Why I have loved playing the Grob.
The Grob has a bad reputation among players and the Chess.com computer analysis feature also shows most variations to be "-0.8" or worse for white. But, provided I stay away from the Grob gambit move order (1. g4 d5 2. bg2) the games are often closed and non-symmetrical. Many games I have played do not exchange the minor pieces for many moves into the game. Such traits allows for a tactical playground amidst the continual positional play the opening provides for.
It has really helped me understand that a kingside attack takes time to develop and one way to shut down a kingside pawn thrust is to keep solid control of the center. I used to think if you were able to push the pawns down towards the opponent’s king at a fast pace you would be in good shape and the opponent would be struggling to survive. I have also learned that such a pawn thrust means nothing without support from minor pieces that seem to basically require the center as an outpost for operations.
Although I have had some success online with it, I agree it is a poor choice in match play… (SIDE NOTE:I did recently have a win with it OTB in 24min time control.) Most of my wins online have come at the expense of an opponent's blunder not due to any good play of mine. That being said, it has really taught me patience to wait for the opportunity to strike and not to force something just because I can. This used to be my weakest point: I always wanted to feel like I was forcibly in control of the outcome of the game even if it leads to me having a weaker setup. It sounds silly but, I thought the devil I concretely know(a tactic that works out bad for me) is better choice than the one that I don’t (positional play/transition to end game). This still is a weakness of my mine, but… learning the Grob has really helped discourage such a notion.
Positional play requires a lot of faith and the Grob has helped my positional-play faith grow. If someone has a different opening (for white) that has a stronger, sounder history, and the opening will also help me nurture my positional-play faith I would love to try that next. I never think that I will give up the Grob completely but perhaps it may be time to try something new. Perhaps using an opening will lead to other interesting revelations that will help my chess play overall.
In short though, I do love the Grob… as of today on Chess.com I have 29 Grob games as white with 21wins-2draws- 6 losses. I am ready to move on but, the times where I played 1. g4 at nearly every opportunity, will not be forgotten.