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Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian
Number of games in database: 1,932
Years covered: 1942 to 1983
Highest rating achieved in database: 2660

Overall record: +694 -158 =1063 (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 (118) 
    E92 E81 E80 E91 E60
 English (97) 
    A15 A13 A10 A16 A14
 Queen's Indian (78) 
    E12 E14 E19 E17 E15
 Nimzo Indian (77) 
    E41 E40 E55 E46 E53
 Queen's Gambit Declined (67) 
    D37 D30 D35 D31 D38
 Queen's Pawn Game (57) 
    A46 D02 A40 E10 D05
With the Black pieces:
 French Defense (139) 
    C07 C16 C11 C18 C15
 Sicilian (128) 
    B81 B52 B40 B92 B94
 Caro-Kann (78) 
    B18 B17 B11 B14 B12
 King's Indian (74) 
    E67 E81 E95 E63 E60
 Nimzo Indian (58) 
    E54 E32 E58 E56 E46
 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
   Fischer vs Petrosian, 1959 1/2-1/2
   Petrosian vs Fischer, 1971 1-0
   Keres vs Petrosian, 1959 0-1
   E Terpugov vs Petrosian, 1957 0-1
   Petrosian vs Smyslov, 1961 1-0

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

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   USSR Championship 1961a (1961)
   USSR Championship (1959)
   Curacao Candidates (1962)
   USSR Championship (1951)
   USSR Championship (1969)
   Biel Interzonal (1976)
   USSR Championship (1960)
   Stockholm Interzonal (1952)
   Bled (1961)
   Bled-Zagreb-Belgrade Candidates (1959)
   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
   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 rbaglini
   Petrosian v. the Elite by refutor
   P.H.Clarke: Petrosian's Best games by setuhanu01

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 78; games 1-25 of 1,932  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 V Mikenas 0-1411944TbilisiB05 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
4. Petrosian vs N Sorokin 1-0231944TbilisiD33 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch
5. Petrosian vs A A Smorodsky ½-½401944GEO-chA28 English
6. Petrosian vs Nersesov 1-0161944GEO-chC42 Petrov Defense
7. Bakhtadze vs Petrosian 0-1271944GEO-chA28 English
8. Petrosian vs M V Shishov ½-½511945Tbilisi-chE06 Catalan, Closed, 5.Nf3
9. Petrosian vs V Korolkov 1-0181945LeningradE10 Queen's Pawn Game
10. Petrosian vs Chachua 1-0361945Training TournamentD05 Queen's Pawn Game
11. Aganalian vs Petrosian 0-1341945TbilisiA54 Old Indian, Ukrainian Variation, 4.Nf3
12. Seceda vs Petrosian 0-1571945TbilisiA49 King's Indian, Fianchetto without c4
13. Grigoriev vs Petrosian 0-1261945TbilisiB00 Uncommon King's Pawn Opening
14. Petrosian vs Dzaparidze 1-0141945TbilisiC36 King's Gambit Accepted, Abbazia Defense
15. Petrosian vs N Sorokin 1-0391945TbilisiD14 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, Exchange Variation
16. Petrosian vs A Arutiunov 1-0411945GEO-chD51 Queen's Gambit Declined
17. Petrosian vs Zeinalli 1-0201945LeningradA33 English, Symmetrical
18. Petrosian vs Kelendzheridze 1-0191945Training TournamentC17 French, Winawer, Advance
19. Lolua vs Petrosian ½-½361945TbilisiC34 King's Gambit Accepted
20. Petrosian vs N Grigoriev 1-0131945TbilisiB29 Sicilian, Nimzovich-Rubinstein
21. Petrosian vs Y Rudakov 1-0321945LeningradD10 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
22. Petrosian vs Mirtsaev 1-0411945Final I Category TournamentE00 Queen's Pawn Game
23. Petrosian vs A Reshko 1-0391945LeningradC07 French, Tarrasch
24. A Blagidze vs Petrosian ½-½401945Final I Category TournamentE40 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3
25. Petrosian vs Kasparian  ½-½431946ARM-ch mC71 Ruy Lopez
 page 1 of 78; games 1-25 of 1,932  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
  alexmagnus: Two World champions died at 53, two at 55, two at 64, one at 72, one at 80, one at 83 and one at 89. For a median of 64 and average of 67, if I didn't miscalculate.
Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: Steinitz, 64, heart attack
Lasker, 72, renal infection
Capablanca, 53, cerebral hemmorrhage
Alekhine, 53, asphyxia
Euwe, 80, heart attack
Botvinnik, 83, pancreatic cancer
Smyslov, 89, heart failure
Tal, 55, upper gastrointestinal bleeding
Petrosian, 55, stomach cancer
Fischer, 64, renal failure
Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: Hemorrhage *
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: When I said 54/55 I meant to include the Gregorian calendar, so that's 53 as well.

But I'm not just talking about World Champions! I mean all strong players represented at chessgames, like the great Daniel Yarnton Mills.

Premium Chessgames Member
  andrewjsacks: Happy birthday to a worthy World Champion. We thank you for visiting and playing in the U.S. more than once.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Diocletian: Tigran Petrosian. Prettiest name among the champions.
Jun-17-18  Brain Gremlin: If Fischer hadn't walked out of the Sousse Interzonal in '67 he could have been the challenger instead of Spassky. I think Petrosian vs Fischer in '69 would have been a much more competitive match than Spassky vs Fischer in '72.
Jun-17-18  ughaibu: Brain Gremlin: What's your argument for the implicit claim that Fischer would've beaten Spassky in the 1968 candidates?
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Brain Gremlin: If Fischer hadn't walked out of the Sousse Interzonal in '67 he could have been the challenger instead of Spassky....>

Could have, yes; but by no means is it clear that Fischer would have, though. Spassky was on top form throughout that cycle and showed his class convincingly in demolishing Korchnoi in the final.

Jun-17-18  ewan14: Spassky was probably extremely tired by the 1966 match due to the number of games he had to play to get there

And no pre arranged draws

Jun-17-18  ewan14: Fischer did play Petrosian in 1970
Premium Chessgames Member
  PhilFeeley: Missing this game. I only found it covered partially in the book the Nimzo-Indian Move by Move by John Emms, and the full score in Petrosian Move by Move by Thomas Engqvist:

V.Simagin-T.Petrosian, Moscow Championship 1950

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 a3 4.Bxc3+ 5 bxc3 Nc6 6 f3 b6 7 e4 Ba6 8 Bg5 Na5 9 e5 h6 10 Bh4 g5 11 Bf2 Nh5 12. h4 f5 13 exf6 Qxf6 14 c5 Bxf1 15 Kf1 g4 16 Qd3 0-0 17 Re1 Nf4 18 Qc2 Nc4 19 g3 Qf5 20 Rc1 21 Qxd3 Nxd3 22 Rd1 Ndb2 23 Ra1 gxf3 24 Nh3 bxc5 25 Kg1 Nd3 26 Kh2 Rab8 27 Ra2 Rb3 28 dxc5 e5 29 g4 e4 30 g5 e3 31 gxh6 exf2 32 Nxf2 Nxf2 33 Rxf2 Kh7 34 Rd1 Rf7 35 c6 d6 36 Rd3 Rb2 37 Kg3 Rxf2 38 Kxf2 Ne5 39 Rd4 Nxc6 40 Ra4 Kxh6 0-1

None of the big databases had it (Megadatabase, Hirarcs) Weird.

Jul-24-18  Granny O Doul: Tigran Petrosian = "RATING IS NEAR TOP".


Aug-10-18  Howard: It's worth noting that Petrosian died 34 years ago this Monday (August 13). I was living in Wisconsin at the time, and still remember rather vividly seeing it in the paper.

One thing I thought was actually rather touching was that both Newsweek and Time magazines, also noted this death! How many Americans would have recognized Petrosian's name?! But, I was more than pleased that they gave notice of his premature passing, at 55.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Diademas: Love the picture.

Just how you expect a Hero of the Soviet Union to look like.

Apr-03-19  Caissanist: From Jeremy Silman's weekly column (, a nice quote from Petrosian from a 50th birthday interview on how he dealt with aging:

<Q: There is a widely-held opinion that the only players that enjoy competitive longevity are those who base their play not on the calculation of concrete variations but on positional understanding. In short, their play is founded on general positional considerations. Such a method allows a player to expend less energy, and hence to withstand better the tension of a tournament game. Is this true?

A: I do not share this point of view. Positional understanding is indeed a sign of the great practical strength of a player. But with the years this skill also becomes blunted. It must be constantly stimulated and modernized; in other words a player must work on chess art and analyze.

But on positional understanding alone you will not go far. Without sharp tactical vision there is no chance of success. But as a player grows older his calculating capacity is markedly reduced, and he has somehow to compensate for this deficiency. Why did Botvinnik retain for so long his great fighting ability? Because he was able to recognize this irreversible process earlier than others and to ‘reprogram’ himself. In what way? In the same way as I am doing now.

Although I have never been assigned to the category of ‘chess calculators,' in my youth I used to work out at the board an enormous amount of variations. I used to calculate them quite quickly and quite deeply. Today too I can calculate deeply and well, only not for five hours at a stretch. I can now switch on my ‘calculating apparatus’ at full power only once or twice during the course of a game. Therefore I try to choose my openings and build up my play so that there is no need to analyze variations move after move. But if at a critical moment such a necessity suddenly arises, I can cope with this no worse than I used to.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  Pyrandus: He was the Greatest "Defending Style" Player of all Time?
Jun-17-19  SaitamaSeason2: <Pyrandus> yes of course, but he was more than that
Jun-17-19  gars: A truly great player. His games will last forever. Happy Birthday, Grandmaster!
Premium Chessgames Member
  gezafan: I read somewhere that one of the books that influenced Petrosian was Rudolf Spielman's The Art of Sacrifice.

I'm not surprised at this. For a player with a "boring" reputation he sure sacrificed a lot!

Aug-12-19  Howard: Petrosian left us 35 years ago, as of tomorrow (August 13).
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: <His overall performance in Olympiad play was +78 =50 −1>

Very impressive! very.

Sep-09-19  Howard: And his one loss in the Olympiads was to Hubner, at the 1972 one. He lost on time, and claimed that the clock was defective.
Sep-09-19  Parachessus: There was an old guy who would come into my local post office years ago to check his P.O. Box and he looked so much like Petrosian I would think "Great to see you again, Tigran!" whenever I saw him.
Premium Chessgames Member
  gezafan: <Parachessus: There was an old guy who would come into my local post office years ago to check his P.O. Box and he looked so much like Petrosian I would think "Great to see you again, Tigran!" whenever I saw him.>

Maybe Petrosian, like Elvis, was still alive...

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