Petrosian’s Stunning Rook Sacrifice – GM Larry Christiansen

Tigran Petrosian

The former World Chess Champion Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian is known as a conservative, cautious, and highly defensive chess player, but Fischer once said, “He has an incredible tactical view.

In this video, a free preview of GM Larry Christiansen‘s acclaimed Attacking Chess Bundle, we are shown one of his finest yet little-known attacking games with a beautiful mating combination.

Watch to see how Petrosian created a winning position in only 26 moves!

Petrosian Sacrifices a Rook to Get an Unstoppable Passed Pawn

Petrosian was known for his strong positional play, but being a positional player does not mean you cannot calculate tactics. Positional players can also sacrifice material in ways that would make Tal proud.

When it comes to sacrifices, Petrosian is best known for his defensive exchange sacrifices. He would often sacrifice the exchange to take the initiative away from his opponents.

You do not become a world champion without knowing that minor pieces are often stronger in closed positions than rooks. Petrosian often used this idea when defending, and studying his games will prove invaluable if you want to incorporate this idea in your own games.

Many players are often surprised when a player known for their positional style chooses to enter variations rich in tactics. If you are a positional player, do not hesitate to take advantage of this and catch your opponents by surprise.

Playing with the initiative in chess is a crucial skill every player, no matter what their preferred style, needs to learn. When you have the initiative, you place more pressure on your opponents.

Even in quiet positions, you can seize the initiative by suffocating your opponent. You can frustrate them by using prophylaxis to ensure they cannot implement any of their plans.

When a strong player like Petrosian allows you to fork his rooks with your knight, it pays to be cautious. It is easy to overlook the danger when your opponent allows a fork purely to obtain a positional plus.

After the tactics played out, Petrosian was two pawns up, with an unstoppable h-pawn, in his game against Sosonko.

Tigran Petrosian – Gennady Sosonko, 1976.07.21, 1-0, Biel Interzonal Round 8, Biel SUI

Another Petrosian Rook Sacrifice

The game started with a rare Modern Defense, typical of Petrosian’s style. He got a solid, although a little cramped, position. But with patience and great positional understanding, he obtained counterplay with a big knight on the c4-square.

Suddenly, a calm move sacrificed a piece, then an exchange, and Black was completely winning! A big turn of events!


The final combination deserves a diagram: 

In this position, Black is winning. He has more than one path to Rome, but he played the shortest one.

Black to play and mate!

After 26…Nb4! the threat is …Nxc2#, so White does not have many options. 27.Rc1 loses to 27…Qa5, with a mate on a2. In the game, White played 27.Bb3, which also loses to 27…Qa5. But Petrosian, an artist himself, preferred the more beautiful 27…Qc4!. White threw in the towel.

Christiansen’s analysis dissects what happened in this beautiful game and gives us an idea of what the great former World Champion was thinking while playing it. Add a new sacrificial weapon to your arsenal!

If you want to be a wild attacking player or improve in calculation, then the Attacking Chess Mega Bundle – GM Larry Christiansen is what you need! Click here to get your copy with a 75% discount and start winning spectacular games!

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