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Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian
Number of games in database: 1,924
Years covered: 1942 to 1983
Highest rating achieved in database: 2645
Overall record: +693 -157 =1060 (64.0%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games
      Based on games in the database; may be incomplete.
      14 exhibition games, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 King's Indian (117) 
    E92 E81 E80 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 D05 D02
 Queen's Gambit Declined (54) 
    D37 D30 D35 D38 D31
With the Black pieces:
 French Defense (139) 
    C07 C16 C11 C18 C15
 Sicilian (138) 
    B40 B52 B81 B92 B94
 Caro-Kann (84) 
    B17 B11 B14 B18 B10
 King's Indian (72) 
    E67 E95 E81 E63 E62
 French Tarrasch (53) 
    C07 C05 C09 C03
 Nimzo Indian (52) 
    E54 E32 E46 E56 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
   Kasparov vs Petrosian, 1981 0-1
   Petrosian vs Botvinnik, 1963 1-0
   Keres vs Petrosian, 1959 0-1
   Petrosian vs Fischer, 1971 1-0
   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?]
   Curacao Candidates (1962)
   USSR Championship 1961a (1961)
   USSR Championship (1959)
   USSR Championship (1951)
   USSR Championship (1969)
   San Antonio (1972)
   Stockholm Interzonal (1952)
   USSR Championship (1960)
   Bled-Zagreb-Belgrade Candidates (1959)
   Stockholm Interzonal (1962)
   Bled (1961)
   Rio de Janeiro Interzonal (1979)
   Palma de Mallorca (1968)
   Budapest (1952)
   USSR Championship (1957)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Match Petrosian! by amadeus
   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
   N O P Players by fredthebear
   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
   samsloan's favorite games of Petrosian by samsloan
   Petrosian wins miniatures by ughaibu

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). He also advanced to the Fischer - Petrosian Candidates Final (1971) semifinals, but lost, thereby losing the opportunity to qualify to the 1972 championship.

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).

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 1,924  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. Petrosian vs Flohr 1-045 1942 TbilisiA52 Budapest Gambit
2. Petrosian vs Kopelevic 1-024 1942 TbilisiC97 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
3. Petrosian vs A A Smorodsky ½-½40 1944 GEO-chA28 English
4. Petrosian vs V Mikenas 0-141 1944 TbilisiB05 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
5. Petrosian vs Nersesov 1-016 1944 Tbilisi (Georgia)C42 Petrov Defense
6. Bakhtadze vs Petrosian 0-127 1944 Tbilisi (Georgia)A28 English
7. Petrosian vs N Sorokin 1-023 1944 TbilisiD33 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch
8. Petrosian vs N Sorokin 1-039 1945 TbilisiD14 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, Exchange Variation
9. Petrosian vs Kelendzheridze 1-019 1945 Training TournamentC17 French, Winawer, Advance
10. Petrosian vs Y Rudakov 1-032 1945 Leningrad (Russia)D10 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
11. Petrosian vs Dzaparidze 1-014 1945 TbilisiC36 King's Gambit Accepted, Abbazia Defense
12. Petrosian vs Mirtsaev 1-041 1945 Final I Category TournamentE00 Queen's Pawn Game
13. Petrosian vs A Reshko 1-039 1945 Leningrad (Russia)C07 French, Tarrasch
14. Petrosian vs N Grigoriev 1-013 1945 TbilisiB29 Sicilian, Nimzovich-Rubinstein
15. Lolua vs Petrosian ½-½36 1945 TbilisiC34 King's Gambit Accepted
16. A Blagidze vs Petrosian ½-½40 1945 Final I Category TournamentE40 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3
17. Petrosian vs M V Shishov ½-½51 1945 Tbilisi-chE06 Catalan, Closed, 5.Nf3
18. Petrosian vs V Korolkov 1-018 1945 LeningradE10 Queen's Pawn Game
19. Petrosian vs Chachua 1-036 1945 Training TournamentD05 Queen's Pawn Game
20. Seceda vs Petrosian 0-157 1945 Tbilisi (Georgia)A49 King's Indian, Fianchetto without c4
21. Aganalian vs Petrosian 0-134 1945 TbilisiA54 Old Indian, Ukrainian Variation, 4.Nf3
22. Grigoriev vs Petrosian 0-126 1945 TbilisiB00 Uncommon King's Pawn Opening
23. Petrosian vs Zeinalli 1-020 1945 Leningrad (Russia)A33 English, Symmetrical
24. Petrosian vs Petrovsky 1-028 1946 Leningrad (Russia)E11 Bogo-Indian Defense
25. Kasparian vs Petrosian 0-138 1946 ARM-chB11 Caro-Kann, Two Knights, 3...Bg4
 page 1 of 77; games 1-25 of 1,924  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 85 OF 85 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Premium Chessgames Member
  Absentee: Maybe, it just struck me more as a knee-jerk reaction than trolling.
Premium Chessgames Member
  RookFile: Happy Birthday Tigran Petrosian. What a great player you were.
Jun-17-15  HeMateMe: What's he doing, these days?
Jun-17-15  donjova: Playing chess with Tal. Read the biographical data please.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: He died in August 1984 but there are no games here from 1984. Was Tigran ill for the entire year?

What is his last game in this database?

Jun-17-15  rayoflight: <HeMateMe>
Same thing he was doing before birth.
Jun-17-15  rayoflight: "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
Jun-17-15  Howard: In response to Offramp's inquiry, the Niksic 1983 event was Petrosian's last tournament.

It was probably also Larsen's last hurrah, for he finished second place in a very strong tournament, but he probably didn't have any comparable accomplishments after that. He was 48 at the time and well past his prime.

Jun-17-15  Howard: The profile picture has been changed I noticed. Must have happened within the last month or so.

Petrosian, by the way, was 55 years and two months when he died...which is how old I'll be in four months ! But then I'll never be like Petrosian--though sometimes I wish I could have been.

Jun-17-15  HeMateMe: was petrosian a cigarette smoker?
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: Happy birthday, Iron Tigran!
Jun-17-15  A.T PhoneHome: Happy birthday, Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian!!

Nothing that we gain in life comes free of charge; your chess truly epitomized this!

Premium Chessgames Member
  eternaloptimist: I love playing over the games of Petrosian! A lot of ppl think his games are boring but I like his counterpunching style when playing black w/ openings such as the Old Indian. I also like his style b/c it was similar to Karpov's style (prophylactic, concentrated on suffocating his opponent's pieces etc). He was a World Chess Champion so that proves what a great player he was!
Jun-17-15  Mating Net: "It is to Petrosian's advantage that his opponents never know when he is suddenly going to play like Mikhail Tal." That quote by Spassky underscores the complexity of Petrosian.
Premium Chessgames Member
  yiotta: Petrosian was unique in many ways, for example, no one EVER put more mileage on their king, not even Steinitz. As the bio mentions, he advanced the understanding of the positional exchange sac, and despite his cautious nature uncorked some of the most jaw dropping combinations west of Tal. He played a much younger Kasparov 5 times, all as Black, scoring 1 draw, 2 wins, and 2 losses (in the year before he died too young).
Jun-18-15  Petrosianic: <despite his cautious nature uncorked some of the most jaw dropping combinations west of Tal.>

This is a thing that surprises people, unnecessarily. That a cautions player might be combinational. The very simple answer is that Petrosian's combinations were not speculative like Tal's were.

Premium Chessgames Member
  cro777: Max Euwe: "Petrosian is not a tiger that pounces on its prey, but rather a python that smothers its victim."

Dec-15-15  cg999: Well yeah even the great Botvinnik falls because of Tigran
Dec-15-15  EdZelli: The intro above fails to mention a lot of his tournament victories in the 70s. He won first (or shared first) place:

San Antonio 1972
IBM Amsterdam 1973
Soviet World Champion 1975
Varese Interzonal Playoff 1976
Lone Pine 1976
Rio Interzonal 1979

Petrosian also did not lose a single game on his way to meet Botvinnik in 1963 (No loss in 1962).

Jan-20-16  Smyslov57: I think Petrosian is the most underrated and misunderstood of all the chess greats. His games are wonderful for learning chess and improving.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi Smyslov57,

Misunderstood yes by practically everyone. Underrated? Only when someone starts one of them lists of the best ever players.

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: There is no active GM alive today as strong as Petrosian was.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <Smyslov57: I think Petrosian is the most underrated and misunderstood of all the chess greats. His games are wonderful for learning chess and improving.>

I agree. In MGP, Kasparov shows tremendous admiration for Akiba Rubinstein, and recently no less than Boris Gelfand has done the same. Is it possible that a new generation will proclaim their debt to the great Tigran? His influence is enormous.

Another player due for a renaissance in opinion is the great Max Euwe. Vastly underrated.

Mar-22-16  zanzibar: The footnote in the intro is ironically amusing:

<(Petrosian often required a hearing aid during his tournaments)>

since Petrosian is famous for switching his hearing aid off at critical points in a game.

Cue up appropriate anecdote or two here...

Apr-25-16  ewan14: If someone wants some examples of Petrosian playing '' relaxed '' chess there are his losses to Geller and Korchnoi in 1961 / 62 after he had succeeded in the zonal or interzonal

Also confirms he was still friends with Korchnoi

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