|Birth Day:||June 17, 1929|
|Death Date:||Aug 13, 1984 (age 55)|
|Height:||in centimeters - N/A|
|Weight:||in kg - N/A|
As per our current Database, Tigran Petrosian died on Aug 13, 1984 (age 55).
He began formal chess training when he was 12 years old.
Petrosian was born to Armenian parents on June 17, 1929, in Tiflis, Georgian SSR (modern-day Georgia). 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, 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. Petrosian was orphaned during World War II and was forced to sweep streets to earn a living. 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:
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. He set about to improve his game by studying Nimzowitsch's My System and by moving to Moscow to seek greater competition.
After moving to Moscow in 1949, Petrosian's career as a chess player advanced rapidly and his results in Soviet events steadily improved. He placed second in the 1951 Soviet Championship, thereby earning the title of international master. It was in this tournament that Petrosian faced world champion Botvinnik for the first time. Playing White, after obtaining a slightly inferior position from the opening, he defended through two adjournments and eleven total hours of play to obtain a draw. Petrosian's result in this event qualified him for the Interzonal the following year in Stockholm. He earned the title of Grandmaster by coming in second in the Stockholm tournament, and qualified for the 1953 Candidates Tournament.
In 1952, Petrosian married Rona Yakovlevna (née Avinezer, 1923–2005), a Russian Jew born in Kyiv, Ukraine. A graduate of the Moscow Institute of Foreign Languages, she was an English teacher and interpreter. She is buried at the Jewish section of the Vostryakovsky cemetery in Moscow. They had two sons: Vartan and Mikhail. The latter was Rona's son from the first marriage.
Petrosian placed fifth in the 1953 Candidates Tournament, a result which marked the beginning of a stagnant period in his career. He seemed content drawing against weaker players and maintaining his title of Grandmaster rather than improving his chess or making an attempt at becoming World Champion. This attitude was illustrated by his result in the 1955 USSR Championship: out of 19 games played, Petrosian was undefeated, but won only four games and drew the rest, with each of the draws lasting twenty moves or less. Although his consistent playing ensured decent tournament results, it was looked down upon by the public and by Soviet chess media and authorities. Near the end of the event, journalist Vasily Panov wrote the following comment about the tournament contenders: "Real chances of victory, besides Botvinnik and Smyslov, up to round 15, are held by Geller, Spassky and Taimanov. I deliberately exclude Petrosian from the group, since from the very first rounds the latter has made it clear that he is playing for an easier, but also honourable conquest—a place in the interzonal quartet."
One of Petrosian's most famous examples of the positional exchange sacrifice is from his game against Samuel Reshevsky in Zurich 1953 (see diagram). Reshevsky, as White, appears to have an advantage due to his strong pawn centre, which may become mobile after Bf3 and d4–d5. Petrosian realized he was in a difficult position because of the passive placement of his pieces, relegated to defensive roles. He further understood that White might also advance on the kingside with h2–h4–h5, provoking weaknesses that would make it more difficult to defend later on. Faced with these threats, Petrosian devised a plan to maneuver his knight to the square d5, where it would be prominently placed in the centre, and blockade the advance of White's pawns.
This period of complacency ended with the 1957 USSR Championship, where out of 21 games played, Petrosian won seven, lost four, and drew the remaining 10. Although this result was only good enough for seventh place in a field of 22 competitors, his more ambitious approach to tournament play was met with great appreciation from the Soviet chess community. He went on to win his first USSR Championship in 1959, and later that year in the Candidates Tournament he defeated Paul Keres with a display of his often-overlooked tactical abilities. Petrosian was awarded the title of Master of Sport of the USSR in 1960, and won a second Soviet title in 1961. His excellent playing continued through 1962 when he qualified for the Candidates Tournament for what would be his first World Championship match.
After playing in the 1962 Interzonal in Stockholm, Petrosian qualified for the Candidates Tournament in Curaçao along with Pal Benko, Miroslav Filip, Bobby Fischer, Efim Geller, Paul Keres, Viktor Korchnoi, and Mikhail Tal. Petrosian, representing the Soviet Union, won the tournament with a final score of 17½ points, followed by fellow Soviets Geller and Keres each with 17 points and the American Fischer with 14. Fischer later accused the Soviet players of arranging draws and having "ganged up" on him to prevent him from winning the tournament. As evidence for this claim, he noted that all 12 games played between Petrosian, Geller, and Keres were draws. Statisticians pointed out that when playing against each other, these Soviet competitors averaged 19 moves per game, as opposed to 39.5 moves when playing against other competitors. Although responses to Fischer's allegations were mixed, FIDE later adjusted the rules and format to try to prevent future collusion in the Candidates matches.
Petrosian was a conservative, cautious, and highly defensive chess player who was strongly influenced by Aron Nimzowitsch's idea of prophylaxis. He made more effort to prevent his opponent's offensive capabilities than he did to make use of his own. He very rarely went on the offensive unless he felt his position was completely secure. He usually won by playing consistently until his aggressive opponent made a mistake, securing the win by capitalizing upon this mistake without revealing any weaknesses of his own. This style of play often led to draws, especially against other players who preferred to counterattack. Nonetheless, his patience and mastery of defence made him extremely difficult to beat. He was undefeated at the 1952 and 1955 Interzonals, and in 1962 he did not lose a single tournament game. Petrosian's consistent ability to avoid defeat earned him the nickname "Iron Tigran". He was considered to be the hardest player to beat in the history of chess by the authors of a 2004 book.
In 1966, three years after Petrosian had earned the title of World Chess Champion, he was challenged by Boris Spassky. Petrosian defended his title by winning rather than drawing the match, a feat that had not been accomplished since Alexander Alekhine defeated Efim Bogoljubov in the 1934 World Championship. However, Spassky would defeat Efim Geller, Bent Larsen, and Viktor Korchnoi in the next candidates cycle, earning a rematch with Petrosian, in Moscow in 1969. Spassky won the match by 12½–10½.
Another consequence of Petrosian's style of play was that he did not score many victories, which in turn meant he seldom won tournaments even though he often finished 2nd or 3rd. However, his style was extremely effective in matches. Petrosian could also occasionally play in an attacking, sacrificial style. In his 1966 match with Spassky, he won Game 7 and Game 10 this way. Boris Spassky subsequently stated: "It is to Petrosian's advantage that his opponents never know when he is suddenly going to play like Mikhail Tal." (Tal was known as the most aggressive attacker of his era.)
Petrosian was partially deaf and wore a hearing aid during his matches, which sometimes led to strange situations. On one occasion he offered a draw to Svetozar Gligorić, which Gligorić initially refused in surprise, but then changed his mind in a few seconds and re-offered the draw. However, Petrosian did not even respond, instead went ahead and won the game. As it turned out, he switched off his hearing aid, and did not hear when Gligorić re-offered the draw. In 1971, he played a candidates match against Robert Hübner in a noisy area in Seville, which did not disturb him, but frustrated Hübner so much that he finally withdrew from the match.
Along with a number of other Soviet chess champions, he signed a petition condemning the actions of the defector Viktor Korchnoi in 1976. It was the continuation of a bitter feud between the two, dating back at least to their 1974 Candidates semifinal match in which Petrosian withdrew after five games while trailing 3½–1½ (+3−1=1). His match with Korchnoi in 1977 saw the two former colleagues refuse to shake hands or speak to each other. They even demanded separate eating and toilet facilities. Petrosian went on to lose the match and was subsequently fired as editor of Russia's largest chess magazine, 64. His detractors condemned his reluctance to attack and some put it down to a lack of courage. At this point, however, Botvinnik spoke out on his behalf, stating that he only attacked when he felt secure and his greatest strength was in defence.
Some of his late successes included victories at Lone Pine 1976 and in the 1979 Paul Keres Memorial tournament in Tallinn (12/16 without a loss, ahead of Tal, Bronstein, and others). He shared first place (with Portisch and Hübner) in the Rio de Janeiro Interzonal the same year, and won second place in Tilburg in 1981, half a point behind the winner Beliavsky. It was here that he played his last famous victory, a miraculous escape against the young Garry Kasparov.
The Queen's Indian Defence also has a variation developed by Petrosian: 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.a3, with the idea of preventing ...Bb4+. This system received much attention in 1980 when it was used by the young Garry Kasparov to defeat several grandmasters. Today the Petrosian Variation is still considered the most pressing variation, with the greatest score in Master games.
Petrosian died of stomach cancer on August 13, 1984, in Moscow and is buried in the Moscow Armenian Cemetery.
In 1987, World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov unveiled a memorial at Petrosian's grave which depicts the laurel wreath of World Champion and an image contained within a crown of the sun shining above the twin peaks of Mount Ararat – the national symbol of Petrosian's Armenian homeland. On July 7, 2006, a monument honouring Petrosian was opened in the Davtashen district of Yerevan, in the street named after Petrosian. Petrosian was also honoured on the Armenian dram, with his image on the 2,000 dram banknote.
Tigran was born in the Soviet Union to Armenian parents.
Currently, Tigran Petrosian is 93 years, 3 months and 11 days old. Tigran Petrosian will celebrate 94th birthday on a Saturday 17th of June 2023. Below we countdown to Tigran Petrosian upcoming birthday.