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Viktor Korchnoi vs Mikhail Tal
USSR Championship (1964/65), Kiev URS, rd 9, Jan-11
Queen's Gambit Declined: Semi-Tarrasch Defense. Pillsbury Variation (D41)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Oct-14-05  Autoreparaturwerkbau: As I mentioned here I Calero vs Tal, 1963, Tal was obviously a sore loser.
Sep-20-06  Eatman: Actually, there are positions where a lone bishop can draw against a rook and a pawn (this one not being one of them).

In fact Tal was more amiable loser than most GMs, in fact if the loss was interesting, he was not at all ashamed of one.

Jan-08-09  M.D. Wilson: <Tal was more amiable loser than most GMs> This is well known. He was always a great sport.
Jan-04-10  Bolgoljubov: I think this game is mis-labeled and mis-dated?

Korchnoi says this game occurred in a team competition between Leningrad and Latvia in 1953. This was Korchnoi’s first ever game against Mikhail Tal. Korchnoi and Tal were both playing 2nd board. Korchnoi was 22 years old and Tal was 17.

Korchnoi relates that sometime after a young Mikhail Tal lost a pawn (28. Nxa7) Tal “cheekily” offered Korchnoi a draw. Aware of the psychological impact a first game can have on the future, Korchnoi turned Tal down. Korchnoi said that Tal defended with “extreme resourcefulness” but “I managed, on move 93, to win the game”.

Korchnoi says, “I broke him down. I broke him down not only in this game, but it happened that I broke him down for the next many years.”

“The first game played between opponents sometimes has a very important role, a decisive role, in their relationship at the board for many years”, said Korchnoi. This was the case with Tal.

Korchnoi related a joke that Tal used to make regarding their rivalry. That Tal used to say that he was “5 and 5 against Korchnoi”. Korchnoi won 5 games and Tal managed to draw the other 5.


Korchnoi does not specify the game. But this game seems to fit. Korchnoi victory, Tal down a pawn, 93 moves. Can anyone verify?

Source: “My Life for Chess” by Victor Korchnoi, Chessbase DVD Series, 2005

Premium Chessgames Member
  saffuna: Tal: " I chose for my bishop almost the only losing square... "
Premium Chessgames Member
  gambitfan: 1) +0.08 (33 ply) 39...♗g8 40.g3 ♖h5 41.♖d7+ ♔f8 42.♖d8+ ♔g7 43.♔g2 ♗b3 44.♖d7+ ♔h8 45.♔f2 ♖h2+ 46.♔g1 ♖h5 47.♔g2 ♗c4 48.♘f7+ ♗xf7 49.♖xf7 ♔g8 50.♖c7 ♖h6 51.♖b7 ♖h5 52.♔g1 ♔f8 53.♖d7 h6 54.♖c7 g5 55.♔g2 g4 56.♖h7 ♖h3
Premium Chessgames Member
  gambitfan: 1) +2.70 (44 ply) 44.♘g3+ ♔xf4 45.♘xh5+ gxh5 46.♖g7 ♗e6 47.♖xh7 ♔g5 48.g3 ♔g4 49.♔g2 ♗d5+ 50.♔h2 ♗e6 51.♖e7 ♗f5 52.♖g7+ ♔f3 53.♖g5 ♗g4 54.♖a5 ♔f2 55.♖a7 ♗f3 56.♖f7 ♔e2 57.♔g1 ♗e4 58.♖f8 ♗f3 59.♖e8+ ♔d3 60.♔f2 ♗g4 61.♖e5 ♔d4 62.♖a5 ♔e4 63.♖a7 ♔d3 64.♔g1 ♔d4 65.♖h7 ♔e5 66.♖g7 ♔d4 67.♖f7 ♗e6 68.♖e7 ♗g4 69.♔f2
Premium Chessgames Member
  gambitfan: 1) +2.18 (60 ply) 47...♔g4 48.♖e7 ♗f5 49.♖g7+ ♔f4 50.g3+ ♔f3 51.♖g5 ♗g4 52.♖e5 ♔f2 53.♖e4 ♗d7 54.♖c4 ♗g4 55.♖a4 ♔e3 56.♔g2 ♗f3+ 57.♔h3 ♗d1 58.♖f4 ♗f3 59.♖f6 ♗d1 60.♔h4 ♗g4 61.♖f8 ♗f3 62.♖f5 ♔f2 63.♔h3 ♔e3 64.♖a5 ♗g4+ 65.♔h4 ♔f2 66.♖a4 ♗d1 67.♖a2+ ♔e3 68.♖h2 ♗g4 69.♖c2 ♗f3 70.♖c4 ♗d1 71.♖c5 ♔f2 72.♔h3 ♗g4+ 73.♔h2 ♔f3 74.♖b5 ♔e3 75.♖a5 ♔e4 76.♖a3 ♗e6 77.♖a4+ ♔f3 78.♖f4+ ♔e3 79.♔g2 ♗d7 80.♖b4 ♗e6 81.♖a4 ♗g4 82.♖c4 ♗f3+ 83.♔h2 ♗g4 84.♖b4 ♗e6 85.♖f4 ♗g4
Premium Chessgames Member
  gambitfan: 47 Rxh7 RP|BP
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