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What are the strategic ideas of the Grob's Attack?
Is it meant to initiate a kingside attack?
Or is it meant to grab space on the kingside and use that space to maybe initiate an attack in the center or on the queenside?

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  • 1
    I don't know, but some ideas: 1. Like g3, it allows Bg2; 2. But grabs more space than g3; 3. If Black plays Nf6, White can play g5; 4. On the negative side, the pawn is vulnerable, f4 and h4 are weaker, and O-O is less desirable. I think Chessfactor on YouTube has a video on the Grob. Mar 1 at 1:40
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    The main idea is to play something your opponent isn't used to because it's not a very good move. Mar 1 at 3:22
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    Specifically, the "automatic" reaction 1.g4 d5 2.Bg2 Bxg4 3.c4 (alreadylongthinking). Mar 1 at 8:26
  • @HaukeReddmann 3 c4! dxc4? (c6) 4 Bxb7, right? (A crumb of comfort for the victim: 4 ... Nd7.)
    – Rosie F
    Mar 3 at 11:43
  • @RosieF: You don't even have to be THAT inattentive, but if you don't know how to handle it (indeed c6, and give b7 back immediately, even sacrifice a pawn yourself to get development advantage) and try to "bogart" your pawns, it can get ugly. The n=7 Lichess stats are too meaningless to further delve into this theme :-) Mar 3 at 13:59

2 Answers 2

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Disclaimer

The ideas behind 1.g4? are not sufficient to justify such a weakening first move.

The grand scheme

In an ideal world, White's strategic aim after 1.g4 is to build as much pressure as possible on the light squares in the center:

  • They will fianchetto their light squared bishop, aiming at e4, d5 and even b7.
  • Pressure can be reinforced with c4, Nc3, and sometimes Qb3, d3 or e4.
  • Black's most natural defender of the light squares is a knight on f6. However, an early ...Nf6 will be ousted by g4-g5, kinda justifying White's first move.

The trick

But the main reason some White players are attracted to the line is that they gamble on their surprised opponent going for natural moves and stumbling into the Grob gambit's trap:

[FEN ""]
1.g4 d5 2.Bg2 Bxg4 3.c4 c6?! 4.Qb3

when all of a sudden the pressure on d5 and b7 gives White a huge initiative.

Note that all the moves played fit the grand scheme of attacking the light squares !

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  • I don't know much about chess but my computer is not impressed by White's "huge initiative" after Qb3, it much prefers Black's game.
    – bof
    Jun 10 at 5:22
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I dont know that there are any deep positional ideas behind it. Its mostly a tactical opening intended to be used as a surprise.

Positionally, I think the idea is just to develop quickly and put pressure on d5. Thats really about it.

It really comes down to what is the independent significance of g4 as opposed to g3 or d5 followed by g3. There isn't any. You could say it prevents f5 but black isn't really threatening anything with f5.

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