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Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian
Number of games in database: 1,923
Years covered: 1942 to 1983
Highest rating achieved in database: 2660

Overall record: +691 -156 =1059 (64.0%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 17 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 (96) 
    A15 A10 A13 A16 A14
 Queen's Indian (78) 
    E12 E14 E19 E17 E15
 Nimzo Indian (77) 
    E41 E40 E46 E55 E54
 Queen's Gambit Declined (66) 
    D37 D30 D35 D38 D31
 Queen's Pawn Game (57) 
    A46 D02 A40 E10 D05
With the Black pieces:
 French Defense (139) 
    C07 C16 C11 C18 C15
 Sicilian (128) 
    B40 B52 B81 B92 B94
 Caro-Kann (77) 
    B18 B17 B11 B14 B12
 King's Indian (73) 
    E67 E95 E81 E63 E60
 Nimzo Indian (57) 
    E54 E32 E58 E46 E56
 French Tarrasch (53) 
    C07 C05 C03 C09
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
   E Terpugov vs Petrosian, 1957 0-1
   Fischer vs Petrosian, 1959 1/2-1/2
   Petrosian vs Fischer, 1971 1-0
   Keres vs Petrosian, 1959 0-1
   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 (1961)
   Stockholm Interzonal (1962)
   Bled-Zagreb-Belgrade Candidates (1959)
   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
   Python Strategy (Petrosian) by Qindarka
   Biggest Heritor of Nimzo by Gottschalk
   Tigran Petrosian's Best Games by KingG
   Veliki majstori saha 27 PETROSJAN (Marovic) by Chessdreamer
   Tigran, Tigran, burning bright by sleepyirv
   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

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 1,923  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Petrosian vs Kopelevic 1-0241942TbilisiC97 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
2. Petrosian vs Flohr 1-0451942TbilisiA52 Budapest Gambit
3. Bakhtadze vs Petrosian 0-1271944Tbilisi (Georgia)A28 English
4. Petrosian vs N Sorokin 1-0231944TbilisiD33 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch
5. Petrosian vs V Mikenas 0-1411944TbilisiB05 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
6. Petrosian vs A A Smorodsky ½-½401944GEO-chA28 English
7. Petrosian vs Nersesov 1-0161944Tbilisi (Georgia)C42 Petrov Defense
8. Grigoriev vs Petrosian 0-1261945TbilisiB00 Uncommon King's Pawn Opening
9. Petrosian vs A Reshko 1-0391945Leningrad (Russia)C07 French, Tarrasch
10. Petrosian vs Kelendzheridze 1-0191945Training TournamentC17 French, Winawer, Advance
11. Petrosian vs V Korolkov 1-0181945LeningradE10 Queen's Pawn Game
12. Petrosian vs N Grigoriev 1-0131945TbilisiB29 Sicilian, Nimzovich-Rubinstein
13. Aganalian vs Petrosian 0-1341945TbilisiA54 Old Indian, Ukrainian Variation, 4.Nf3
14. Seceda vs Petrosian 0-1571945Tbilisi (Georgia)A49 King's Indian, Fianchetto without c4
15. Petrosian vs Dzaparidze 1-0141945TbilisiC36 King's Gambit Accepted, Abbazia Defense
16. Petrosian vs Mirtsaev 1-0411945Final I Category TournamentE00 Queen's Pawn Game
17. Petrosian vs N Sorokin 1-0391945TbilisiD14 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, Exchange Variation
18. Petrosian vs M V Shishov ½-½511945Tbilisi-chE06 Catalan, Closed, 5.Nf3
19. Petrosian vs Zeinalli 1-0201945Leningrad (Russia)A33 English, Symmetrical
20. Lolua vs Petrosian ½-½361945TbilisiC34 King's Gambit Accepted
21. A Blagidze vs Petrosian ½-½401945Final I Category TournamentE40 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3
22. Petrosian vs Chachua 1-0361945Training TournamentD05 Queen's Pawn Game
23. Petrosian vs Y Rudakov 1-0321945Leningrad (Russia)D10 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
24. Petrosian vs Petrovsky 1-0281946Leningrad (Russia)E11 Bogo-Indian Defense
25. Kasparian vs Petrosian 0-1381946ARM-chB11 Caro-Kann, Two Knights, 3...Bg4
 page 1 of 77; games 1-25 of 1,923  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Petrosian wins | Petrosian loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 13 OF 87 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jun-21-05  Hesam7: I am looking for a book by Petrosian which is actually a collection of his articles. I think it is published after his death. Can anyone help?
Jun-21-05  Perkins: I have that book. Kasparov, on the back says "This book is a treasure." Of course, hes a fellow armenian.

Its in a box somewhere, in my closet, I think its called "Petrosian's Legacy". its ok, no better or worse than the nice articles available at ChessCafe.

Play well.

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheAlchemist: Something about Petrosian's wife Rona, who was a very important part of Petrosian's life, an excerpt from a translated article by Alexander Roshal (I hope I wrote it correctly), editor of "64".

She was very respected among all other chess players. There was a witty story about her and Tigran, that Tigran was the master of exchanges, those where he exchanged Bishops for Knights, but Rona was responsible for every other change in his life.

Her Tigr died in August 1984 and for the next 19 years she organized parties for his friends on his birthday. Just a week after the last, 19th, Rona and Tigran were reunited again.

Rona sacrificed his career for her husband. She was a professional English translator, but quit her job immediatly after their marriage. She devoted her entire life to her husband's chess career. And that became her new job.

Rona Yakovljevna was in fact a brilliant psychologist. During Petrosian's match with Spassky a very important game was adjourned and the next day Petrosian missed a win. He just kept thinking, how could he miss a simple win like that. He couldn't be consoled, Roshal just couldn't do it. They split and both went home. Aftera while, the turbed Roshal called Petrosian's home, and the oldest son Misha answered. Roshal asked what was going on, and Misha answered that it was like hell and told Roshal to come quickly.

After 5 minutes or so, Roshal arrived and heard someone shouting: "Where are those damn pills?" When Roshal came in, he saw a terrible scene. The place was a total mess, Tigran was running from room to room and looking for something. In the bedroom, Rona just lay still and her head was covered with a wet towel. She was silently lamenting about a terrible migraine. Tigran was competely out of his mind and when Rona and Roshal finally remained alone for a moment, Roshal complained: "Today everything seems to be going wrong. First Tigran's chess, now your headache..." She silently took off her towel and hissed: "You really don't understand anything." Only then, Roshal understood her "game". She knew too well, that she was the only thing, that could get Tigran's mind off chess. She acted out the migraine prefectly, and of course, Tigran easily won the next game with Spassky.

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheAlchemist: Some writings by Sosonko:

Rona's maiden name was Avinezer andshe was 4 years older than Tigran. She had already an unsuccessful marriage behind her and she had a son, Misha, from her first marriage. Tigran loved Misha like his own son Vartan and Misha too called him as father.

Another famous chess player wanted to marry Rona at the time - Efim Geller. Rona flirted with both of them nad couldn't make up her mind. In 1952, when both players went to Sweden for an interzonal, she was asked about it and she said, she would marry whoever would perform better in the interzonal. Petrosian finished .5 points ahead of Geller and in spite of not winning the tournament, he certainly got the first prize - Rona. He won her beloved wife.

And a story from Sveshnikov:

It was 1977 when he and Petrosian went to a Christmas tournament in Hastings. He explicitly remembered, how caringly and lovingly Rona accompanied Tigran to the airport.

They went shopping on the rest day and Sveshnikov bought a suit and a shirt, while Tigran wanted to buy a mini-tractor for his weekend house, slippers for his wife and toys for the children. He didn't even think about himself. Finally he made up his mind, and bought the kids beautiful sunglasses and for his wife, he bought the supposedly most expensive slippers in England. When Sveshnikov asked him, why he bought those, Petrosian answered: "What do you mean, why? I have only one wife and I love her very deeply!"

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheAlchemist: Oh, and it's beautiful the way the chessboard reflects in his glasses :-)
Jul-02-05  ThunderStorm: Another side of Petrosian that is rarely seen...thanks The Alchemist!
Jul-02-05  SnoopDogg: Wow <TheAlchemist> Please bring us more of those wonderful stories!

I'm not kidding when that almost brought tears to my eyes.

Jul-03-05  LIFE Master AJ: It did - to mine. (sd)
Premium Chessgames Member
  OneArmedScissor: <she would marry whoever would perform better in the interzonal.> Those boys got played!
Jul-04-05  larsenfan: Hi everybody, perhaps you can help me. I am interested at finding books written by Petrosian ( not about him ) and I know that he wrote Petrosian's legacy. The point is that I am spanihs speaker and there is a book whose spanish title is "Ajedrez en la cumbre " by Petrosian ( something like Chess at top or height, something like that). I want to know if both are the same book in different languages or different books. I will appreciate your help, thanks a lot.
Jul-04-05  jamesmaskell: Search amazon...they must have a spanish version of the site. Search for Author Petrosian. Make sure you're looking at the right petrosian mind you.
Jul-14-05  mormonchess: I enjoyed those Petrosian stories too. He was certainly different in style and personality than the serious, machine-like Botvinnik.

Would love to hear more!

Jul-14-05  euripides: <the serious, machine-like Botvinnik.> welcome to the site ! A well-put expression of a frequent view, but I don't believe it. Botvinnik was stranger - more obsessive, sometimes more paranoid and hostile, and sometimes warmer - than this picture. He had a particular liking for Shostakovich's music: and the quality he admired (rightly) was its mischievousness.
Jul-14-05  AlChess: I have recently bought a couple of books about Petrosians games one by Colin Couch "How to defend in chess" and another "Petrosian the Powerful" by Andy Soltis. Good books with bit of bio information about Petrosian and his wonderful games. Do you know that Petrosian beat every world chess Champion from Euwe to Kasparov at some point in their career expect Alekhine who he never played. I don't think there is any other player who was a world champ who can boast of that sort of achievement of beating 8 other world champions. Just checked Botvinnk did 8 as well. My mistake!!!
Jul-19-05  LIFE Master AJ: <AlChess> Good point.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheAlchemist: Sorry to disappoint everybody, but those were all I had. I hope I can find some more. Meanwhile, I have posted some anecdotes about the following players (and I will add some more to the list shortly): Rudolf Spielmann, Adrian Mikhalchishin, Boris Spassky and Ossip Bernstein.

I will add shortly some more anecdotes about Mikhalchishin, Beliavsky, Dorfman and hopefully some others. Until then, it's back to lame puns for me. :-)

Aug-07-05  larsenfan: Hesam 7, the book your are looking for is Petrosian s Legacy, and it is a compendium of his articles, games, has been edited by Editions Erebouni, and I bought it in, it costed around 12 US dollars . Actually is a extremely interesting book, but I warn you the edition is quite bad, thre are plenty of spelling mistakes and a very unclear traducction -sometimes even confussing, nevertheless I should say that english is not my language- all the same, from my point of view it is a very good book, you can learn and enjoy.
Aug-13-05  ARTIN: Petrosian was a huge fan of opera. He particularly liked Verdi and Wagner
Aug-26-05  LIFE Master AJ: Petrosian was a very interesting person, he had a very wide range of hobbies. Like Botvinnik before him, he was not just a great chess player, but also a deep and an original thinker.

And his chess games are virtually unlike any other master who ever lived.

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheAlchemist: Fun trivia:

Petrosian was a big fan of both soccer and ice-hockey club Spartak Moscow, and, later in his career, used to make short draws everytime there was a game on the same day, and went to see it.

Aug-30-05  Resignation Trap: For a more complete picture of Petrosian as a player, I would recommend the two-volume series "The Games of Tigran Petrosian" by Eduard Shekhtman. I bought the set from a friend a few years ago at a bargain I couldn't pass up, and they have since become some of my more prized posessions. For a review of Volume I (1942-1965) go here: .
Aug-30-05  Hesam7: <Resignation Trap> As you said the discussion on Kramnik's page belonged to here. As far as I see you are very lucky my friend! I searched the web for the two volumes you recommended and it is hard to find an online bookstore which sells them.
Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: The two volume games collection is indeed well worth the money, but "Petrosian's Legacy" is best left on a bookshelf gathering dust.
Aug-31-05  ARTIN: I disagree, "Petrosian's Legacy" is a book that teaches how Petrosian thinks and I think every positional player should read it. Of course, it's not for a player who has a rating of 1800. You have to be pretty mature.
Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: <Artin> You are entitled to your opinion. I respect that. But if I had to choose between "Petrosian's Legacy", or Nimzowitsch's "My System", I would choose "My System" everytime. <you have to be pretty mature> What the hell is that supposed to mean? Petro's lectures were not that complicated to understand in spite of the typos, I just think it's instructional value is way overrated for the money I spent in that book.
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