The Spike or Grob Opening line begins with the ugly looking 1. g4. Many players would not dream of making such an ugly first move in a serious game of chess. It wrecks the kingside pawn structure with an unprotected advanced flank pawn. But, as you are about to see, it offers white many tactical shots along unusual opening lines. I began playing the Grob as an opportunity to exercise my tactical skills, and have some fun along the way.
The Grob is a wonderful surprise weapon against good players who are solidly booked up on common openings. I found the Grob especially lethal in fast time control games like blitz (a time control where a player must make all his moves in 5 minutes). For example, I played a Grob blitz against one A-class player at the Huntsville Chess Club. I won the game in very few moves. Appalled, he demanded that I play that ugly opening again. We did, and I won again. This cycle continued for five games. The Grob won each game to the horror of my stunned opponent.
The Grob is effective in slower time controls too. The Swiss correspondence master Grob used his namesake to win many pretty correspondence games. In this case, a B-Class player defeated a strong master with the Grob. I have beaten Experts in rated standard time controls games.
Below are four miniatures. Each one demonstrates the strength of the Grob. The first is a classic Grob example that I have played out many times on the Free Internet Chess Server.
The following games demonstrated the potential of the Grob. I hope you try it. I think you will like it.
Be cautioned. The Grob is a two-edged sword. Not all Grob openings win. See Martin Roper's refute.
Play the opening like a book, the middlegame like a magician, and the endgame like a machine.