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Tigran Petrosian

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Born: June 17, 1929 in Tbilisi, Georgia (USSR)

Died: August 13, 1984 in Moscow, Russia

Playing Style and Legacy:

Tigran Petrosian was known for his incredible defensive capabilities, which made him among the most difficult players to defeat in the history of chess. This style earned him the nickname "Iron Tigran." Of course, as a World Champion, Petrosian was strong in all aspects of the game; but his ability to sense tactical danger and maintain the safety of his position is what stands out when looking at his games. Rather than look to land a spectacular finishing blow, Petrosian was satisfied with accumulating small advantages and winning strategically.

World Championship Matches:

1963: Defeated Mikhail Botvinnik 12.5-9.5 (+5 -2 =15) to become World Chess Champion

1966: Defeated Boris Spassky 12.5-11.5 (+4 -3 =17) to retain World Chess Championship

1969: Lost to Spassky 12.5-10.5 (+4 -6 =13); Spassky becomes World Chess Champion

Notable Accomplishments:

  • Won four Soviet Chess Championships
  • Remained a Championship candidate (or World Champion) for 10 consecutive cycles spanning 30 years
  • In ten Olympiad appearances spanning 139 games, lost just 1 game (+78 -1 =50)

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