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Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian
Number of games in database: 1,921
Years covered: 1942 to 1983
Highest rating achieved in database: 2660

Overall record: +691 -157 =1059 (64.0%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 14 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 King's Indian (117) 
    E92 E80 E81 E91 E60
 English (94) 
    A15 A13 A16 A10 A14
 Queen's Indian (78) 
    E12 E14 E19 E17 E15
 Nimzo Indian (76) 
    E41 E40 E46 E55 E53
 Queen's Pawn Game (54) 
    A46 A40 E10 D02 D05
 Queen's Gambit Declined (54) 
    D37 D35 D30 D38 D31
With the Black pieces:
 French Defense (139) 
    C07 C16 C11 C15 C18
 Sicilian (138) 
    B40 B81 B52 B92 B94
 Caro-Kann (84) 
    B17 B11 B14 B18 B19
 King's Indian (72) 
    E67 E95 E63 E81 E62
 French Tarrasch (53) 
    C07 C05 C03 C09
 Nimzo Indian (52) 
    E54 E32 E56 E46 E58
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Petrosian vs Spassky, 1966 1-0
   Petrosian vs Pachman, 1961 1-0
   Spassky vs Petrosian, 1966 0-1
   Petrosian vs Botvinnik, 1963 1-0
   Kasparov vs Petrosian, 1981 0-1
   Petrosian vs Fischer, 1971 1-0
   Keres vs Petrosian, 1959 0-1
   E Terpugov vs Petrosian, 1957 0-1
   Fischer vs Petrosian, 1959 1/2-1/2
   Fischer vs Petrosian, 1959 0-1

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: [what is this?]
   Petrosian - Botvinnik World Championship Match (1963)
   Petrosian - Spassky World Championship Match (1966)
   Petrosian - Spassky World Championship Rematch (1969)

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   USSR Championship (1959)
   USSR Championship 1961a (1961)
   Curacao Candidates (1962)
   USSR Championship (1951)
   USSR Championship (1969)
   Biel Interzonal (1976)
   Stockholm Interzonal (1952)
   USSR Championship (1960)
   Bled-Zagreb-Belgrade Candidates (1959)
   Bled (1961)
   Stockholm Interzonal (1962)
   Rio de Janeiro Interzonal (1979)
   Palma de Mallorca (1968)
   Budapest (1952)
   USSR Championship (1957)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Match Petrosian! by amadeus
   Petrosian Games Only by fredthebear
   Biggest Heritor of Nimzo by Gottschalk
   Veliki majstori saha 27 PETROSJAN (Marovic) by Chessdreamer
   Tigran, Tigran, burning bright by sleepyirv
   Tigran Petrosian's Best Games by KingG
   Power Chess - Petrosian by Anatoly21
   Road to the Championship - Tigran Petrosian by suenteus po 147
   Exchange sacs - 1 by obrit
   Petrosian v. the Elite by refutor
   P.H.Clarke: Petrosian's Best games by setuhanu01
   Move by Move - Petrosian (Engqvist) by Qindarka
   Crouching Tigran by Gregor Samsa Mendel

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian
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(born Jun-17-1929, died Aug-13-1984, 55 years old) Georgia (federation/nationality Armenia)
[what is this?]

Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian was the World Champion from 1963 until 1969. He was born in Tiflis (modern day Tbilisi) in Georgia to Armenian parents, but eventually relocated to Armenia in 1946 before moving to Moscow in 1949.

Petrosian was an avid student of Aron Nimzowitsch 's theories. His play was renowned for its virtually impenetrable defence and patient manoeuvring, a technique that earned him the nickname “Iron Tigran”. Despite this, his capacity for dealing with tactical complications when the need arose prompted Boris Spassky to comment that: ”It is to Petrosian's advantage that his opponents never know when he is suddenly going to play like Mikhail Tal ”, and Robert James Fischer to observe that "He has an incredible tactical view, and a wonderful sense of the danger... No matter how much you think deep... He will 'smell' any kind of danger 20 moves before!" Petrosian’s pioneering use of the positional exchange sacrifice underscored both his positional and tactical grasp of the game. Moreover, he has two major opening systems named after him: the Petrosian Variation of the King's Indian Defence (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 O-O 6.Be2 e5 7.d5) and the Petrosian System in the Queen's Indian Defence (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.a3).

National Championships: Petrosian's first major win was the championship of Georgia in 1945 when he was 16. He won the 5th USSR Junior Championship in 1946 with a score of 14/15, won or came equal first in the championships of Armenia held in 1946, 1948, 1974, 1976 and 1980, won the Moscow championship in 1951; and shared first place with Vladimir Simagin and David Bronstein in the 1956 and 1968 Moscow Championships respectively. He gained his International Master title in the 1951 Soviet Championships, and went on to win the Soviet championship outright three times in 1959, 1961, and 1975, sharing the title with Lev Polugaevsky in 1969.

World championships: Petrosian won his Grandmaster title when he came equal second in the 1952 Interzonal tournament in Stockholm, which also qualified him for the 1953 Candidates tournament in Zurich. An eight time Candidate for the World Championship in 1953, 1956, 1959, 1962, 1971, 1974, 1977 and 1980, he won the Curacao Candidates Tournament of 1962 without losing a single game. The following year, he won the Petrosian - Botvinnik World Championship Match (1963) to become the 9th official World Chess Champion. He retained his title by winning the Petrosian - Spassky World Championship Match (1966), the first time since the Alekhine - Bogoljubov World Championship Rematch (1934) that the World Champion had succeeded in winning a title match. This feat was not repeated until Anatoly Karpov ’s success at the Karpov - Korchnoi World Championship Match (1978). He also advanced to the Fischer - Petrosian Candidates Final (1971) semifinals, but lost, thereby losing the opportunity to qualify to the 1972 championship.

Team Play: Petrosian played in ten consecutive Soviet Olympiad teams from 1958 to 1978, winning nine team gold medals, one team silver medal, and six individual gold medals. His overall performance in Olympiad play was +78 =50 −1, the only loss being to Robert Huebner. He also played for the Soviet team in every European Team Championship from 1957 to 1983, winning eight team gold medals, and four board gold medals.

Classical Tournaments: Soon after becoming champion, he shared first place with Paul Keres in the first Piatagorsky Cup in Los Angeles in 1963. He won the tournaments at Biel and Lone Pine in 1976, the Keres Memorial in 1979, and took second place in Tilburg in 1981, half a point behind the winner Alexander Beliavsky. He was ranked among the top 20 players in the world until he died in 1984.

"Chess is a game by its form, an art by its content and a science by the difficulty of gaining mastery in it. Chess can convey as much happiness as a good book or work of music can. However, it is necessary to learn to play well and only afterwards will one experience real delight." - Tigran Petrosian

References: (1) (Petrosian often required a hearing aid during his tournaments), (2) Wikipedia article: Tigran Petrosian

 page 1 of 77; games 1-25 of 1,921  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. Petrosian vs Kopelevic 1-024 1942 TbilisiC97 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
2. Petrosian vs Flohr 1-045 1942 TbilisiA52 Budapest Gambit
3. Bakhtadze vs Petrosian 0-127 1944 Tbilisi (Georgia)A28 English
4. Petrosian vs V Mikenas 0-141 1944 TbilisiB05 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
5. Petrosian vs N Sorokin 1-023 1944 TbilisiD33 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch
6. Petrosian vs Nersesov 1-016 1944 Tbilisi (Georgia)C42 Petrov Defense
7. Petrosian vs A A Smorodsky ½-½40 1944 GEO-chA28 English
8. Petrosian vs M V Shishov ½-½51 1945 Tbilisi-chE06 Catalan, Closed, 5.Nf3
9. Petrosian vs A Reshko 1-039 1945 Leningrad (Russia)C07 French, Tarrasch
10. A Blagidze vs Petrosian ½-½40 1945 Final I Category TournamentE40 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3
11. Petrosian vs V Korolkov 1-018 1945 LeningradE10 Queen's Pawn Game
12. Petrosian vs Chachua 1-036 1945 Training TournamentD05 Queen's Pawn Game
13. Aganalian vs Petrosian 0-134 1945 TbilisiA54 Old Indian, Ukrainian Variation, 4.Nf3
14. Petrosian vs Dzaparidze 1-014 1945 TbilisiC36 King's Gambit Accepted, Abbazia Defense
15. Grigoriev vs Petrosian 0-126 1945 TbilisiB00 Uncommon King's Pawn Opening
16. Seceda vs Petrosian 0-157 1945 Tbilisi (Georgia)A49 King's Indian, Fianchetto without c4
17. Petrosian vs N Sorokin 1-039 1945 TbilisiD14 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, Exchange Variation
18. Lolua vs Petrosian ½-½36 1945 TbilisiC34 King's Gambit Accepted
19. Petrosian vs Zeinalli 1-020 1945 Leningrad (Russia)A33 English, Symmetrical
20. Petrosian vs N Grigoriev 1-013 1945 TbilisiB29 Sicilian, Nimzovich-Rubinstein
21. Petrosian vs Kelendzheridze 1-019 1945 Training TournamentC17 French, Winawer, Advance
22. Petrosian vs Y Rudakov 1-032 1945 Leningrad (Russia)D10 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
23. Petrosian vs Mirtsaev 1-041 1945 Final I Category TournamentE00 Queen's Pawn Game
24. Petrosian vs Petrovsky 1-028 1946 Leningrad (Russia)E11 Bogo-Indian Defense
25. K Kalantar vs Petrosian 0-131 1946 LeningradA48 King's Indian
 page 1 of 77; games 1-25 of 1,921  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Petrosian wins | Petrosian loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: Happy birthday, Iron Tigran!!

I learned so much from his games.

Premium Chessgames Member
  RookFile: Petrosian aged better than Fischer, but chess had nothing to do with it. Fischer went crazy, but won everything he played after 1972 - granted that we're not talking about many games.
Jul-29-16  CountryGirl: Petrosianic, you're right, Petrosian was an extremely dangerous player in tactical situations, He usually used his tactical ability to avoid the opponent's plans, but when he unleashed it on his own account he almost always won. As with Capablanca and Karpov, he just disliked speculating.
Jul-29-16  CountryGirl: Petrosian is rightly lauded as a genius of safety, only losing 8% of his games across a very long career. The only player who lost a (fractionally) lower percentage was.....wait for it.... Kasparov. That single stat helps me believe GK was perhaps the greatest of all time.
Premium Chessgames Member
  RookFile: I'm not sure what counts and what doesn't, but a quick look at Capa gave me about 6.5 percent for him.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: The great man. Possibly the greatest ever chess player. The man "for whom, like Smyslov, the chess board has no secrets..." He died on this day 32 years ago! Your games live forever more.
Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: <Possibly the greatest ever chess player. >

I understand how one might say such, but I believe he'd be a tad lonely being in the Pantheon alone.

Luckily, I don't think he is.


Premium Chessgames Member
  brankat: One could come up with some 40-50 names, if not more, covering last 150 years. About equally great.

not much point in splitting hairs.

Premium Chessgames Member
  RookFile: Playing over a book of his best games and learning a lot from him.
Sep-24-16  Howard: Which book ?

Incidentally, there are two volumes available (though out of print) that have ALL of his known games.

Premium Chessgames Member
  parisattack: The Shekhtman set on Petrosian has been reprinted in paperback by the reborn Ishi Press - tho I cannot vouch for quality as I have not seen them.
Sep-24-16  EdZelli: Hard cover Volume 2 of Shekhtman's book
was unavailable for years. They were selling for almost $700 a piece at Amazon. Nice to see that it is re-printed.
Premium Chessgames Member
  parisattack: Indeed, the original HBs were fetching unreal prices. I paid $300 for the set about 10-12 years ago.
Sep-25-16  EdZelli: Tigran's match with Boris in 1966 still fascinates me even after 50 years it was played. Tigran's depth of understanding of positional play took Nimzo's ideology to new levels. Game 7 of the match with Tigran playing black pieces is my favorite chess game of all times. GM Keene believes game 12 Petrosian vs Spassky, 1966 is one of the greatest games ever played!

Beating Spassky in 1966 first looked far fetched (or a miracle) before the match was played. After all, Boris had demolished Tal, Geller and Keres earlier. But looking at individual games of the match one can truly understand Boris' and Gary's comments years later that Tigran's tactical and positional play was phenomenal.

Sep-25-16  ewan14: I do not think he demolished Keres
Premium Chessgames Member
  Ron: Well, I learned something new. This is from the Wikipedia article on the chess publication 64:

< In 1968 it was revamped as a weekly magazine by Alexander Roshal and World Champion Tigran Petrosian. Vasily Smyslov was an assistant editor. Petrosian was editor until 1977 when he was fired after his loss to Viktor Korchnoi in a quarter-final Candidates match.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Quote of the Day

< One must beware of unnecessary excitement. >

-- Petrosian

Apr-03-17  alikudo: <Botvinnik quote: "If Tal sacrifices a piece - take it, If I do, check the variations, and if it is Petrosian - decline the sacrifice.">
Apr-03-17  Petrosianic: I thought the quote was something like "If Petrosian sacrifices a piece, decline it. But if Tal sacrifices a piece go ahead and take it, because maybe he'll sacrifice two or three more, and then who knows?"
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: From Petrosian vs Botvinnik, 1963, there is the following:

<perfidious: <huturowa: Botvinnik: When Tal sacrifices a piece, take it, when Petrosian sacrifices a piece don´t take it.>>

Bridge great Terence Reese and co-author Albert Dormer attributed Botvinnik thus:

<If Tal offers you a pawn, take it.

If Petrosian offers you a pawn, decline it.

If I offer you a pawn, think it over.>

Apr-11-17  blunderclap: petrosian Petrosian, wherefore art thou pEtrosian?
Apr-11-17  blunderclap: systems running accordingly captain
Apr-11-17  blunderclap: Yes Sir, certainly Sir
Apr-11-17  blunderclap: Of course Sir.
Apr-11-17  blunderclap: I understand Sir, I have much to learn.
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