Tigran Petrosian

Tigran Petrosian
Tigran Petrosian 1962.jpg
Tigran Petrosian in 1962
Full nameTigran Vardani Petrosian
CountrySoviet Union
Born(1929-06-17)June 17, 1929
Tiflis, Georgian SSR, Soviet Union
DiedAugust 13, 1984(1984-08-13) (aged 55)
Moscow, Soviet Union
TitleGrandmaster (1952)
World Champion1963–1969
Peak rating2645 (July 1972)

Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian (Russian: Тигран Вартанович Петросян; Armenian: Տիգրան Պետրոսյան; June 17, 1929 – August 13, 1984) was a Soviet Armenian[1] Grandmaster, and World Chess Champion from 1963 to 1969. He was nicknamed "Iron Tigran" due to his almost impenetrable defensive playing style, which emphasized safety above all else.[2][3] Petrosian is credited with popularizing chess in Armenia.[4][5]

Petrosian was a Candidate for the World Chess Championship on eight occasions (1953, 1956, 1959, 1962, 1971, 1974, 1977 and 1980). He won the World Championship in 1963 (against Mikhail Botvinnik), successfully defended it in 1966 (against Boris Spassky), and lost it to Spassky in 1969. Thus he was the defending World Champion or a World Championship Candidate in ten consecutive three-year cycles. He won the Soviet Championship four times (1959, 1961, 1969, and 1975).

Early years

Petrosian was born to Armenian parents on June 17, 1929 in Tiflis, Georgian SSR (modern-day Georgia).[6] As a young boy, Petrosian was an excellent student and enjoyed studying, as did his brother Hmayak and sister Vartoosh. He learned to play chess at the age of 8,[7] though his illiterate father Vartan encouraged him to continue studying, as he thought chess was unlikely to bring his son any success as a career.[8] Petrosian was orphaned during World War II and was forced to sweep streets to earn a living.[6] It was about this time that his hearing began to deteriorate, a problem that afflicted him throughout his life. In a 1969 interview with Time magazine, he recalled:[9]

I started sweeping streets in the middle of the winter and it was horrible. Of course there were no machines then, so we had to do everything by hand. Some of the older men helped me out. I was a weak boy. And I was ashamed of being a street sweeper—that's natural, I suppose. It wasn't so bad in the early morning when the streets were empty, but when it got light and the crowds came out I really hated it. I got sick and missed a year in school. We had a babushka, a sister of my father, and she really saved me. She gave me bread to eat when I was sick and hungry. That's when this trouble with my hearing started. I don't remember how it all happened. Things aren't very clear from that time.

He used his rations to buy Chess Praxis by Danish grandmaster Aron Nimzowitsch, a book which Petrosian later stated had the greatest influence on him as a chess player.[8] He also purchased The Art of Sacrifice in Chess by Rudolf Spielmann. The other player to have had an early effect on Petrosian's chess was José Raúl Capablanca.[8] At age 12 he began training at the Tiflis Palace of Pioneers[7][10] under the tutelage of Archil Ebralidze. Ebralidze was a supporter of Nimzowitsch and Capablanca, and his scientific approach to chess discouraged wild tactics and dubious combinations. As a result, Petrosian developed a repertoire of solid positional openings, such as the Caro–Kann Defence.[8] After training at the Palace of Pioneers for just one year, he defeated visiting Soviet grandmaster Salo Flohr at a simultaneous exhibition.[7][10]

By 1946, Petrosian had earned the title of Candidate Master. In that year alone, he drew against Grandmaster Paul Keres at the Georgian Chess Championship, then moved to Yerevan where he won the Armenian Chess Championship and the USSR Junior Chess Championship. Petrosian earned the title of Master during the 1947 USSR Chess Championship, though he failed to qualify for the finals.[10] He set about to improve his game by studying Nimzowitsch's My System and by moving to Moscow to seek greater competition.[7]

Other Languages
Արեւմտահայերէն: Տիգրան Պետրոսեան
azərbaycanca: Tiqran Petrosyan
български: Тигран Петросян
brezhoneg: Tigran Petrosian
čeština: Tigran Petrosjan
Esperanto: Tigran Petrosjan
Bahasa Indonesia: Tigran Petrosian
Nederlands: Tigran Petrosjan
norsk nynorsk: Tigran Petrosjan
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Tigran Petrosyan
português: Tigran Petrosian
Simple English: Tigran Petrosian
slovenščina: Tigran Petrosjan
српски / srpski: Тигран Петросјан
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Tigran Petrosjan
Türkmençe: Tigran Petrosian
Tiếng Việt: Tigran Petrosian