"Always make a total effort, even when the odds are against you." - Arnold Palmer

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Tigran The Ninth

"In those years, it was easier to win the Soviet Championship than a game against 'Iron Tigran' ".
Lev Polugaevsky (1934 – 1995)

"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!"
Robert James Fischer (1943 – 2008)

Tigran Petrosian and Robert Fischer
Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian (Armenian: Տիգրան Պետրոսյան, Тигран Вартанович Петросян) (17 June 1929 – 13 August 1984) was a Soviet-Armenian grandmaster, and World Chess Champion from 1963 to 1969. He was nicknamed "Iron Tigran" due to his playing style because of his almost impenetrable defence, which emphasised safety above all else. He was a Candidate for the World Championship on eight occasions (1953, 1956, 1959, 1962, 1971, 1974, 1977 and 1980). He won the world championship in 1963 (against Botvinnik), successfully defended it in 1966 (against Spassky), and lost it in 1969 (to Spassky). 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). He was recognised as the hardest player to beat in the history of chess by the authors of a 2004 book. (Wikipedia)

Petrosian was the player loved by some and hated by many because of his careful and "boring" style based on the ideas of his idol - Aaron Nimzowitsch - who was the author of very famous book "My System". Young Tigran had spent hundreds of hours analysing this book and he strongly believed in the "dogmas" created by his "master". Prophylaxis, this is the word which Petrosian liked very much. But it was another genius of the game who discovered that behind this careful and prophylactic game sleeps a venomous dragon who can transform himself into the wildest tactical player in the world.

Today I want to present you just two of Petrosian's masterpieces. And if you remain convinced that he had been boring guy, please let me know. 

I am sure that former Czechoslovak grandmaster Luděk Pachman did not expect anything like that.

The second victim of Petrosian's tactical mastery was nobody better than American grandmaster Robert James Fischer, AKA "Robert the Eleventh". Petrosian transformed himself into an uncompromising attacker who just had smelled the blood.

"Possibly one of the best games of recent years." - Miguel Najdorf (1910 – 1997)

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