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Review: The 4 Player Types Standard Model by GM Dr. Karsten Muller and GM Luis Engel

by Padmini Rout - 01/06/2022

The numerous chess material available in the market might be confusing for a lot of players. Which one to pick, which area to work on, how to improve one's weaknesses and become a stronger player. These are the few questions which occur in the mind of all strengths of players. Four-time National Women's champion, Asian Continental champion, Individual Gold medalist at Tromso Olympiad 2014 - the woman of multitude of accolades - IM and WGM Padmini Rout wrote a review of the new ChessBase DVD by Luis Engel and Karsten Mueller on her blog - An Open Window. Check out her thoughts and it will certainly benefit you a lot. Photo: Aditya Sur Roy and ChessBase

An Open Window - Padmini Rout's blog

Recently 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?

IM Padmini Rout | Photo: Aditya Sur Roy

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 theory suggested by GM Lars Bo Hansen.


Lets take a sneak peek and see some examples and lessons (in italics) chosen randomly from the DVD. There is 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 :D Sharing here two examples from my games and four from the DVD.


Activists sacrifices for initiative. That's true!

Abhijeet Gupta - Padmini Rout, 19th Delhi GM Open 2022

Position after 18...cxd4

19.exd4 Nxd4 Not necessarily the correct sacrifice but once I saw, it  was hard to resist sacrificing it owing to the fact that white's King is still  in the centre

Padmini - Alina Kaslinskaya, FIDE Grand Swiss 2021 Women

Position after 16. Re4

Activists advance opening theory! This example is from the DVD, the very famous game between Anand and Aronian (Me got potential here :))

Next we jump into Theorists. Theorists play logically. Here we see Botvinnik's iron logic! From current top players, Anish Giri is an example.

Reflectors are my favorite kind. They have a good feeling for harmony and coordination! Here's a nice example from Karpov

Our World Champion Magnus Carlsen is a strong reflector!


Pragmatics, 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 DVD 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!

About the author

IM Padmini Rout among other things is also a bibliophile

We are happy to see IM Padmini Rout writing the first post of the year on her blog "An Open Window". Apart from being one of the strongest female chess player of India with a long list of accomplishments, she is also a bibliophile, loves the nature and cares deeply about the green environment.



Padminii's blog

Follow Padmini - twitter, facebook and instagram


The article has been republished here with kind permission from Padmini Rout.