Understanding beats Tactics, but tactics needs a strong presence in lower levels



Respect to you but the conversation for that was over, please be relavant to the topic I would really appreciate it and I think others as well.

But I will say this:

Rating is just an estimation or better  said, it is as I would like to put it a placeholder, I know someone who has a rating of 1700 in chess.com, but actually is 2067 in real life.(

Rating is not a good figure, playing the game and seeing how a player plays is a good estimate, but I say estimate because it takes many games to realize a player's true strength. If you want to know how strong a player really is, I recommend playing them at least 20-50 games...

Like I said Rating is a bare minimum estimate, I don't think I am actually 1600, I feel like I could be more but wouldn't be upset if it was less. Truly I just take it one game at a time, and let my statistics(anaylsis w/ good or bad moves) determine how good I am as strength and rating is an estimate. 

There are some days I feel as strong as a 2000. There are also days I feel like I am a 1500 at best. So really the only thing we can do is be consistent and play our best games, that is what I believe determines ratings. I don't believe ratings on chess.com tell the whole story anyways. The most relatable chess ratings that I see are the closest to the truth is OTB ratings, but even so that is the closest, not neccessarily 100% accurate for chess again is an estimation of skill, just like some other sports/mental sports as well. Different strengths lie, so as long as a person is consistent and knowns their strengths and weaknesses it is good for them to estimate where they are, but Elo ratings are not a good comparision as I believe much more analyzing and information as well as time is needed to understand where a person is truly in their game and how much potential they may have.

That's all I have to say.

Steven-ODonoghue wrote:
MandelbrotZoom wrote:
Steven-ODonoghue wrote:

Judging by the thousands of posts of his that I have read, it is obvious that he is at least 1800 strength.

You're only 1400 though, you don't know the true strength and understanding of an 1800, I do.

Where are you getting my 1400 rating from? my chess.com blitz, that i havent played in months?

I have 4 accounts on another site that have all passed 2000.

No, from your best games section.


Steven-ODonoghue wrote:

Judging by the thousands of posts of his that I have read, it is obvious that he is at least 1800 strength.

Let it go.  Some people like to argue just to hear themselves argue.  You would make more progress if you nailed one foot to the floor and ran around in a circle.

TeacherOfPain wrote:

For example most of the Super GM's are positionally dominant, but a lot of the tactical masters are International Masters or GM's and although that is definitley still high it doesn't seem like they would be world champion or even fide world cup title contendors an due to that, this is why positional play seems more dominant and is more dominant.

I believe, over the next few years, as you become a stronger player, your viewpoint on this will change—and you'll eventually come to the conclusion (like many players do) that neither tactical play, nor positional play, are superior to the other.

They're actually just two ways of describing the same thing: playing good chess.

The practical truth of things is that good chess moves are simultaneously tactical and positional, with each informing and flowing into the other.

For example: Tal's explosive tactics were a product of his deep positional understanding. He often used tactics to assail his opponent's position, creating positional weaknesses that could later be exploited.

Also: Karpov's dazzling positional play was a product of his deep tactical knowledge. He often stifled his opponent's counterplay by removing their tactical resources.

The list can go on and on . . . Tactics and positional play, while often separated into two different categories for discussion's sake, are actually linked together.

Separating them, in my opinion, does a disservice to one's deeper understanding of the game.


Dont forget Petrosian.  You know...the "boring guy"  The guy that went undefeated 2 years straight in the USSR championship,and the king of the exchange sac.


Understanding beats me (people call me tactics)

KetoOn1963 wrote:

Dont forget Petrosian.  You know...the "boring guy"  The guy that went undefeated 2 years straight in the USSR championship,and the king of the exchange sac.

Petrosian was also one of the top blitz players in the world... perhaps that's expected given his boa-constrictor playing style.



I agree with you somewhat in that regard, it is true that both positional play and tactics is needed, specifically for certain Grandmaster's playstlyes they had different specialities and their specialties lead them to different places in their chess career: 

Tal- Tactical genius and Calculating Machine, had more anti-positional games than positional because he would always imbalance the game and make it choaotic, and within him imbalancing the game the opposing masters for most of the time had to look at 5-10 different lines or variations based on one crazy move. This is based on pure calculation not neccessarily positional understanding, there was games that Tal literally saw no weakness in a position and sacrificed material and won, that is why we called him a Tactical genius. But it is also true that in a lot of positions it did take mistakes and certain human errors for Tal to do his bidding, however even in that finding errors is not the hard part of you are a calculating machine. If we think about it if we could caculate like tal, many people wouldn't use a lot of positional understanding as in the case of Tal he thought that his calculating motifs was enough and being anti-positional was the way for him. But it wasn't the way for him based on principle, it was based on him and his comfortability on his style, so that is why in his case positional understanding was known but more or less minimally used unless he had to use it.

As Tal was the opposite of Karpov and Capablanca, he wanted those crazy positions, he wante the imbalances, he wanted it to be anti-positional so he could take his opponent into deep dark forests because he was comfortable there and a lot of his opponents werne't. Due to this a lot of his players just lost because of the pressure in all reality. With knowing he was the opposite of positional masterminds such as Capablanca, Karpov and more it shows that I highly doubt that Mikail Tal relied heavily on positional understanding, the only time he did that was later on in his life when he could no longer sustain calculating anymore. 

There are a bunch more examples of the extreme opposites and how their play was unique to them, truly the game of chess is a game of principle by how a man plays his or her own game in that top level, but in order to reach the ultimate top you have to have first reach that level of positional understanding and then only then will I believe that tactics can sure follow.

But there are many factors and my belief still stand that positional understanding is needed for the very high play while tactics is very much needed at lower levels. Both is needed no doubt and one cannot do without the other, but to put it into perspective a lot of grandmasters we're not like what you say. Some we either great tactically, some were great positionally or some were great defensively, and the list goes on and on. 

But I do agree that in order to reach a good level you have to have both but for the case of these all-time greats, such was not the case not just for a few, but for many of them. They had their skills and talents and most of them were positional master's, I haven't seen such a positional master that outright losses just because they don't have the best grasp on tactics, still even in that senario their moves are very good and they win because they know how to play the game based on their standards and their comfortablility and if they can do that then I think they can go to far places(Just think of Caruana, Magnus, Levion Aronian, Wesly so, all these people are great at positional understanding and their tactical understnading for thier level is quiet, lets just say standard, their positional play definitley helps them more and it proves it as they are the top in the world...)

So I get what you are saying but for all the players who want to improve I urge them to understand positions, moves, weaknesses, strengths and a good amount of other things and if they understand positions, and have even a minimal tactical understanding(lets say 1500-1600) they can go places

TeacherOfPain wrote:

... Just think of Caruana, Magnus, Levion Aronian, Wesly so, all these people are great at positional understanding and their tactical understnading for thier level is quiet, lets just say standard, their positional play definitley helps them more and it proves it as they are the top in the world...

When I look at the games of Carlsen, Caruana, Aronian, and So, I see players who are profoundly skilled at both positional and tactical play, and who are drawing upon their knowledge of both facets of the game when choosing their strategies and moves.

You can't really be a 2700+ player without a balanced mastery of the game. And at that level, players aren't thinking in binary terms. They're looking at both the tactical and positional ideas inherent to every move.

It's common to see players who've recently discovered positional play; those who think they've suddenly found the Secret to chess. "So long, tactics!" they say. "Positional play is the key to mastery!"

But really, good chess is both, flowing from one to the other. And the sooner one recognizes the connection between tactics and positional play, the sooner one can put aside such binary ways of thinking, and work to develop a well-rounded game.

Just my opinion, anyway. Perhaps, at this point, it's best if we amicably agree to disagree.


Whosever said "so long tactics" my friend, I just said if you want to make it to higher levels of play, you have to have superior positional understanding.

I said that tactics is needed, but much needed on the lower level as you probably don't see because you are not in the lower rated section most of the people mostly lose on tactical mistakes and I was bringing it to the attention that people that are higher rated need to have positional understanding in their arsental as well as for the amatuers they need a higher tactical strength. 

Nobody said that "So long, tactics! or "Positional play is the key to Mastery(although depending on your playstlye it can be significantly better than tactical play alone.) 

This debate has no meaning as positional understanding is neeeded but only so few people understand how legitamitley important is to foundation and the maitence of positions. That is why GM's are GM's and Amatuers are Amateurs, there foundation on understanding is superior but in the positional sense it does allow them to activate tactical motifs but that is why positional understanding is needed as without it what could you do and without it there would not be as nearly(or if any) to players due to the lack of understanding and knowledge on the board. 

It is true but it not true at the same time, there is a lot of factors and depending on the position depends on the game, chess is not flexible in that way, there is no structured way about going theough the game as even principles are broken from time to time and the game is more flexible now than ever because of engines and crazy lines. 

So with this said truly even if you are correct, still not really becasue the game of chess is a flexible game now thinking about it. Certain positions require certain motifs, and certain understanding whether it be positional or tactic, but then some require only positional and some only require that winning move from a calculated line or a tactical shot made from the superior position to destroy an inferior posiiton. 

It depends so my opinion on this is neutral as flexiblity is the best word to describe this, it is not a structured game based on the same moves and same motifs every game, as ever person is different and brings a different game so knowing this we cannot say that both people need to have positional understanding and tactics in their games sometimes as sometimes positional understanding will be needed much more and sometimes tactical understanding will be needed much more, this argument of proportions has not structure to it and there is no point to agree to disagree or to disagree outright because both of our points are siad but even so their stuctures are not concrete for all games. 

So with this said I still believe what I said but you are correct when it comes to what you are saying however depending on the style, player, opponent, moves, mindset, record and understading and other things depends on a lot of where a player can go and what they can do and with that said both of our claims are correct..

Whatever the case is it doesn't matter, I play my game you play your game and its alright, this is what hte forums where made for and it is ok to disagree or to agree to disagree sometimes, its no biggy though you are correct like I said before but in some sitautions you are not and I am. It is a constant thing that leads to nothng so I respect your claim and hopefully your respect mine. 

Thank for your time and knowledge spread in this forum though...


Garsh fellas......I am only USCF 1239....ohhhh.......I did manage to beat a guy once who was 1912.....whoop dee do....


Main thing is to have fun playing chess. Don't  make chess a job unless you can compete on World Tour against MAGNUS. Make it one of your HOBBIES in life.


True, competing is not the way, but making it a hobby is definitley something nice... 

@NickawampusLeroy has the right idea as making taking it too seriously diminishes the love of the game, I think we need to have a balance of competition as well as fun.