Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian
Number of games in database: 1,939
Years covered: 1942 to 1983
Highest rating achieved in database: 2645
Overall record: +697 -159 =1072 (64.0%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games
      Based on games in the database; may be incomplete.
      11 exhibition games, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 King's Indian (121) 
    E92 E81 E80 E91 E60
 English (94) 
    A15 A13 A16 A10 A14
 Queen's Indian (78) 
    E12 E14 E19 E17 E15
 Nimzo Indian (77) 
    E41 E40 E46 E55 E54
 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 (146) 
    C07 C16 C11 C18 C15
 Sicilian (139) 
    B40 B52 B81 B92 B94
 Caro-Kann (85) 
    B17 B11 B14 B18 B10
 King's Indian (72) 
    E94 E67 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
   Fischer vs Petrosian, 1959 1/2-1/2
   Petrosian vs Fischer, 1971 1-0
   E Terpugov vs Petrosian, 1957 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 (1951)
   Stockholm Interzonal (1952)
   USSR Championship (1957)
   Bled-Zagreb-Belgrade Candidates (1959)
   USSR Championship (1959)
   USSR Championship (1960)
   Bled (1961)
   USSR Championship 1961a (1961)
   Curacao Candidates (1962)
   Stockholm Interzonal (1962)
   Palma de Mallorca (1968)
   USSR Championship (1969)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Match Petrosian! by amadeus
   Tigran, Tigran, burning bright by sleepyirv
   Road to the Championship - Tigran Petrosian by suenteus po 147
   Tigran Petrosian's Best Games by KingG
   Guess-the-Move Chess: 1960-1979 (Part 3) by Anatoly21
   Exchange sacs - 1 by obrit
   Petrosian v. the Elite by refutor
   P.H.Clarke: Petrosian's Best games by setuhanu01
   samsloan's favorite games of Petrosian by samsloan
   Crouching Tigran by Gregor Samsa Mendel
   Petrosian wins miniatures by ughaibu
   fav Smyslov & Petrosian games by guoduke
   Endgames World champions - part three by Alenrama

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian
Search Google for Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian

(born Jun-17-1929, died Aug-13-1984) Georgia (citizen of 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.

An avid student of Aron Nimzowitsch 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 Match (1971) semifinals, but lost the opportunity to qualify to the 1972 championship.

National Championships: Petrosian 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

Wikipedia article: Tigran Petrosian

 page 1 of 78; games 1-25 of 1,939  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 V Mikenas 0-141 1944 TbilisiB05 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
4. Petrosian vs Nersesov 1-016 1944 Tbilisi (Georgia)C42 Petrov Defense
5. Bakhtadze vs Petrosian 0-127 1944 Tbilisi (Georgia)A28 English
6. Petrosian vs A A Smorodsky ½-½40 1944 GEO-chA28 English
7. Petrosian vs N Sorokin 1-023 1944 TbilisiD33 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch
8. A Blagidze vs Petrosian ½-½40 1945 Final I Category TournamentE40 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3
9. Petrosian vs Y Rudakov 1-032 1945 Leningrad (Russia)D10 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
10. Petrosian vs M Shishov  ½-½51 1945 Tbilisi-chE06 Catalan, Closed, 5.Nf3
11. Petrosian vs N Grigoriev 1-013 1945 TbilisiB29 Sicilian, Nimzovich-Rubinstein
12. Petrosian vs Chachua 1-036 1945 Training TournamentD05 Queen's Pawn Game
13. Petrosian vs A Reshko 1-039 1945 Leningrad (Russia)C07 French, Tarrasch
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. Petrosian vs V Korolkov 1-018 1945 LeningradE10 Queen's Pawn Game
17. Lolua vs Petrosian ½-½36 1945 TbilisiC34 King's Gambit Accepted
18. Seceda vs Petrosian 0-157 1945 Tbilisi (Georgia)A49 King's Indian, Fianchetto without c4
19. Petrosian vs Kelendzheridze 1-019 1945 Training TournamentC17 French, Winawer, Advance
20. Aganalian vs Petrosian 0-134 1945 TbilisiA54 Old Indian, Ukrainian Variation, 4.Nf3
21. Petrosian vs Mirtsaev 1-041 1945 Final I Category TournamentE00 Queen's Pawn Game
22. Petrosian vs Zeinalli 1-020 1945 Leningrad (Russia)A33 English, Symmetrical
23. Petrosian vs N Sorokin 1-039 1945 TbilisiD14 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, Exchange Variation
24. Petrosian vs Kasparian 1-042 1946 ErevanA53 Old Indian
25. Petrosian vs Y Kotkov 1-020 1946 Leningrad (Russia)E10 Queen's Pawn Game
 page 1 of 78; games 1-25 of 1,939  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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Feb-15-13  MTuraga: Petrosian was a deep player who baffled opponents. He was criticized for his many draws but even strong opponents like Botvinnik and Tal failed to grasp his contribution to chess. He was the pioneer of defensive art of chess who was a victim of a hostile press during his lifetime. Petrosian's exploits were brought into sharp focus during the official Petrosian year - 2004, the 75th anniversary of his birth. A re-evaluation of his games has revealed that his legacy has been seriously underestimated and he is now regarded as one of the most sophisticated World Champions. His methods are now taught in chess schools in Russia.

He won the following tournaments after he became World Champion: 1964 - 1st Buenos Aires; 1st Moscow Unions Ch; 1966 - 1st Moscow GM tournament; 1968 - 1st Moscow Ch; Team & individual gold medal Lugano Olympiad; 1972 - 1st San Antonio GM tournament; 1973 - 1st Las Palmas; 1st IBM Amsterdam; 1975 - 1st Soviet Ch. 1976, 1st Lone Pine; 1977 - eliminated from candidates by Korchnoi.

Unlike Fischer, Petrosian keenly felt his duty to his club, country, fans and the PUBLIC, and carried on playing chess until he dropped. His humble beginnings and his ultimate achievements are awesome and inspiring to anyone who wishes to be successful in life.

Feb-15-13  IndigoViolet: Oxford Companion (2nd ed.): <During his championship years Petrosyan competed in seven strong international tournaments; he played as a champion should at Los Angeles 1963, scoring +4 =9 -1 to tie with Keres for first place, but his only other first place was at Buenos Aires, when he scored +8 =9 and again shared victory with Keres.>
Premium Chessgames Member
  DrNyet: In 79 pages of kibitzing in this forum perhaps this has been said before, but one measure of Petrosian's strength is this: In the FIDE controlled world championship cycle (i.e. after Alekhine's death) Petrosian was the first to successfully defend his title by actually *winning* against the next challenger (defeating Spassky in 1966).

Botvinnik never actually won a title match other than rematches. He successfully "defended" his title by drawing his 1951 and 1954 matches and regained the title twice after losing it. Of course by the time Petrosian won the title in 1963 the right to a rematch was no longer available to Botvinnik. How different chess history might have been if the champion had not had a right to a rematch from 1951-1961.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jim Bartle: "Botvinnik never actually won a title match other than rematches. He successfully "defended" his title by drawing his 1951 and 1954 matches and regained the title twice after losing it."

I believe Botvinnik in all his world championship matches actually had a slightly negative score.

Apr-06-13  The Rocket: Keres vs Petrosian, 1959

He may not be the strongest world champion, but this game of his was a very determined and systematic win as black. One of the all time great 0-1 wins, in my opinion.

Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: Petrosian btw is the only world champion to have played in all WC cycles (Interzonal or its equivalents or higher) since his first qualification for a WC cycle. That is, he competed in cycles which ended in WC matches of 1954, 1957, 1960, 1963, 1966, 1969, 1972, 1975, 1978, 1981 and 1984.

Tal came close in this nomination, be he had to leave out one cycle - the one which led to the 1972 match - for health reasons.

Premium Chessgames Member
  brankat: R.I.P. Tigran the Champ.
Jun-17-13  EdZelli: We remember the World Champion today. He would have been 84 today. Gone too early. Rest in Peace ...
Jun-17-13  KlingonBorgTatar: Happy Birthday Champ. You are always included in my daily prayers . Thanks for teaching us that by taking draws , we win a half point and not lose a half point. There is no honor lost in remis. Your Caro-Kann game vs Duckstein* will be forever etched in my heart. Happy B-day and RIP.

*And many more!! Kasparov - Petrosian, Moscow 1981 and Tilburg1981, Olafssson - Petrosian Bled 1961, Petrosian-Cardoso Portorozh 1958, Fischer-Petrosian 13th round Curacao 1962, Andersen -Petrosian Copenhagen 1969, etc etc etc. : D

Premium Chessgames Member
  wordfunph: "I remember a joke about Petrosian: after a loss, he was said to draw five or six games until he felt like moving a piece past the third rank again."

- GMC Jonathan Berry

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: Game Collection: Petrosian vs the World Champions Decisive Games
Nov-29-13  Chessman1504: Petrosian, the Stupendous Tactician. Petrosian is often stereotyped as a positional player who disliked complications, but I know Spassky begged to differ and said he was foremost a tactician. Now, I want to know exactly what this means, because I've also heard that tactics and calculation are not the same thing, which confuses a patzer like me. Therefore, my question is: When people describe Petrosian as a tactician, do they mean to praise his prowess at calculating deep variations or are they praising his ability to find tactical ideas that increase his positional foothold or both? I ask this because Kramnik said positional play was not necessarily his cup of tea, as opposed to say Smyslov. I also want games to show Petrosian at his tactical best in both calculating deep variations and finding neat ideas to increase his positional hold. Thanks
Dec-20-13  EdZelli: To CG, Please add the 1973 IBM International tournament in Amsterdam to Petrosian's winning list under "Classical Tournaments" up above.
Dec-31-13  SChesshevsky: <Chessman1504: Petrosian, the Stupendous Tactician. Petrosian is often stereotyped as a positional player who disliked complications, but I know Spassky begged to differ and said he was foremost a tactician.>

Petrosian vs Suetin, 1958

Great chess players usually excel at both position and tactics, I'm not sure one can get very far without getting a feel for the interaction between the two. This game's a great example how even early in his career Petrosian was very skillful.

His getting the N to e3 and 17.f3 shows the intent on controlling the White squares which positionally/strategically keeps Black's pawns on dark squares which in the end game is a weakness as long as White keeps his QB. White square control also restricts the undeveloped Black QB which gives White time to take advantage of the semi open c-file where Black is bound by d5, a positional plus.

The tactical part is how to expolit the advantages. A lot of that has to do with timing. As Suetin wrote in his notes, around move 17-20 Petrosian plays energetically to get to them before they can be defended.

The way it played out, and not by accident, by move 24...Qd4, Petrosian through his tactics from 17.. to 24.. probably produced a strategically won game. White has invaded with the Rook, Blacks got the iso stuck on a dark square with very weak pawns on the b & h file. From this position Petrosian has to figure tactically how to best take advantage which he does fairly easily.

I thought a great example of how position/strategy and tactics/combinations work together. As Fischer said in My 60 Memorable Games, something like tactics flow from a superior position.

Jan-14-14  SeanAzarin: The most impressive thing about Petrosian's play is his high number of wins compared to his number of losses. It's easy, by playing drawish variations, to generate a high number of non-losses, but very hard to avoid losses AND still generate a high number of wins. If you play "to win or lose" you open up the chance you will lose. Petrosian had more than 4 times as many wins as he did losses.
Mar-07-14  RookFile: This guy played heavyweights his whole career, spanning from Botvinnik to Kasparov, and was world champion for most of the 1960's. I believe his strength is greatly underestimated.
Mar-23-14  Raymond Ouyang: Petrosian is my favorite chess-player. His idea of not losing to stronger opponents appeals to me.
Apr-18-14  Conrad93: His game vs Duckstein is not in the database...
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: <Conrad> Try A Dueckstein vs Petrosian, 1962 and A Dueckstein vs Petrosian, 1968
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: < Raymond Ouyang: Petrosian is my favorite chess-player. His idea of not losing to stronger opponents appeals to me.¬>

If they couldn't beat him they weren't stronger.

Apr-20-14  Conrad93: That Duckstein game is one of my favorites.
Apr-20-14  Conrad93: For some reason I wasn't able to Google it, which is odd.
Apr-20-14  N0B0DY: Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.
Apr-20-14  Conrad93: I searched "Duckstein vs. Petrosian" on Google and got nothing except some video analysis.

I also tried the ChessGames website, so how did I fail exactly?

Apr-21-14  N0B0DY: So someone didn't get the google memo about their newly implemented anti-trolling algos?
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