Tigran Petrosian 1984

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The New York Post
January 16, 2005 Sunday


by Andy Soltis Chess Grandmaster

DO you believe in reincarnation? Play over this week's game before answering.

Yes, Black's name is really Tigran Petrosian, the same as the ninth world champion, and yes he is an Armenian grandmaster.

But this Petrosian was born just one month after his great predecessor died of cancer in August 1984.

Both Tigrans showed remarkable talent before they were 16 - although there's a noticeable difference in their playing styles, as this week's game shows.

The "Iron Tigran" who became the world's most cautious elite player in the 1950s and '60s would never have sacrificed a piece on the fourth move, as Black did here. Nor would he have disdained a draw by repetition at move 12 and chosen to launch a speculative attack with his king sitting precariously at f6.

Tigran I might have grabbed material as Tigran II did, missing the superior 20 . . . Ke7!. But he might have improved on the second Tigran by finding the spectacular mate six moves later - 20 . . . Bxg3+ 21 Kxg3 Qd3+ 22 Kh4 Qd8+! etc.

We'll be sure to hear more about Tigran II, who eventually tied for second in the World Junior, at the same age that Tigran I was making his debut in the world's strongest event, the Soviet Championship.

Now do you believe in reincarnation?

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  • Here Comes the New Petrosian, by Andy Soltis. The New York Post, January 16, 2005 Sunday