A player’s chess style is a combination of many things. Developing them over time will make you a more difficult opponent as time passes. Basically you can either be a tactical styled player or a positional player. But there can be a mix of both.

In my opinion, positions that you are comfortable playing are the biggest guesses of what your chess style is?  If you are a player already out of the know-how phase of chess, check our chess tips for intermediate players.

This blog is all about the styles of play in chess. And how each style of play leads to calculations, attacking and adding dynamism to the chessboard.

Positional Style of Chess

It’s a style of play in which the player is mostly focused on controlling the important squares. Basically, the goal is to control the key squares and take up the positional advantage.

This style of play can really get boring in classical chess if both the players are looking for positional advantage and there is no real movement, attacking threats or advances from both camps. And usually, viewers don’t like this sort of chess.

Contrary to that, in a blitz or bullets game, the positional style of play is very entertaining to watch. Because in those games, you have to think quick and play a move. Leading to a dynamic game where both the players are struggling to gain a positional advantage.

If you think your mind is more peaceful to play chess in a way that you have to decide which squares are important to occupy or control, then be a positional player. Build a repertoire of solid chess openings, stay away from Gambits and become a solid chess player.

Tactical Style of Chess

A tactical player is one who is always good at counterplay. This player believes in combinations, tactics, imbalances and sacrifices to hunt for a bigger advantage.

Mikhail Tal comes into mind when such a style of play is mentioned. But very few people know that Tal was also very good in solid play, I mean you can’t be a World Champion if you are not good at everything in Chess.

Another thing is that he was a player of a different generation. Nowadays, in top-level chess, you can’t even sac a pawn in hope of getting a bigger advantage. The level of competition in chess is very high. And players have to somehow emulate and copy computers if the goal is to survive at the very top level.

Creativity is still there, but as Vishy Anand says, he does come up with creative ideas to prepare for the games, but when he runs those ideas through a computer, he finds a lot of problems in them. This is not good for the general creativity in the game but in terms of standards, it raises the bar very high, meaning no chance for wishful creativity and only solid moves.

The pure tactical style of chess at the top level is a thing of the past. Check out this nerve-wracking game of Tal against Botvinnik in a solid known English Opening. There is one particular move that will do the justice of calling it one of the best tactical moves ever played:

Combination of Tactical and Positional Styled Chess

A thing about succeeding is that there are usually more than one ways to be successful in most fields of life. Chess is no different. But more recently we have seen that to really succeed at the top level, chess is becoming more and more tilted towards solid play. At least in the classical events.

But modern Chess players like Magnus Carlsen and Ian Nepomniatchi are known to be OK with all styles of play. They are a combination of both. And they know exactly when to unleash which style of play.

How to Find your Chess Style

You can easily find your style of play by going through the data. Pick your last 10 or 20 games and see the results. The games you have won will greatly help in deciding your chess style of play.

You can either continue with that style or if you don’t like it. You can analyze the lost games, learn from your mistakes by doing a quick engine analysis and make small tweaks of improvement. Don’t try to memorize the right moves because if you are not a titled player, most probably you will forget those moves in the next 24 hours. Move 3 to 4 rocks a day, meaning in a certain line that is occurring again and again in your games, fix 3 to 4 moves through engine analysis and build your game from there.

If you are playing 10 blitz games a day, cut it short to 5 and give the rest of the time to analysis and problem-solving. But if you are totally a beginner. You probably should only concentrate on playing chess and solving tactics. Knowing your style of play this early is not for you.


These are some of my opinions on styles of chess. You can totally disagree with them but I do have the experience of playing a lot of online chess. Chess is overall a beautiful game and it’s better to play it the way you can enjoy it the most.

Connect with me and let’s play an online game some time… 😀


Categories: Chess

Bilal Ahmed

A random guy on the Internet enthusiastic about Blogging Chess and Football Life motto "make people's lives easier"