International Master Tibor Karolyi and FIDE Master Tigran Gyozalyan have written a comprehensive two-volume treatise on the life and games of Tigran Petrosian, who was world champion from 1963-1969. The present Volume I takes the reader on a journey from Tigran’s childhood, through the war years, successes in Georgian and Armenian national championships, his emergence as an elite player winning the Soviet championship and Olympic gold, and victory at the famous 1962 Candidates Tournament in Curacao.
Karolyi and Gyozalyan provide deep modern analysis of 148 full games and fragments, and summarise almost all known games played by Petrosian in the period. They also provide considerable background colour on each game, with round-by-round analysis of tournaments and matches in which they were played. Very few of these games have previously been analysed in detail in modern books, and those that were have nevertheless been subjected to considerably improved analysis.
Petrosian’s opponents in Volume I include world champions and challengers Fischer, Tal, Spassky, Botvinnik, Smyslov, Euwe, Korchnoi, and Bronstein, as well as leading players such as Keres, Geller, Benko, Polugaevsky, Reshevsky, Taimanov, Kotov, Gligoric, and many others. There is a special focus on his coaches Ebralidze, Lilienthal and Boleslavsky.
An added bonus is the inclusion of rare photos taken from private collections in Georgia and Armenia, many of which have never before been published in the West.
With a foreword by the greatest Armenian chess player of modern times Levon Aronian.
Foreword by Levon Aronian:
As a chess player from a country where the name of Petrosian is held sacred, I am delighted at the opportunity to write about one of the most mystical chess players in the world. When you think of post-war world champions and elements of nature, the following analogies come to mind: Botvinnik – Earth, Smyslov – Air, Tal – Fire, and Petrosian – Water. Tigran Vartanovich’s style was unhurried, even sometimes languid, with slow development in the opening. It was similar to a mountain brook, and often the pace of the game changed its course, just as the river and current accelerated. Most of his games follow this logic, which is elusive to nearly all other players. Perhaps I began to study Petrosian’s games too early. My relatives, like many chess lovers in Armenia, were proud and remembered the days when Tigran Vartanovich became the world champion, so it was natural that Reliability Strategy became one of my first books. After the brilliant cavalry attacks by Alekhine in his 300 Games I now had to figure out why I should exchange a good knight for a blunted bishop or give up space, and then try to build a blockade in positions with pawn chains. It was at the age of 13, when already playing at master level, that I read that book and began to understand my compatriot’s wealth of ideas and depth of his plans. Now, many years later, having had the opportunity to study the games of players with a universal style, as well as the strongest computer programs, I am increasingly convinced that the chess style of the future will in many respects resemble Tigran Vartanovich’s. You don’t have to go far for examples: look at the games from the AlphaZero–Stockfish match or at openings that are coming into fashion: 1.e4 c6 2.Cf3 d5 3.d3 – elasticity, modest ambitions and a focus on manoeuvring; 1.е4 c5 2.Cf3 e6 3.g3 is another attempt to get away from the beaten track and focus on a slight advantage. The names of the authors of this book – Tibor Karolyi and Tigran Gyozalyan – are well-known to serious chess players. Having raised many grandmasters, they continue to coach and at the same time write books on interesting subjects. I am sure that the rare games analysed in this book will help chess fans to discover the fascinating world of one of the least studied world champions.