The 4 player types standard model - a review

by ChessBase
5/16/2022 – Four-time Indian women’s champion IM Padmini Rout reflects on ‘The 4 Player Types standard model’, a FritzTrainer authored by GMs Karsten Müller and Luis Engel. She writes, “This has been one of the most useful DVDs I have come across, and I recommend everyone to watch it. Know more about your strengths and weakness [and] what areas to work on”. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

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A review

By Padmini Rout

Karsten Müller, Luis EngelRecently I have been trying to understand myself better. What works and what doesn’t. What are my strengths and my weaknesses. What areas I can improve upon. Can I also understand these things about my opponents? Can I understand players better whose playing style doesn’t match with mine?

Something that has helped me improve my understanding about these topics is the DVD The 4 Player Types standard model by GM Karsten Müller and GM Luis Engel.

The authors give very nice examples, suggestions that have helped me to understand which players to follow to improve on certain areas. According to the authors, chess players can be majorly categorized into Activists, Theorists, Reflectors and Pragmatics, based on the theory suggested by GM Lars Bo Hansen.

Let’s take a sneak peek and see some examples and lessons chosen randomly from the DVD. There is a lot more to each of these groups, which can be found in the DVD.

I consider myself an activist, and it was easier for me to verify the lessons I learnt — but I am not gonna be putting it all out here so as not to make my opponent’s task easier. In the section on activists below, I share one example from my games.


Activists advance opening theory. The first game is an example from the DVD, the very famous game between Vishy Anand and Levon Aronian. Then I share one of my games — activists sacrifice for the initiative!


Select an entry from the list to switch between games


Theorists play logically. Here we see Mikhail Botvinnik’s iron logic! From current top players, Anish Giri is an example.



Reflectors are my favourite kind. They have a good feeling for harmony and coordination. Here’s a nice example from Anatoly Karpov. Our world champion Magnus Carlsen is a strong reflector as well!



Pragmatics are the players who are very practical over the board. GM Luis considers himself one, and here he gives an example of himself giving a tough time to his opponent in a dubious position.


The world champions and top players obviously exhibit more than one quality. But I feel the lower we go it’s easier to find to which type the player is more inclined towards, and this DVD has improved my understanding about these various types of chess players.

This has been one of the most useful DVDs I have come across, and I recommend everyone to watch it. Know more about your strengths and weakness, what areas to work on, and much more!

The 4 Player Types standard model - Find your strengths and weaknesses and those of your opponent

Playing styles in chess are an important and thus often discussed topic. GM Dr. Karsten Müller and GM Luis Engel take up a model by GM Lars Bo Hansen based on 4 player types - namely ‘activists’, ‘pragmatics’, ‘theoreticians’ and so-called ‘reflectors’.


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