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I've read many times one needs to identify their playing style. I think I know what that means but I am unsure on how to go about. Please help. Thanks
I'm of the view that those of us below about 2200 OTB or so don't have a style - we're rated where we are because of significant gaps in our abilities and knowledge.
We might be more comfortable in open positions or in closed positions or engaging in piece play or whatever, but that comfort level isn't about style so much as it is about where are knowledge gaps are smallest.
To have a "style" you have to have sufficient knowledge and experience where you can approach a game from multiple tacts -- choosing to play positionally, or tactically, or goign for complications or whatever -- and your choice is guided not by your limitations but by your conscious decision to engage in that type of play because that most closely aligns to how you think about chess.
Just my humble patzer opinion anyway.
I've identified my style years ago: Dubious
Although "eclectic" sounds good. I think "no style" is more accurate for me. What style exists is defined by what I don't know.
The styles of chess playing have sometimes been described as attacking (throw everything at the king with initiative), calculating (calculate every move and variation and work very hard at the board to find the best move every time), defensive (block and cramp your game), dynamic (aggressive and tactical with enterprising openings), intuitive (guessing but moving quickly and confidently), logical (stereotype moves that are solid and not too unorthodox), positional (more versatile openings and rely on general chess principles), practical (do everything possible to win and not always find the best moves, but more practical moves), prophlactic, tactical (sacrifice when you can; rely on combinations), technical (play the same openings repeatedly), tricky (playing for cheapos and making moves to confuse the opponent; plays unorthodox openings), and universal (good at every phase of chess).
I fall in the tricky, cheopo style.
I think that we sub-2200 players do adopt styles by preferring open or closed games and tactical vs. positional play. Perhaps our games look "confused" to those who play at the Master level, but I think we can describe our play in terms of style.
I don't doubt that we can describe our games in terms of style - but I would postulate that this is not an appropriate description because we aren't perfectly capable of handling most positions using multiple styles, rather we are handling it in the only way we know how based on the weaknesses in our game.
Grandma Moses had a style. My 10 year old doesn't. Their paintings still look almost identical.
I disagree with kingpatzer. A jazz guitar player has a style, for instance traditional jazz, regardless of whether he can play other styles such as classical, metal or blues rock or not.
How is the word style useful in the context of chess playing? It is used to describe preferred mode of playing and approach to the game, and how the games of a certain player usually plays out. If all I know is how to attack and try to create tactical complications for my opponent, I have an attacking style. The reason why I have this style may be that it is the only way I can play, but that really doesn't matter.
All players have weaknesses in their playing, and it seems probable to me that even the best grandmasters have different strengths and weakness. So why this arbitrary lower limit at 2200?
What is the practical use of discriminating between "described in terms of style" and "true style"?
Considering the amount of music theory and rhythmic techniques one must master to be even a moderately compitent jazz guitarist, it is unlikely that they aren't able to play another style of music if they would choose to do so.
But here, the word "style" is really the wrong word. "Genre" is a more apt term. There are styles of jazz, but jazz is different from rock in very fundamental ways.
As a guitarist myself (and a better guitarist than chess player) I know that I can play something straight or I can choose to swing it. And which way I choose to play it is a choice. I am functioning as a musician in making that choice.
I think though that it misses the point. That's not a style at that point, though the word might be used. It's not a style because you're not making a stylistic choice. You're making no choice at all.
To go back to your musical example: it's not the case that you're choosing to voice a chord a certain way but rather it's a limitation of knowing only one voicing for the chord to begin with.
In my mind that seems to be around the point where players are able to successfully making stylistic choices. Yes, it's an arbitrary number. Ignore the number, the point is, I still think, valid.
The point being that one has a style when one is able to consistently make stylistic choices about how to handle chess positions. If one isn't able to cosnsistently make stylistic choices but rather is only able to respond in a limited way because of weaknesses in one's game, then it is improper to talk about having a style.
To take teh example of my 10 year old's painting. If I tell you that the painting is a barnyard scene in the style of Grandma Moses' painting "Thunderstorm" then I've effectively described to you the painting in a way that you can probably guess quite a bit about how it looks. However, to say that my daughter's style of painting is American Folk Art would be rather an insult to the school of painters who make up the genre. But more importantly, it isn't true. She's not making conscious decissions to express cultural identity through the presentation of shared symbols using community aesthetics. She's just painting the way all 10 year olds paint.
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