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