Here is a quote I liked from a recent post on Grognardia describing Ed Greenwood's Refereeing style in a game at OSRCon.
He didn't call for dice rolls a lot and, when he did, they were for things like saving throws or weapon damage. When we encountered a trap or a puzzle, we had to work them it for ourselves; we couldn't just "make a Spot check at DC 15" to find what we needed. The longer I am involved in old school gaming, the more convinced I am that that is the crux of the difference between older games and newer ones. For all the ways that Ed's refereeing might cause some grognards' skin to crawl, he is nevertheless, fundamentally, "one of us." He clearly gets that rolling dice should never be a substitute for individual cleverness and creative thinking.
I think this is spot-on. Games are much more fun when the player is the one playing, not their character's ability scores! For me anyway.