I am looking for resources/ideas (i.e. ECO doesn't seem to have a lot on this opening) to play against the Grob attack. (Both for facing it and to prepare to play it as White).

So far what I have seen is very tactical, but I am looking for strategical ideas or the main branches to study.

For example what's Black best plan/ideas in the sequence below:

[FEN ""]
1.g4 d5 2. Bg2 Bxg4 3. c4 dxc4 4. Bb7 Nd7 5. Ba8 Qa8
  • 1
    Here's a game. chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1340065
    – Tony Ennis
    Commented May 18, 2014 at 19:28
  • 1
    Why play dxc4? After Ba8, black's best plan is to wait for white to make a mistake. Commented May 19, 2014 at 23:51
  • Yeah, dxc4 allows white Nb1-a3, better is d5-d4. Still the questions is on getting ideas for main plans. Commented Nov 21, 2014 at 17:18
  • Even though Black loses the exchange after Bxa8, he gains a large development advantage, more space, and an exposed White King. Black has a winning advantage.
    – user24344
    Commented Aug 3, 2020 at 22:31

11 Answers 11


I think the Grob attack is unsound and the best way to play as Black is to simply call out White's bluff and occupy the center. After 1. g4 d5 2. Bg2 e5, the main line as per a Rybka 4 book seems to be 3. c4. I saw that in the main line, Black's position is in fact better. 3. h3 seems to be another main line, but I don't see what White has achieved then. Black has good control of the center and can in also play h5 when White's pawn structure on the kingside is pretty weak.

I also analyzed an interesting alternative in 3. d3!? but found that there too Black gets an excellent position. Here's how you play as Black -

  [Event "Grob Attack. Black occupies the center"]
  [FEN ""]

  1. g4 d5 2. Bg2 e5 3. c4 (3. h3 Nc6 4. d3 h5 5. g5 Nge7 6. Nc3 Be6) (3. d3 Bxg4 4. c4 c6 5. Qb3 Nf6 6. Qxb7 Nbd7 7. Qxc6
  Rc8 8. Qa4 dxc4 9. dxc4 Bc5 10. Nc3 (10. Nf3 e4) 10... O-O 11. Nf3 Nb6 12. Qb3
  Nxc4 13. O-O (13. Qxc4 $4 Bxf2+ 14. Kxf2 Rxc4) 13... Qe7) 3... dxc4 4. Qa4+ c6
  5. Qxc4 Be6 6. Qc3 Nd7 7. Nf3 Ngf6 8. Nxe5 Nxe5 9. Qxe5 Nxg4

In the final position after 9...Nxg4, we can say that Black is better and here's why-

  1. Black already has two pieces developed versus White's lone developed bishop on g2.

  2. The bishop on g2 is blunted by the pawn on c6, so it is not so strong.

  3. White's queen is awkwardly placed and will have to move, losing tempo.

  4. White has more pawn islands than Black, so White's pawn structure is worse.

  5. White's kingside is a bit vulnerable because of the absence of the g-pawn, thus it will not be a safe haven for the White king when it castles kingside.

  • best answer so far, Grob attack seems to be a hole in the opening theory. Commented Jun 14, 2014 at 0:44

I play the grob a lot, and i don't ever mind if people go into those main lines. That is actually what anyone playing the grob wants.

The easiest play for black is going with 1.e5 and a quick Ne7, Ng6, Nh4! This can't be prevented, the knight is hard to remove from h4 due to the weakness from 1.g4 and it hits the white bishop on g2 which white doesn't want to trade but it's either that or the ridiculous Bf1. That simple plan makes white look silly and gives an easy nice position for black from the opening.


My name is Sean Castleton and I am currently rated 2362. I have had a lot of success playing the Grob Attack over the years and developed an opening repertoire with it. I was influenced early on by GM Michael Basman's book "The Killer Grob" and have played it exclusively at both club and tournament levels. What I like about the Grob, is that it is an extremely aggressive opening and quite unique. It takes your opponent out of their game from the get-go and as a result fairs well in blitz.

The last few years I improved on it a lot with the Houdini chess engine, which has greatly helped my game and taught me more techniques in sacrifice. Posted below is a link to my Grob Attack PGN opening database which contains 5000 games/lines. The games/lines ratio is approximately 65% winning or won and 35% equal. I capped off the lines at move 20, because as aforementioned, you are usually left with winning chances.

Download Link:


  • 3
    Could you give a short summary of the best moves for each side? Commented Nov 15, 2014 at 9:13
  • thx for the resource! Commented Nov 17, 2014 at 1:18
  • 2
    The link is 404 now.
    – user7637
    Commented Jan 22, 2019 at 17:04

Actually, this is precisely what a Grob player wants you to think and play. The tactics behind the Grob, as with other wing type openings, such as the Polish Opening, the St. George, ect., are to give the opponent the center, only to undermine it later. The Grob Attack immediately invokes a domineering presense on the center as in the case of the Grob Gambit Accepted, i.e. 1.g4 d5 2.Bg2 Bxg4 3. c4 c6 4. cxd4 cxd4 5. Qb3... This is the main line of the GGA, and as you can see, not only places black in a bit of a quandry with domineering pressure on the center, but also threatens his b7 pawn a Queen Rook.

  • Right, that's why I am consider the Cochrane countergambit against the accepted Grob (initial question). Commented Nov 17, 2014 at 1:18

Honestly, if a player is playing the Grob they are hoping for

  1. g4 d5

Instead, just play

  1. g4 e5

and now they are in a funny position for no good reason. Why play into tons of tactics that surely they've studied, but you probably haven't?


After 3. c4, perhaps the simplest for Black is to play 3. ... Be6 to protect both the QP and the bishop. His development is a bit constricted, but so is White's.

  • OK, but in the standard White development, follows Qd1-b3, threatening both d5 & b7. Commented Nov 21, 2014 at 17:23

As a rule, if I see a player starting to play pawn moves on the side of the board such as in the Grob, I immediately begin rapid piece development and central control, to keep my options open to castle.

I doubt this is high level theory, but my thinking is that an attack at the side can usually be successfully countered with an attack in the center to exploit your opponent's king weaknesses... So long as you're not playing against a master:)


You have a solid understanding of basic opening tactics. Yes, developement in the center is indeed the protocol for answering wing attack openings. But the Grob Attack, being a kingside wing attack opening, is somewhat of a different animal, in that the looming g4 pawn inhibits the developement of black's king knight to it's important post at f6, opting him to play the slower, more awkward Ne7. Not only that, but should black castle kingside, g4 is often accompanied by a pawn storm with the f4 and h4 pawns, much akin to the dreaded Stonewall Attack.

  • Thanks, I guess the very nature of Grob is being a bit "irrational", and thus is difficult to point out typical positions as in classical 1.d4 openings or some 1.e4 ones. And is better to just review a collection of games about it. Commented Nov 21, 2014 at 17:21
  • 1
    Sean, welcome to the site. You appear to have ended up with at least 3 different accounts (judging from the various Castleton users I can see on this thread). It would be a good idea to merge these accounts so you'll have a single identity going forward. To do that, see: meta.stackexchange.com/q/18232/190126
    – ETD
    Commented Nov 22, 2014 at 17:12

Naturally, I recommend my own treatment of the subject opening at: http://www.logicalchess.com/learn/lessons/openings/grob.html

  • 2
    Whilst this may theoretically answer the question, it would be preferable to include the essential parts of the answer here, and provide the link for reference.
    – Glorfindel
    Commented Dec 26, 2018 at 20:23
  • There are far too many lines to answer this question properly here. The referenced link is better, with its diagrams and forked variations.
    – clueless
    Commented Feb 6, 2020 at 15:08

I used to play the Grob some time before because of the tricky 'Grob Gambit' (1. g4 d5 2. Bg2 Bxg4 3. c4), but this only successfully works in blitz chess. In classical chess, the opponent has plenty of time to think. Engines think that the better move in the Grob Gambit is to decline the pawn with 1...c6 and to build a large center. That is my advice as well.

Basically, the way to beat the Grob has three key points-

  1. Get a large center.

  2. Take advantage of the king-side weaknesses caused.

  3. Play the 1...d5, 2...c6, structure to render White's g-bishop useless.


Another good idea is to play the Romford countergambit. The line is below.

  1. g4 d5 2. Bg2 Bxg4 3. c4 d4! 4. Bxb7 Nd7 5. Nxa8 Qxa8 6. f3 d3!

The main idea is to expose White's king. I recommend this line as a refutation to the Grob.

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