Chess master who used "disgusting" ploy

I believe I have read about a chess champion of past decades – he played for the USSR, and was from the Soviet republic of Armenia – part of whose strategy was to distract and disconcert his opponent by engaging in physically disgusting behaviour: nose-picking, and a good deal more. What I read about the guy, included his name --which I’ve forgotten. I had in mind Tigran Petrosian, who was indeed a Soviet chess champion and from Armenia; but the Wiki article about Petrosian makes no mention of any “gross-the-opposition-out” stratagems on his part.

Does anyone know: did Petrosian engage in such behaviour, or was it someone else, or did I imagine the whole thing?

You might be thinking of Ukranian grandmaster Vasilly Ivanchuk, who is pretty well known for constantly and openly picking his nose during matches. I don’t think it’s a strategy so much as an unstrategic nasty habit, though.

The only poor behaviour I recall was that one GM (don’t remember who - possibly Huebner or Petrosian) was occasionally kicking his opponent.
So the officials put a board under the table.

I know Ivanchuck often stares into space during games, but I’ve not heard anything about his nose-picking.

Korchnoi/ Karpov,3843107

I can fart so well I probably don’t even need to get any better at chess! :smiley:

Quite the opposite of a “disgusting” ploy if you ask me, but still …

Just from reading the thread title I thought this might have been Tony Miles’s famous 1. …a6 against Karpov, which I can imagine Soviet media reporting as a “disgusting ploy” - more likely of course is that they didn’t report it at all. Sorry I can’t help with the matter at hand, but I would be surprised if a top-level chess player was sufficiently distracted by such ploys as to impact his or her performance. On the other hand, Karpov was clearly affected by 1. …a6 (he went on to lose the game), which he really ought to have been able to cope with!

The other story that comes to mind is that of Kasparov not being a terribly polite opponent, I read once that he used to really grind his pieces into the board when making moves and try to stare out opponents. But not the same thing as what the OP describes.

Thanks all, for responses. I know that the guy concerned, was Armenian; suspect, though, that his name was odder (to non-Armenian eyes) than Petrosian. I recall that he and his distraction tactics are mentioned in Frederick Forsyth’s novel The Negotiator, which I don’t own nowadays. Getting hold of a copy, would solve the mystery for me !

I don’t have the book either, but searching Google Books gives me the following snippet:

It’s the only reference to “Armenian” that comes up.

Text of the book online. I found a page where the protagonist first hears about the chess tactics of Tigran Petrosian.

The Google Books version has a lot of pages hidden.

Playing 1 … a6 was of course not a ‘disgusting ploy’ - just taking a chance that it would disconcert Karpov (who was always well-prepared in opening theory.)

Kasparov visited my School several times.
He was always polite (and clearly a genius.)

Does anyone have a cite for Ivanchuck’s ‘behaviour’?

What’s to stop women from wearing a shirt that only HAS 3 buttons, and then unbutton the top 2?

Absolutely (and it worked a treat) - just saying I could imagine Soviet propaganda painting it as such. I also value your opinion of Kasparov over something I read secondhand (and could be misremembering anyway) - thanks for the input.

He’s repeatedly touching his nose here. Not sure if he’s actually picking it, or just got an itch.

Is he trying to contaminate the pieces to make his opponent afraid to touch them?

You don’t generally touch your opponent’s pieces, do you?

I do. Haven’t lost a game yet. :stuck_out_tongue:

Many thanks for the Forsyth references. That’s the guy, for sure. I must have read about his “be disgusting” tactics somewhere else; but Petrosian is definitely the man.

Oddly, if you google Ivanchuk and nose picking you get quite a few hits.
Donner, a Dutch grandmaster of some mild repute, chain-smoked at the board. I’d rather play against a nose-picker.

Could some explain why 1 … a6 is a disgusting opening ploy?