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Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian
Number of games in database: 1,925
Years covered: 1942 to 1983
Highest rating achieved in database: 2660

Overall record: +691 -157 =1060 (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 (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 Gambit Declined (58) 
    D37 D35 D30 D38 D31
 English, 1 c4 c5 (53) 
    A30 A34 A33 A36 A35
With the Black pieces:
 French Defense (139) 
    C07 C16 C11 C15 C18
 Sicilian (138) 
    B40 B52 B81 B92 B94
 Caro-Kann (84) 
    B17 B11 B14 B18 B19
 King's Indian (72) 
    E67 E95 E81 E63 E60
 French Tarrasch (53) 
    C07 C05 C03 C09
 Nimzo Indian (52) 
    E54 E32 E58 E46 E56
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
   E Terpugov vs Petrosian, 1957 0-1
   Fischer vs Petrosian, 1959 1/2-1/2
   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)
   Palma de Mallorca (1969)
   Stockholm Interzonal (1952)
   USSR Championship (1960)
   Bled-Zagreb-Belgrade Candidates (1959)
   Portoroz Interzonal (1958)
   Bled (1961)
   Stockholm Interzonal (1962)
   Palma de Mallorca (1968)
   Zurich Candidates (1953)
   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
   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

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 1,925  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. Petrosian vs Nersesov 1-0161944Tbilisi (Georgia)C42 Petrov Defense
4. Bakhtadze vs Petrosian 0-1271944Tbilisi (Georgia)A28 English
5. Petrosian vs V Mikenas 0-1411944TbilisiB05 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
6. Petrosian vs N Sorokin 1-0231944TbilisiD33 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch
7. Petrosian vs A A Smorodsky ½-½401944GEO-chA28 English
8. A Blagidze vs Petrosian ½-½401945Final I Category TournamentE40 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3
9. Aganalian vs Petrosian 0-1341945TbilisiA54 Old Indian, Ukrainian Variation, 4.Nf3
10. Petrosian vs Dzaparidze 1-0141945TbilisiC36 King's Gambit Accepted, Abbazia Defense
11. Seceda vs Petrosian 0-1571945Tbilisi (Georgia)A49 King's Indian, Fianchetto without c4
12. Petrosian vs Chachua 1-0361945Training TournamentD05 Queen's Pawn Game
13. Petrosian vs N Sorokin 1-0391945TbilisiD14 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, Exchange Variation
14. Lolua vs Petrosian ½-½361945TbilisiC34 King's Gambit Accepted
15. Petrosian vs Zeinalli 1-0201945Leningrad (Russia)A33 English, Symmetrical
16. Grigoriev vs Petrosian 0-1261945TbilisiB00 Uncommon King's Pawn Opening
17. Petrosian vs Y Rudakov 1-0321945Leningrad (Russia)D10 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
18. Petrosian vs N Grigoriev 1-0131945TbilisiB29 Sicilian, Nimzovich-Rubinstein
19. Petrosian vs A Reshko 1-0391945Leningrad (Russia)C07 French, Tarrasch
20. Petrosian vs Mirtsaev 1-0411945Final I Category TournamentE00 Queen's Pawn Game
21. Petrosian vs Kelendzheridze 1-0191945Training TournamentC17 French, Winawer, Advance
22. Petrosian vs V Korolkov 1-0181945LeningradE10 Queen's Pawn Game
23. Petrosian vs M V Shishov ½-½511945Tbilisi-chE06 Catalan, Closed, 5.Nf3
24. Petrosian vs Kasparian 1-0521946Erevan (Armenia)E69 King's Indian, Fianchetto, Classical Main line
25. Kasparian vs Petrosian 0-1541946ARM-ch mB11 Caro-Kann, Two Knights, 3...Bg4
 page 1 of 77; games 1-25 of 1,925  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 87 OF 87 ·  Later Kibitzing>
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.">
Premium Chessgames Member
  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.>

Jun-16-17  ketchuplover: Solemn birthday young man
Jun-16-17  EdZelli: We remember the World Champion Tigran Petrosian on his 88th birthday. One of the best chess players ever.

His defensive style, exchange sacrifices, King walks, .. are still mentioned in today's game analysis.

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: When I discovered Petrosian's games, I tried to emulate his play. One of my favorite players.

Unfortunately, I didn't have his talent.

Premium Chessgames Member
  RcfM: Happy Birthday Champ!

Thank you for your chess!

Jun-16-17 "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."

So...if you don't experience "real delight", then you don't play well?

Jun-17-17  RookFile: I think the simple answer is yes.
Jun-17-17  Howard: Regarding Petrosian's premature death, I recall being quite pleased that both Newsweek and Time magazine both mentioned it, back in 1984.
Jul-26-17  mifralu: Photo: Tigran Petrosian and Fidel Castro - Chess Olympiad 1966 in Havana

Jul-26-17  mifralu: Photo: Petrosian, Tigran URS vs
Jimenez Zerquera, Eleazar CUB
Havana, Chess Olympiad 1966

...and the game

Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: Does anyone know the cause of death for Petrosian?

55 is too young to go, I think.

Jul-29-17  Howard: He died of cancer, as I recall. He'd been ill for some time, as indicated by the fact that he was conspicuously absent in the USSR-Rest of World match, which took place just a couple months before he died.

Yes, 55 was a young age in which to go. Just ask Tal--he, too, was 55.

Premium Chessgames Member
  diagonal: Gallery of beautiful and rare photos from the life and chess of Tigran Petrosian:

(Official website from the Petrosian Memorial (Tashir) at Moscow in November 2014, you have to click on each of the small circles at the bottom of the main portrait picture automatically presented)

Aug-10-17  ughaibu: Petrosian had the technique of Capablanca and the intuition of Schlechter - Tal. That's a surprise.
Aug-11-17  EdZelli: "During tournament analysis sessions players all speak at once, but whenever Petrosian said anything, everyone would shut up and listen." – Yasser Seirawan

This is perhaps from Seirawan's observation at Lone Pine in 1970's.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Apparently he was born in the village of Mulki in the Aparan region of Armenia.

That village is now known as Kayk (in Armenian, Կայք) and it is in the Aragatsotn Province of Armenia.

Tigran's family moved to Georgia when he was 2.

Oct-22-17  MadFaqirOfSwat: Interesting articles
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Poor Tigran certainly died much too young. If any of you have read <Cancer Ward> By Solzhenitsyn you'll be aware that Soviet scientists were ahead of the west in curing cancer. Solzhenitsyn was cured.

I have said before that if Petrosian had lived and stayed healthy I am certain he would have out-Smysloved Smyslov and been rattling the Candidates' cages aged 64+. He had that special chess nous that is everlasting.

Nov-03-17  Howard: It's been noted about Petrosian that he was either a Candidate or the WC for TEN consecutive cycles (1952-1980). That record has never been surpassed.

When he played in the 1982 interzonal at Las Palmas, he came fairly close to qualifying, but he didn't quite make it that time.

On a final note, I still remember that his death was briefly noted in both Time and Newsweek magazines. That actually surprised me a bit--just how many Americans back in '84 would have known who the hell he was?

But, I was more than pleased that his passing was noted!

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