In 1965 Petrosian defended his title against up and coming Soviet grandmaster Boris Spassky . The two would have seventeen draws in their match, but Petrosian would win four games to Spassky's three and hold onto the title with a final score of 12 ½ to 11 ½ . Spassky would earn the right to rematch Petrosian three years later n 1969. This time Spassky would emerge victorious 12 ½ to 10 ½, becoming the tenth world chess champion. Petrosian continued to play with success in major tournaments, but never regained the world championship crown. Bobby Fischer would soon come into his prime and became an obstacle in the path to the world championship that Petrosian could not overcome.
Tigran Petrosian, the predominant world chess champion of the 1960's died on August 13, 1984 of stomach cancer. Today, he remains largely underappreciated. This is most likely due to his defensive style. Most chess fans prefer to see an aggressive attacking style, and often overlook the subtle beauty of Petrosian's play. Most notably Petrosian was a spectacular endgame player. Petrosian's legacy will be that of perhaps the greatest defender in the history of the game. He would methodically reinforce his position, making sure not to have any weaknesses and wait for his opponent to provide him with the right moment to strike. While he frequently gave draws, Petrosian was one of the hardest men to beat. He was given the nickname "Iron Tigran" for his almost impenetrable defensive schemes.
Some famous Petrosian Quotes:
"Turning chess into Poker and hoping for a bluff is not one of my convictions"
"The criterion of real strength is a deep penetration into the secrets of a position"
"He is not the most talented or the strongest player, but certainly the most inconvenient player in the world! His ambition is not to play actively, but to paralyze his opponents intentions" – Mikhail Botvinnik