Peter Clarke's book on Tigran Petrosian is the indispensable counterpart to his classic volume on Mikhail Tal. Tal and Petrosian could not have been more dissimilar, yet Clarke treats each subject with equal mastery. Tigran Petrosian was at first a modest amateur player who, nevertheless, believed that ultimately he had a field marshal's baton in his knapsack - and he set out to prove it. Not for him the sudden and dramatic storming of the highest chess bastions - Petrosian gradually moved up the ranks, perfecting his ultra strategic style and focussing on the elimination of loss, rather than victory at all costs. This softly-softly approach brought Petrosian the world crown and enabled him to retain it for six years, thus outperforming Smyslov, Tal, Spassky and Fischer. The games in this book, which bring us to Petrosian's successful match against Botvinnik, demonstrate an ethereal beauty of which few other champions were capable.
Peter Clarke won numerous silver medals in the British Championships, he represented England in the World Championship cycle and he played top board for England in the Chess Olympiad at Havana 1966. He is a fluent Russian reader and his notes access the very best of contemporary Soviet commentary.