Online Chess Game – Difference Between Tactical and Positional Chess

Chess is a game of strategy and thinking. Naturally, in a game with millions of possibilities, people develop strategies or gameplays to sail through the game smoothly. Players study many styles of openings, midgame strategies, end games, gambits, traps, and whatnot. If you frequently play chess online, you will hear the chess community discussing these things everywhere.

The most common topic of debate in the chess community is related to tactical and positional play. They discuss the benefits and the drawbacks of both the playing style and never seem to conclude. If you, as a newbie, have difficulties understanding these two playing styles, then let us simplify it for your ease. Although, if you understand it by reading, you should still play a chess game online to get the complete feel.

Also Read: How to Play Chess


In the positional play, players usually stick to the basics. That means they follow the traditional route of the game. The opening, middle game, and everything else adheres to the rules. That’s the reason it is called positional play. The player tries to get all his pieces in the correct position to defeat their opponent. 

On the other hand, tactical players do not follow any particular guidelines. They usually play moves that are non-conventional. If you play chess with enough people, you will find that most players are a combination of these two.


All the moves in a positional play are played with the intent to occupy a better position on the board. Positional players want to ensure that all their pieces are doing their best; the initial game is focused more on preparing for an attack and forming a solid defence. Meanwhile, tactical players are trying to invade their enemy’s space without really securing a strong position. The attack is strategic, but they do not develop their foundation like positional players.

Organized Pieces

A positional player always focuses on organizing their pieces and getting them at the right place before starting the midgame. Their pieces are placed conventionally throughout the game because they love the advantage of their position. This is something that a tactical player doesn’t focus on. Their side of the board looks like a mess, and it is confusing to predict what they will do next. In an online chess game, you will encounter both of these players, and then you might be able to understand which style is impressive and better suited for you.

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Better Pawn Structure

As positional play is all about getting your pieces adequately aligned, a player like this will never miss out on the advantage of having an excellent pawn structure. Their opening is focused on building a pawn structure that can withstand attacks and provide cover to their pieces. A tactical player rarely bothers with making any kind of structure and just dives headfirst into the game. This might sound foolish, but the intellect of a tactical player still pulls it off somehow. The more you play chess, the more you will understand these things.


The whole point of chess is protecting your king and ensuring the opponent doesn’t checkmate you. In the positional play, the player usually castles at the beginning of the game and surrounds its king with pawns to protect it from direct attacks. However, tactical players aren’t keen on following this tip as well. Ivanchuk, one of the greatest players, once had his king in the center like an attacking piece against a Chinese grandmaster. His approach was so fierce that the opponents eventually resigned. You would come across many such unique players on an online chess game platform. Make sure you learn and observe their exceptional moves. Maybe you can try to implement them in your next gameplay.

Also Read: How to Get Better At Chess

Final Thoughts

So we know that tactical play results from calculation while positional play comes from intuition. It is advisable to start playing chess online tactically when you are a beginner and know only a few basics of positional play. This improves your problem-solving ability as a novice player. If you can learn the logic behind the game, you can learn the rules sooner or later. Now that you know the difference between tactical and positional chess, start by playing Chess Puzzle on the MPL Pro app to discover what kind of gameplay you or your opponent has. If you regularly play chess online, your gameplay is bound to improve, no matter your playing style.

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