Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian 9th classical world champ (1963-1969)

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Today we are looking at a world champ that is close to my heart. One of the chess clubs I started at a special school in 2001 took on the name of Tigran Petrosian. The kids in the club did some research and voted unanimously that our club should be called Tigran Petrosian chess club. Strangely enough, the kids in the club had learning disabilities and could not read that well, but I later realised that Tigran Petrosian was an ideal role model, given his circumstances growing up and the fact that he had what we would describe as an impediment and or disability. However, this disability stood him in good stead on occasion if one read up on his chess career.


He was known as “Iron Tigran”, because of his seemingly impenetrable defensive prowess—he did not lose a single tournament game in 1962. He focused on safety and prophylactic play, and would happily wait for his chance to pounce at any mistake.

Petrosian was also known for his iron logic and clear vision, which enabled him to create very solid and harmonious positions that were rich in possibilities. It was in these types of positions where he would often employ his signature positional exchange sacrifice.

Till next time, burn the chess candle on both ends.

Basil Ellman

Basil is an active chess coach for more than 30 years... He is also a qualified trainer of coaches and a qualified chess arbiter. Basil has a passion for chess and has established various chess clubs in schools and communities in the Western Cape - South Africa which are still in existence and growing strong. He has served on various bodies promoting chess not only as a sport but also as a tool to excel academically. He has a Masters degree in Specialised education and is also an advocate for players with special needs.


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