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How do you describe your chess playing style?

How do you describe your chess playing style?

  • Attacking
  • Calculating
  • Dynamic
  • Intuitive
  • Logical
  • Positional
  • Practical
  • Technical
  • Tricky

Created on January 27, 2011 | 9227 Votes | 117 Comments


  • 5 years ago


    Well[!?] ... Seems like we all need our unique 'word' to make ourselves feel special here, huh? ...

    Anyway - I don't feel I'm not only 'special' enough to vote on this one myself, but can't see the justification here in seriously delivering a reasonable answer to this topic.  I therefore strongly believe in my view, that when it comes down to the bare essentials of chess-play, there's really only two 'styles' to choose from - and that's either to attack or defend - period!

    To this day, I never really could quite comprehend the meaning behind 'positional[?]'-play myself - nor most of the other current 'foggy' jargon used to describe the other 'schools' of chess out there.  Personally, one of my favourites among them is the 'hypermodern' term.  I suppose this means to 'hype' oneself when under attack, and appear cooly 'mod' when doing so, although the concept's term itself [c 1920s] is outdated.  And the 'Soviet school' [or 'style'] of chess - what does that 'style' imply now in today's terms? ... to engage your opponent in post-nuclear arms talks over the board when it's their move? ...

    Yeah, chess strategy along with its 'styles' and terms can be a funny business.  But there's no amount of idiomatic expression that can pinpoint what is inherently tactical in defining what can only be one true chess 'style' - and that is solely to fight - merely through attack and/or defence, no matter how one describes themselves over the pursuit in their method of attack/defence.  In other words, if you see yourself as a 'risky-style' player, you may offer a piece/pawn-sacrifice for a possible [counter-] attack [and/or defence].  And if you consider your 'style' as 'solidifying', then you're more apt to considerations primarly for defence - foreseeing counterattacking chances in the future.  As far as labelling oneself a 'positional-player' - you're only maneuvering pieces/pawns in such a way towards the possibility for either attacking/defending chances.  There's really nothing more to it - it's that simple.

    However, if I had to describe my personal 'style' in terms of how I either attack/defend in a chess game (just to satisfy the wishes of the chess.com survey departmental team, here[!]), it wouldn't be any of the limited terminology choices provided above.  First off, it is nearly impossible to partake in an individual self-analysis/assessment of oneself without the aid of judgement from other individuals' reaction[s] as to how you percieve your 'self' - or personal 'style'.  You really can't do it all alone, unless you know your inner 'self' - your personal strengths/weaknesses - really well.

    But, along with most others, as I'd like to think of knowing myself (at least in chess[!]) reasonably well - to provide such an answer in describing my personal 'style' is rather pointless.  You either play the game safe and attempt to draw, or take risks and try to win - that's it.  How you go about it doesn't really matter to anyone except perhaps yourself. 

    Chess is a lot like life itself in miniature, really.  I believe one's 'style' in chess  reflects their personality as well.  If you feel you're a natural 'loser' in life, for instance - and if you happen to take 'it' out on the chess-board - then you will most likely see more losses than wins [or draws] in your chess games.  However, if your outlook on life is optimistic, you will most likely be just another average chess player out there, as you would be inclined to take more risks in your chess-play.  What really counts is that 'it' simply comes down to the 'fact[?]' for the one's who are only[?!] 'lucky' enough within their personal lifestyles who will end up winning more games on average without even trying too hard!  Pure 'luck[?]' - or 'what-have-you[?]' - quite often describes itself in a 'style' within its own merit ...

    And should it ever come down to mere 'luck' as a particular 'style' in chess, I'm certainly not the one up for even attempting to describe that arena of the game.  But if I could put it bluntly, I believe 'luck' has much to do with chess - just as with any other type of game, at least in terms of developing a certain kind of chess 'style' - stemming a unique quality upon itself over merely abiding within the crude set-forth 'style'-limitations for either attack/defence mentioned earlier.

    If you were to perceive chess more as a chaotic game offering random 'events' that are often difficult to control or calculate [such as in 'real' life], rather than just a game of pure 'skill', wouldn't your 'style' of chess-play undergo a major overhaul?  To put it more tacitly, how many supposedly 'won' or 'drawn' chess games have you ended up losing? ... Most likely, those particular games won by your opponent were outright 'lucky' wins - simply put, chaotic forces in which you did not notice and/or were difficult to calculate/control.  But perhaps when you examined those particular 'lost' games in post-mortem analyses, you should, or could, have at least drawn some of them[!] ...

    Now in a similar vein, if you perceive chess as being governed only through one particular self-'stylized' domain satisfying nothing more than a cold-calculating series of precision move-orders and replies, whereby the chaotic element is severely restricted via a database of 'perfected' move choices, chances are that the majority of such games actuated within this 'style' of domain will produce drawn results.  To put it more succinctly, or in layman's terms, consider a pair of very powerful chess computers each of equal-strength [say, 3500+ elo], vying for checkmate in a game amongst themselves.  At some point, the game between them will end, but the result is more than likely to draw either with 'threefold repetition' or via the '50-move rule', rather than 'stalemate' - but probably never with 'agreement'.

    Yes, in a 'perfect' world, playing chess would be pointless.  But neither I, nor all the current chess engines out there, believe the game is perfected enough [yet] to allow every conceivably precision-played chess position to end in drawn results.  Therefore, to view the game as being subjected only within a limited 'style'-approach under either such domain of 'attack/defence' or 'precision moves/replies', this could very-well be an inefficient [and down-right frustrating] method towards mastering chess strategy.  However[!] - if we realize through no-fault-of-our-own, that chess itself, as well as ourselves [including our opponents] - are imperfect beings on this planet, then we should have every exclusive right to justifiably conclude that the game is not only chaotic [just as] in nature - involving 'hidden' forces that we do not yet fully comprehend - but that it does in fact merit around a particular 'style' of play that we have yet to pinpoint towards its discovery[!?].

    Well if we can reiterate the old adage [just] once more: Chess is a strategic game involving 99% tactical 'skill[?]' - this might take us one step further towards not only recognizing the fact that chess is largely an abstract idea of simulated warfare (or perhaps more 'realistically', the trials and tribulations of life itself[!]), but[!] - should the aforementioned statement prove valid enough in re-evaluating our understanding of chess principles - to engage us in forcing ourselves to re-examine the possible 'truth' behind any possible underlying meaning of what exactly is concealed in that relatively unknown 'one-percent domain', 'hiding' within the 'skill' of the game.

    In our futile (or rather, sordid[!]) quest upon improving our chess understanding, when we thumb through heavily-annotated texts of 'master game' analyses, on occasion, the annotator not only hints (or has no clue whatsoever[!]) towards an inkling for the next 'best' move[s], but (or for 'our[?]' better 'judgement') 'simply' states, often ending with either: " ... And after 35.Bxf6 gxf6[?!] (35...exf6?! 36.Rxh7+!? with attacking chances for both sides) 36.Qg4[!?] with an unclear, yet messy position ... ", or worse[!] - to quote from chapter one, page one, in the first opening line of Andrew Soltis', 'Turning Advantage Into Victory in Chess' - "The rest is a matter of technique." - unquote 

    What else is apparently 'funny' about the over-usage of these analytical 'conclusions' is the suggestive implication that neither technique nor 'style' has any justification whatsoever towards meeting the actual transparency of a particular game's peculiarities.  True, it may not matter much as to how one goes about checkmating their opponent, however the choice of 'style' used to achieve such 'winning' positions may, or may not, be more superficially inherent as an inseparable entity within the technicalities of 'pure' technique itself.  As subtle as this may seem, both terms may mean the same thing, but what is clear is the notion that no amount of chess 'style' is sufficiently accountable for any lack of technique, in the application for either winning or drawing a game of chess.

    When we should finally put the 'big question[?]' to test, where we have to ask ourselves, then: "If what we currently perceive of modern chess stratagem, its principle laws, and tactical elements; satisfies our understanding as the accepted 'truth', relative within our 'belief' for the game's immeasurable magnitude of possible resources - could it therefore be deduced then (in what we presently hold as known theory), to foresee not only our limitations there envisage towards that of a finite realm - but, the 'logical' foresight pointing us towards that uncharted frontier of the darker side of chess[?] - or 'chaos theory' ... 'that[!]' one percent of the game which is equally circumstantial in defining why we nor the 'pure' tactical element can justify our perspective of established doctrine for solving the 'bigger picture' of chess; the 'why[?]', then[!] - despite all our accredited theory - the game continues to defy our 'intelligence' within this[!] largely unexplained realm for how either Black or White continually manages to eke out wins [and/or losses] ... [?]"

    Vast questions like these often beg us to differ in opinion regarding whether our efforts towards the 'absoluteness' of chess strategy is not only questionable in itself, pertaining to the epochal 'will' we've created for resolution over the game's 'intent' to always end in a draw result, but rather - an 'excuse' of/to humankind's ignorance for simply keeping the game alive[!] - regardless for any attributable indication into leading us to a discovery of but one particular chess 'style' we have yet to describe, conclusively ...

    The more we know of chess theory, the less we know of it - it is the sole reason for why one side continues to win [or lose] over the course of a game.  And the same goes for our relative lack of understanding in chess 'style', as it is almost next to impossible to correctly define over our [presently] limited realm of tactics, strategy, [endgame] technique, opening principles/knowledge, dynamics in pawn-play, colour complexes, concept of time, among other faculties - except perhaps, that it may best be explained through the words of the late and legendary, GM David Bronstein: "There are no plans in chess, only moves."  And perhaps the same could be said of chess 'style'.

    And that's the way 'I' see it! ...

  • 5 years ago


    I like attacking, but everything involves logic.

  • 5 years ago



  • 5 years ago


    My playing style is really stupid.

  • 5 years ago



  • 5 years ago


    Counter Attack !

  • 5 years ago


    I would describe mine as dubious.  I picked dynamic because it seemed to be the closest thing.

  • 5 years ago


    In actuality everybody has a little of  every  "playing style" inherently ... with one or two style traits dominating.  Personally, I find a certain satisfaction in "tricking " an opponent in making a move(s) from which I can swoop  down like a "fox in a hen house"  and totally devastate the opponents resolve (watch someone point out "foxes don't swoop").

  • 5 years ago


    i am a calculator, definitely! Wink

  • 5 years ago


    And I like madhackers thoughts on this subject...classic stuff

  • 5 years ago


    Logical is what I picked but u need to have all of the above but the one thing that connects it all is your evaluation of the position after you've calculated and played logically and thought Intuitivally and looked for tactical chances you need to then ask yourself am I winning or am I losing          hmmmmmm.

  • 5 years ago


    I think that this is more sort of a personality test question than a "real" playing style question. You can't have only one of the above except the logical maybe ...

  • 5 years ago


    So when I voted for technical, I´m in top 3%? :D
  • 5 years ago


    If most of chess.com members are rated near 1200 or 1300, that is where the peak is on the bell curve that shows chess.com members.  And the majority or at least 22% of chess.com members say they are attackers.  Can we deduce that postional play is a stonger form of chess played by higher rated players? 

  • 5 years ago


    game with blunder is -it a "style" ?

  • 5 years ago


    Vincero is right. Surely, a "defensive" option must be added.

    If I strongly prefer playing as black, and sometimes play Bird's or king's Indian as white, how else can I describe my style? I prefer to render initiative to my opponent until his attack works itself out, and then to try to win in the endgame. Can such style be called defensive? I think so.

  • 5 years ago


    Hmm. Mine's not really a mystery Laughing

  • 5 years ago


    this is like asking a mall shopper what paris fashion style they try to dress as.

  • 5 years ago


    "Autistic" (Ret - sue me :))

  • 5 years ago


    My style changes depending on the game. As any great players should, to have a certain stye of play no matter the condition is predictible, and anyone who figures your "modus operandi" out, can easily find holes in your style if you play the same everytime, and holes equal a loss.. Simple and plain. So my style changes or evolves with each win OR loss, learn from both wins and losses. Adapt, adapting means greatness, don't lose the same way twice. But if I was forced to choose I guess my overall style of play is classified as Attacking, because I will see a hole or opening and exploit your mistakes and make you pay, and attack without regard for piece loss, hey offense is the best defense, but hey it's a gift and a curse.
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