GM playing style


1. Garry Kasparov

Style: Brilliant Tactician and Attacker. An aggressively dynamic player. Noted chess teacher Bruce Pandolfini described Kasparov in this fashion, "Kasparov strives to gain deep positional sacrifices: Even when he can't calculate the end result conclusively, he can make sophisticated generalizations. He does anything to get the initiative and to force the play. Inevitably, he emerges from a forest of complications -- in which his intentions aren't all that clear -- with the advantage. He's not as artful or as clear as Fischer, but his play coincides with the realities of the day, which are all about defense."

2. Bobby Fischer

Style: A uniquely superb master strategist who was not afraid of complications. Fischer was a specialist in certain openings that he knew better than anyone else. A fighting spirit second to none, refused draws and played to win every game. Pandolfini called Fischer "a king of artful positioning. His opponents would see where he was going but were powerless to stop him."

3. Jose Capablanca

Style: Nicknamed the "Chess Machine" because of the systematic and seemingly simple method by which he bested his opponents. Capablanca was a natural player who is considered the epitome of the “Pure Positional” player. He preferred clarity of position, as well as logical and direct development, he tended to avoid complications and was satisfied to obtain small advantages and convert them to a superior endgame where he had no equal.

4. Alexander Alekhine

Style: Imaginative tactician and attacker, a true chess genius in his originality of thought. His ideas were rich with complexity. “His attacks came suddenly, like destructive thunderstorms that erupted from a clear blue sky” (Kasparov). He studied the openings and made many contributions to theory. A very difficult man to beat, it was said that in order to win a game from him one had to beat him 3 times, once in the opening, once in the middlegame and again in the ending.

5. Anatoly Karpov

Style: Karpov played highly positional chess. He consistently improved his position by moves that show extraordinary positional understanding. He played without taking many risks, and without making many mistakes. He waited for his opponents to make the slightest inaccuracy and then grinded them to dust. Karpov's mastery of the ending was unparalleled, although he kept his openings repertoire relatively narrow, his middlegame was always solid.

6. Emmanuel Lasker

Style: Reuben Fine said, "In Lasker, I see, above all, the supreme tactical genius." Lasker also had a reputation as a defensive risk-taker. Lasker was a supreme fighter a characteristic that allowed him to turn many lost games into victories. He was equally at home in both position and combinative play. The supreme chess psychologist, he was the first GM to thoroughly study his opponents and was more interested in heading into play that his opponents were uncomfortable with than making the objectively best move. His endgame technique was legendary. The best summoning up of Lasker’s play can be found in the following quote, “Lasker’s play is like clear limpid water- with a dash of poison in it!”

7. Viswanathan Anand

Style: Superb tactical player with super-fast sight of the board. He finds complex tactical ideas in seconds. He makes moves very quickly, plays confidently, and calculates like a machine. He plays aggressive and attacking chess, but is also a solid defender.

8.. Vladmir Kramnik

Style: Sometimes called the "Iceman" Kramnik plays a style of tough defensive chess that is hard to beat, but also is a “silent but powerful attacker.” Described as “almost invincible “ by some opponents. He has a clear style of play and builds up strong positions for both offense and defense. His technique is flawless, and is a powerful positional player.

9. Mikhail Botvinnik

Style: The first product of the Soviet school, a disciplined and insightful player who remained at the top for decades. Ascended to the chess throne in 1948, no non-Soviet was to win again until 1972. Botvinnik could play clear positions well but was unafraid of complications. He had a strong grasp of the strategic elements of any given position. His methodical style and strategic mastery made him a dominant figure in the post World War II chess scene. Botvinnik developed many original opening ideas and enriched endgame theory with meticulous analyses.

10. Mikhail Tal

Style: Called the “Magician Of Riga” Tal was the finest ever exponent of attacking chess. A highly imaginative tactician, he played with an all out sacrificial style creating immense complications that he reveled in. Tal was an attacking genius, a superb calculator with amazingly swift sight of the board. His attacking style consisted of beautiful displays of multiple, cascading fireworks, where the true nature of the positions during the execution of his combinations was unfathomable by his opponents. Tal purposely played moves that created the maximum complications for both sides. He once said, "One doesn't have to play well. One only needs to play better than his opponent". Dr. Lasker would have loved that quote, for he too deemed the game of chess as a struggle between two minds, as opposed to each player blindly making "correct" moves. Plagued by ill health throughout his career his reign as chess champion was a short one.


i choose Mikhail Tal!!!!!!!!


Robert James Fischer(Why is there no mention of Tigran Petrosian?)


Cool list! 


East or West, Anand is the best!!

He has proved the inaccuracy of modern chess ratings, as he is the world champion despite being ranked fifth. All Hail Anand!


Anand is WC, but he is past his prime, and will soon be replaced, by Carlsen. I respect Anand in the 2005-2009 period, but he is no longer the strongest player.


Please excuse me, but Anand has still something left. Whenever he utilizes less time, people critisize him. Whenever he uses all the time, people critisize him. The matter is that Anand has defied the thinking that a chess player past 40 is a waste of space, and the people just can't take it in.


Source ? You didn't write this yourself, so by respect for the author, please quote him...


Good readable post.

vpugen wrote:

Please excuse me, but Anand has still something left. Whenever he utilizes less time, people critisize him. Whenever he uses all the time, people critisize him. The matter is that Anand has defied the thinking that a chess player past 40 is a waste of space, and the people just can't take it in.

I am not critisizing his speed of play, if thats what you mean. I'm talking about his QUALITY of play, which has been dropping. Anand is a gifted player, but he doesn't play like he used to.


I choose Garry Kasparov. Because he's game is very useful. He can sacrifice a pieces just for a initiative and has an ability to convert it into win.


Bobby Fischer is also great in chess. 


Dr.Emmanuel Lasker was an amazing player. Even a genius like Capablanca struggled hard against him. Capa ruled the WC later just because Lasker didn't want to be a contender anymore. Even Alakhine admitted that Lasker could have held the throne for another decade if he wanted to. 


where is carlsen






Anand the best!Natural players are arguably the best.Positional players,they just learn the best moves and how to spot them.But tactical players,the best.


I like this! happy.png


I heard an interview with Matthew Sadler on the Perpetual Chess Podcast. Sadler just co-wrote the book Game Changer about AlphaZero. In that interview, Sadler indicated that the player AlphaZero most resembles in style is Botvinnik.