at least move the bishop in that direction if they can’t develop it across this diagonal. But in this case, you are asked to think about this and write it down in the comments in the article below, how to win this position.
Sold option 3…c6 4. Qb3 Qb6 5. cxd5 Qxb3 6 axb3 cxd5 7 Bxd5
Now, let’s get to the strongest response for Black, which is c6.
There are two good options at the crossroads. One is more solid and the other is a bit trickier, so you may choose whichever suits your style and needs the most. Objectively speaking, the best move is queen to b3, as always putting pressure on the pawn on b7. The only drawback is that black will often play pawn b6, initiating the queen trade, and going into a dry endgame position. So, you will win the pawn on d5, but they will trade queens, and after this mass trade,
Tricky Option 3…c6 4 cxd5 cxd5 5.Qb3
5…e6? 6 Qa4+ Qd7 7 Qxg4
Yeah, anyway, if you want to be trickier, you can be more aggressive by taking a different approach. Instead of playing Queen B3 right away, you can trade on D5 first, and then play Queen B3 after Black recaptures. I showed you earlier in the video that most players defend this pawn by playing e6, completely overlooking your hidden idea of Qa4 check double attack to the King and Bishop, and thus winning the Bishop.
5… Nf6 6 Nc3 e6 7. Qxb7 Nd7
If they don’t fall into this trap, they still have to defend the central pawn and will likely play Nf6. The good news is that you can then grab the Pawn B7. However, you can be trickier again by playing Knight C3 first, keeping up the pressure. After Knight C3, you want to grab the central pawn because it’s more valuable than a side pawn. Black’s correct reaction would be Pawn E6. Finally, you need to grab the Pawn B7, also attacking the Rook. Black will have to bring their Knight out to defend the Rook and Queen.
At this point, you have different options to choose from, depending on your situation. A more solid approach would be to play d4, even though White’s position is objectively inferior. If you want to be completely aggressive, you can play Knight b5 instead of Pawn d4. This move is a bit suspicious, but it has produced great results in real games.
8. Nb5 !? Rc7 9.Nxa7 Rc7 10 Qa6
Your intent is to bring your Knights to c7 and fork the Black King and Rook. Black’s natural reaction would be to play Rook to C8 to cover the square and prevent the Knight from going there. However, the Knight can still take A7, grabbing the pawn and attacking the Rook. Black would then play Rook to C7 and you would play Queen A6, protecting the Knight.
11. ..Qa8? 12 Nb5!
Here’s the trick: if Black plays normally, they will have a good position, But it’s very tempting for black to think that you got off track, you lost yourself in these complications, and that they can win the game by playing queen e8. It looks like it’s all over. So the knight is trapped, can’t go away, and on the next move, they’re going to grab it either with the queen or with a rook. Yeah, it just looks like you’re playing very bad moves. But here is the counter blow – knight going here to b5, seemingly allowing black to win the queen. But it’s not really working for black, because if they grab this, and they don’t really have a good option here anyway, then you’re going to take this rook on c7, not only winning the rook but also delivering this double attack, which allows you to get the queen back on the next move. So you’re just winning a rook at the end of this nice forcing line.
So that’s another tricky line. Yes, it’s tricky, but again, it works in real practical chess, especially in blitz. I showed you a couple of alternatives if you want to play more solid.
Watch the below video lesson and learn the typical ideas for White, most common traps that Black fall for, common responses of Black and how to exploit them:
You can find the PGN of this opening below: