Person of day - 16 DECEMBER 2023
The namesake of the ninth world champion was born on 16th December 1953 in Yerevan. As the strongest young player in Armenia, he regularly participated in junior championships of the USSR. Just like the main hero of Armenia, he defended the colours of “Spartak” and his success in Spartak’s championship made Arshak Petrosian a master of sport of USSR.
He won the national Armenian championship for men twice and player for his republic’s team in the Union’s Spartakiads. In 1976, he qualified for the premier league of the USSR championship. He participated in several Soviet championships of young masters. After successful performances in Leipzig in 1977 and Kirovakan in 1978, he became an international master.
In 1980, he split 1st place with Vitaly Tseshkovsky at a strong tournament in Yerevan, leaving behind Tal, Romanishin, Lputian, Vaganian, Suba, Tukmakov and other well-known chess players. He had to wait several years for his next fulfilment of the norms of a grandmaster. After Tigran Vartanovich’s death, a grandiose tournament was held in his name in Armenia. Arshak Petrosian won, winning 10,5 out of 15 points and remaining undefeated. The newly-crowned Armenian grandmaster played in the highest league of the Soviet championship in 1985.
In 1990, he came first in the secondary tournament in Dortmund. He played in the Eurocup for “Dinamo) (Armenia) and “Yerevan”. Playing for the Armenian national team, he won the European championship in 1999 and a bronze medallist of the 1992 Chess Olympiad.
From 1996, he is the Armenian team trainer for Olympiads, World and European championships. Since the start of the century, he does not participate in competitions, concentrating on preparing Armenia’s leading grandmasters: under Arshak Petrosian, the Armenian team and its leader, Levon Aronian, won the Tournament of Nations three times.
On Petrosian’s count are notable victories against Alexey Shirov and Alexander Morozevich, which have entered into the golden fund of chess art.
Arshak Petrosian’s daughter Sofia is married to the 2004 vice-world champion Peter Leko- for many years, Arshak has been an assistant to his son-in-law and lived in Hungary. He was the world’s best trainer in 2008 and 2011 and was a laureate of FIDE’s Mikhail Botvinnik Prize. He has been awarded the Medal of Honour in Armenia and he is a candidate in Candidate of Sciences in philosophy.
“Since 2004, there has been a clear qualification system for the national team. We include four grandmasters with the highest rating, plus the champion of Armenia as a substitute. We have a very interesting national championship because the participants have something to fight for. The system is completely fair and objective, which helps to avoid unnecessary tension within the team.
My wife and I live in Sziget, on the border with Serbia, separately from Peter and Sofia. Several times a year, we visit Armenia. Peter speaks Russian well and knows a little Armenian. He and his wife are real polyglots- they know 6 languages each. I speak English reasonably well but I have still not learned Hungarian- it’s a very difficult language. My daughter Sofia has nothing to do with chess but she often watched her husband’s performances closely.” (A. Petrosian)