Odd Openings (Introduction)
Many openings have been analysed extensively, but there are quite a few that escape attention, for a variety of reasons. For example, the Ware Opening (1. a4) is considered to be one of the most damaging first moves possible, it's originator Preston Ware played it and met hardly any luck. Another interesting example is Grob's Attack, played by Henri Grob; in contrast, he actually did have some success with it and the debate continues to today on its solidarity though the most common opinion is that it is questionable.
For professional players, the decision to stick with openings like 1. e4, d4, c4 and Nf3 is understandable. The theory on them is developed to the point that it is certain that they offer winning chances for either player and thus there would be little reason to risk everything on such undeveloped, sometimes even harmful, openings. However, the player of chess who is 'in it for the fun' and not simply to win, does not necessarily have these constraints. Indeed an entire new universe becomes opened to him. Simply put, these odd openings are fun to play, and sometimes the variations thus explored are found to be reasonable.
An interesting feature of some odd openings is that of number of reasonable responses. For example, with 1. e4; e5, d5, c5, etc. are all reasonble responses, and following that, options are relatively open. With 1. b4 for example, there are less reasonable responses back and forth, otherwise it would diminish one's own chances. This is an interesting factor to consider when thinking about odd openings. Anderssen's Opening, 1. a3, has many possibilities, as the pawn is out of the way and not doing much.