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My playing style...good or bad at my level??? 
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Joined: Sun Aug 21, 2011 3:01 pm
Posts: 11
Rating: 1200
Rating Class: Class D (1200-1400)
Post My playing style...good or bad at my level???
I am posting this game because I have been asked what playing style I prefer. I like a sharp attacking style game. I have been trying to learn the Torre attack. I am currently rated about 1500 at 15 minute control. I am only rated about 1150 at 5 minute blitz. I am trying to play less blitz now to improve my game. Any comments on how to improve my game would be appreciated. Not sure really what openings and studies I should be doing at this level.

Sun Nov 25, 2012 8:33 am

Joined: Wed Nov 07, 2007 4:59 am
Posts: 1442
Rating: 2200
Rating Class: National Master
Post Re: My playing style...good or bad at my level???
What can I tell you about this game? You developed your pieces, and basically black did the rest. Normally against players un 2000 it is enough simply to wait for gifts. I cannot talk to you about style, as ' style ' is really just another word for weakness until you get to GM level.

You made no obvious gaffs, which is a really good thing, and far from easy to do! You should take pride in this.
You took advantage of ' gifts ', and did not just let them pass you by. Again a key skill.

Sun Nov 25, 2012 4:00 pm
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Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2008 1:39 pm
Posts: 2859
Location: Maryland, USA
Rating: 1698
Rating Class: Class B (1600-1800)
Post Re: My playing style...good or bad at my level???
Losses are generally more useful than wins for assessing strength/weaknesses.

illigetimi non carborundum.

Sun Nov 25, 2012 7:29 pm
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Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2009 10:45 am
Posts: 805
Location: England
Rating: 1840
Rating Class: Class A (1800-2000)
Post Re: My playing style...good or bad at my level???
I think the only way to assess your style is to keep a record of every game you play and see which openings you do best in. If you play on FICS, for example, you can go to and download all of your games. In chessbase you should be able to load these up and then 'Prepare Against...' yourself (don't remember exactly how you get there as I don't have Chessbase since using a Mac). Doing this, you will see your opening tree and see which of your choices brings you most success.

Of course this will only work when you play lots of games in lots of different styles of openings. The most important thing is to be diverse, I think, and to experiment with both solid positional structures and crazy attacking gambits. Only when you've played a few thousand games in lots of different openings, will you be able to get a meaningful win/loss% statistic. As Pobble said, style is really another name for weakness. If you are a positional player, unless you are Karpov that usually means that your attacking and tactical play isn't so strong. And if you're a sharp player it usually just means you will get outplayed in slow, positional openings. :) So finding your style isn't really important in terms of knowing how to play, but in terms of knowing where you are going wrong. What's important is playing lots of styles and becoming a strong, all round player.

Maybe Pobble with disagree with me here, but my advice isn't to be totally erratic and to play 1...e5 1...c5 1...c6 1...b6 against e4, but to decide to play something sharp against one opening and something positional against another. This way you don't get completely confused by learning different openings, and you can still develop your knowledge of theory in specific openings while remaining diverse in your overall choices. Of course, over time you should play ever opening - not necessarily because you want to play it long term, but just to understand it so you know what to do if somebody ever plays it against you. But I think it's good to focus on learning just a couple at a time, then move on to something else. Don't get too attached to any one opening at first!

For example, as black against 1. e4 you may choose to play the Sicilian, and against 2. Nf3 go into the Dragon. This opening teaches you about how to attack when castled on opposite sides, how to launch a minority attack, and will increase your sharp/tactical knowledge. However, as white you may choose to play 1. e4 and against the Sicilian play Nc3 and go for a Closed Sicilian, which will teach you how to launch a kingside attack when you are castled on the same side as your opponent, and is still quite sharp but a bit more positional than the normal Sicilian. But when playing against d4 you may choose to play something very positional like Nimzo Indian or classical QGD, which will teach you a lot about pawn structures, hanging pawns, IQP positions, etc. Or you may choose the Grünfeld which is very sharp but in a much more positional and hypermodern way than the Dragon.

You see, every opening has a different focus. These aren't my recommendations for beginners, by the way, just an example of how different openings teach you different skills. Only by playing all different styles can you really develop as a chess player. To develop your personal repetoire you will have to decide using different factors: which openings do you enjoy and which openings will teach you something new. I think these two factors, in my opinion, are the most important. Other people will disagree with me, I'm sure, but I recommend playing main lines no matter what your level. Playing main lines isn't about playing by rote, it's about learning the very essence of an opening. It's no good to play a main line if you don't understand how to punish an incorrect move by your opponent. Don't be scared if your opponents deviates - welcome it. Often it means you have the chance to gain an advantage. Besides, if you only play openings hoping for certain responses then you will be disappointed no matter what your level, and no matter what your opening repetoire. People say you will rarely face main lines as a Class D player but that doesn't mean that YOU shouldn't learn them, because eventually that knowledge will pay off, so why not get a head start? :) You don't have to learn every opening to move 20, just far enough to get you into a playable position where you know the plan.

One last piece of advice - if you lose against a certain opening all the time, then start playing it as the opposite colour :) For example, if you lose against the French all the time then start playing it as black. You'll get a feel for his plans more, but in the process of losing in this opening as black you will learn how to play it as white :)

Mon Nov 26, 2012 4:53 am

Joined: Sun Aug 21, 2011 3:01 pm
Posts: 11
Rating: 1200
Rating Class: Class D (1200-1400)
Post Re: My playing style...good or bad at my level???
thank you guys for the good insite and advise. I feel as though I am getting together a good game plan to develope my game.

Mon Nov 26, 2012 11:04 am
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