The Chess Artistry of Tigran Petrosian

I recently described how chess can be considered an art form so it makes sense that I should also write about one of my favorite chess artists.

Many artists had difficult childhoods and that can certainly be said of the ninth official World Champion Grandmaster Petrosian whose parents died before he was 16. Fortunately, Petrosian found solace on the chessboard and became one of our game grandest masters. Nicknamed “Iron Tigran” because of his solid playing style which at times (such as the entirety of 1962) made him impossible to defeat. However, Petrosian could suddenly switch to attack mode when his opponents overplayed their positions and Boris Spassky even described these sudden shifts by stating, “It is to Petrosian’s advantage that his opponents never know when he is suddenly going to play like Mikhail Tal.”

Petrosian consistently created beautiful masterpieces stemming from his trademark positional exchange sacrifices. On other occasions he would steer the game in the direction of stunning queen sacrifices such as today’s feature position. In doing so he popularized chess in his home country of Armenia and inspired chess fans globally.

Position after white played 34. Re3 in Miroslav Filip vs Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian, Yerevan 1965.

Here there were several reasonable continuations for black including Rg8 and Ref8. However, Tigran chose the more beautiful Qxh2+!

Play continued as shown below until white resigned.

Published by chessmusings

Chris Torres is a nationally renowned scholastic chess coach working in the San Francisco Bay Area. His classes have attracted players of strengths ranging from rank beginners to world champions. A chess professional since 1998, Chris is widely recognized as one of the main driving forces behind the explosion in popularity and sudden rise in quality of scholastic chess in California. Chris Torres served as the President of the Torres Chess and Music Academy from 2005-2020 and currently is recognized as a correspondence chess master with the United States Chess Federation. Since 1998 Chris Torres has taught 6 individual national champions as well as led multiple school teams to win national championship titles. In addition, Chris Torres has directed and taught at 10 different schools which have been California State Champions at chess. In 2011 and 2012, several former and current students of Chris Torres have been selected to represent the United States at the World Youth Chess Championships. Mr. Torres’ hobbies include playing classical guitar and getting his students to appear on the national top 100 chess rating lists.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: