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Difference between tactical and positional play?


  • 18 months ago · Quote · #1

    chess8690

    What is the difference between a tactical chess player and a positional one? Thanks

  • 18 months ago · Quote · #2

    trysts

    I think tactics involve combinations, like if I take this piece then my opponent has to take back with a piece that was guarding another piece. So now I get the unguarded piece for free. While positional is like getting control of squares and space on the board. So tactical players would be those who attack and sacrifice pieces for advantages, while positional players are those who put their pieces on key squares for space advantage to limit what the opponent can do.Smile

  • 18 months ago · Quote · #3

    plutonia

    there is no such thing as a "tactical player" or a "positional player", it's just an illusory distinction made by beginners. There's only a bad chess player and a good chess player.

    You need to be proficient in both tactics AND strategy to play a game (any game) of chess. Every good player is good at both, you have to be.

  • 18 months ago · Quote · #4

    Irontiger

    plutonia wrote:

    there is no such thing as a "tactical player" or a "positional player", it's just an illusory distinction made by beginners. There's only a bad chess player and a good chess player.

    You need to be proficient in both tactics AND strategy to play a game (any game) of chess. Every good player is good at both, you have to be.

    That's pretty much it.

    Of course, there are players that are known as "tacticians" or "positional players" because they look better in either domain, but if they have reached a significant level they are good at both. If you are a poor tactician you will lose games because you lose a piece to forks, and if you are a poor positional player you won't have any occasion for tactics because the opponent will just sit over your face and block all your pieces.

  • 18 months ago · Quote · #5

    FirebrandX

    plutonia wrote:

    there is no such thing as a "tactical player" or a "positional player", it's just an illusory distinction made by beginners.

    BS on that. GMs use the term all the time to explain their styles. Ever hear of Karpov being "positional" while Tal was "tactical"? Beginners didn't make that up. The masters did.

  • 18 months ago · Quote · #6

    plutonia

    FirebrandX wrote:
    plutonia wrote:

    there is no such thing as a "tactical player" or a "positional player", it's just an illusory distinction made by beginners.

    BS on that. GMs use the term all the time to explain their styles. Ever hear of Karpov being "positional" while Tal was "tactical"? Beginners didn't make that up. The masters did.

    Only a few of the top GMs might have a recognizable style, and that's just their personal preference. They are still super-good at both.

  • 18 months ago · Quote · #7

    trysts

    plutonia wrote:

    there is no such thing as a "tactical player" or a "positional player", it's just an illusory distinction made by beginners. There's only a bad chess player and a good chess player.

    You need to be proficient in both tactics AND strategy to play a game (any game) of chess. Every good player is good at both, you have to be.

     I'd disagree that it's an illusion since there are players more comfortable with attacking, and players more comfortable with defending, from beginners all the way up to experts. For me it becomes much more difficult to distinguish a difference when the players are really, really good.

  • 18 months ago · Quote · #8

    xxvalakixx

    There is no really positional and tactical, they are exist in one. It is a common mistake to seperate them. You can do good tactics, (sacrifices) if you have a strategically good position. You have to be good both of them to become a strong player.
    We maximum can seperate strategical openings and tactical openings, because in closed positions your strategical understanding is the main thing. In opened, tactical positions mainly your calculation skill is the main factor.  

    (tactics mean sacrifices, forcing moves, strategy is pawn structure, piece activity, weaknesses, and so on.)

  • 18 months ago · Quote · #9

    chess8690

    So why are some players considered tactical while others are considered positional?

  • 18 months ago · Quote · #10

    duck_and_cover

    'Tactical player' is a misnomer for 'attacking player'.

    'Positional' players like Rubinstein, Karpov, Kramnik were/are tactical monsters but no attacking players.

  • 18 months ago · Quote · #11

    Even-Flow

    A positional player is one that has an aptitude for discerning the right moves to make. Where there is no obvious course of action that will lead to a sound exchange. Where as a tactical player has an aptitude more oriented around the exchange itself.

  • 18 months ago · Quote · #12

    johnyoudell

    The opening principles are positional, strategic ideas. When you move a rook to an open or half open file for no other reason than that it is better placed there than where it comes from, that is a move based on positional ideas. When you make a move because you see a way for your pieces to combine in a sequence of moves that gains you material or a mate then that is tactics.

    But of course the two are not mutually exclusive. Sometimes the purpose of the tactical combination is not to gain material or deliver mate but to achieve a positional advantage. The eventual effect of good positional play is to create the conditions in which tactical combinations are likely to arise.

    It can be very generally said that if, as white, you start e4 you are a tactically inclined player. You like sharp positions in which tactical opportunities will quickly arise. If you start d4 then you are a more strategically minded player. You are likely to prefer closed positions where the early middle game is mainly devoted to strategic manoevring.

    I am not sure that much turns on understanding this distinction. But perhaps one or two things can be said. For example it is worth appreciating that if you manage strategically to outplay your opponent in the opening and you achieve a markedly better development (four pieces developed as against one, say) then the time is right to look for tactical opportunities; typically a sacrifice to open lines to that king still sat in the middle of the board. Knowing this helps to organise your thinking. Similarly the opening principles tell you not to launch an attack (unless your opponent blunders) until you are fully developed. Again, knowing this helps you not to spend time wastefully on some tempting tactical shot in the first dozen moves. You should be spending that time working on making your development harmonious. Or knowing the strategic point that the bishop pair is an advantage in open positions but may not be an advantage in a closed position is a bit of a help when considering minor piece exchanges.

    Whether an understanding of weaknesses in pawn formation should properly be described as positional I am not sure. But evaluating when the medium term advantage of creating a pawn weakness outweighs the possible long term disadvantage - and playing subsequently to take account of the resulting pawn structure makes the difference betrween players of otherwise equal abilities a whole lot of the time.

  • 18 months ago · Quote · #13

    TornadoTee

    plutonia wrote:

    there is no such thing as a "tactical player" or a "positional player", it's just an illusory distinction made by beginners. There's only a bad chess player and a good chess player.

    You need to be proficient in both tactics AND strategy to play a game (any game) of chess. Every good player is good at both, you have to be.

    Couldn't have said it better myself. Chess is a complicated game and to be good at it you need to know what moves to make. Sometimes these moves are positional, meaning they control certain key squares or limit the opponent in some way. Sometimes these moves are tactical, involving  short, medium or even long combinations. 

  • 18 months ago · Quote · #14

    charliecrush

    I'm not much of a chess players but I have read alot about it and I read alot of people's answers about your question too , and as much as I can tell , A GM or a decent player generally is good at both tactical and positional playing , as positioning sometimes needs tactics to be applied ( I watched a match for a GM that I don't remember the name of) and he was all about taking that one square in the other player's territory and man it took him alot of time to excute a perfect plan to take it and put his knight in it's dream square.. that's positional play requiring Tactical play right there.

    So when they say karpov was a positional player it means that He is a 60% positional , 35% Tactical and onl5 5% Flaws in his play that gives you an incredible player whether the positioning or the tactics is the 60% doesn't matter that much as long as there is something that fills the space if you know what I mean.

  • 18 months ago · Quote · #15

    Even-Flow

    To effectively play chess one inherently is going to have to play both tactically and for position. The better a player is. The better they are likely to be in both respects. However, in reality, the vast majority of chess players will excel in one of the two. Hence,the necessary distinction between them.

  • 18 months ago · Quote · #16

    varelse1

    Lol somebody just told me the answer to this two day ago!

    Strategy is what you do when your opponent is paying attention. Tactics is what you do when they're not!

  • 18 months ago · Quote · #17

    Even-Flow

    Of course, positional play, as mentioned above. Involves the controlling of key areas of the board,files,ranks,diagonals and otherwise important squares that, if controlled, may lead to a disadvantage for the opponent at a future point. But without any certain and immediate purpose in terms of tactical play. Strategy, however, is a long term goal such as the advantage of a position arrived at beyond the execution of tactics.


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