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Kasparov: 'Intuition versus the brute force of calculation'

Chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov
Chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov

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(CNN) -- Chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov ended his battle against Deep Junior in a draw after a six game man vs machine contest. Kasparov and the computer won one game each and drew the remaining four.

The world chess champion was attempting to avenge his defeat by IBM supercomputer Deep Blue. On Saturday, he spoke with CNN technology correspondent Daniel Sieberg.

SIEBERG: People might remember his match in 1997 against IBM's Deep Blue, but last night was the conclusion of this first annual official man versus machine match, and joining us now is the man from that match, considered by many to be the best chess player in history, often likened to the Michael Jordan or the Wayne Gretzky of the chess world, if you will. Thanks for being with us, Garry Kasparov.

KASPAROV: Thanks, Daniel.

SIEBERG: Let's start with what it was like to go up against this program, Deep Junior, which is capable of thinking three million moves per second. How do you face an opponent like that that is so emotionless?

KASPAROV: Yes, but nowadays, chess playing programs, they have sort of a personality, and Deep Junior is a very aggressive version. It's many [that have]compared Deep Junior to Kasparov and, for instance, other versions ... [have been] compared to Anatoly Karpov. So it's quite amazing that you can predict, you know, certain aspects of computer styles that differs it from other machines.

SIEBERG: Does it feel like you are playing against a human opponent, though, when you go up against a computer like this? Is it intuitive in some way, or do you really feel like you are playing against this cold, calculating machine?

KASPAROV: It's a very tricky question, because you are overall overwhelmed with this mixed feelings. At one point, you have to prepare as if you are facing a real human opponent. You look at the openings, you try to come up with something very unpleasant for your opponent. You understand it has very specific characteristics; it's not flexible. But at end of the day, it's not human, so that's why to win the game, to beat this machine, you have to be very precise, so it's quite unusual for human game, because normal game is always full of sort of inaccuracies if not mistakes, but why here, if you make one mistake, you are out of business.

SIEBERG: Right, that's a great point. And I wanted to talk about the distractions or the stresses and emotions that you have to block out as a chess player. How do you do that? Because maybe the computer only has to worry about is a power outage or the program crashing.

KASPAROV: Yes, computer doesn't know what it's winning or losing. So it doesn't care about the games we played before, and for instance, when we played the last game, and I go out there in a slightly better end game and many people criticized me for accepting the draw. At that time, I said, look, it's not just a single game, it's not just a simple position, it's the sixth game of the match, and how I will be viewed with the five games I played before with a sleepless night after a terrible blunder in game three when I first missed win, and then a draw. So all emotions there. They put a tremendous burden on a human player, and it's most unpleasant that you understand your opponent is not subject for the fatigue or any other emotions.

SIEBERG: You can't see the computer sweating at all, definitely. Now, why do you think people are so fascinated by the idea of a man versus a machine? Is it because in some way that we are afraid of how far technology has advanced? That it may be beyond the human capabilities in terms of a chess match or any other type of game?

KASPAROV: I think people recognize that chess offers a unique field to compare man and machine. It's our intuition versus the brute force of calculation. You cannot do it in mathematics, you cannot do it in literature. So chess is somewhere in between, in the crossroads, and we always wanted to know how our intuition could be measured by the machine's force of calculation? And somehow even most people understood that at the IBM's claim in '97 that it was over was a bit premature, and now we understand it's just the beginning of a long, long road.

SIEBERG: That's a good lead-in into my next question, which is, how soon do you think computers will be absolutely unbeatable? Let's talk about the evolution of computer technology versus the evolution of a human ability as a chess player? Are they going to continue to be sort of neck and neck or even in the years to come?

KASPAROV: It's a first match that was a purely scientific match, because we had fair conditions for both the human player and for the machine. Machine was properly supervised. Every move was logged. We had an expert committee that watched the machine. So that's why we know everything about machine's decision-making process.

And it's yet for us to lose. So it was me making some bad mistakes, because otherwise, you know, not making the real bad blunders, I could win the match.

I think for a while, we'll be having this sort of lead in these matches. But eventually, I believe one day, we'll be reduced to fighting for one single win. In my view, in 10 years' time, the best human player could beat a machine one single game on our best day. It proves we are still better, because we cannot guarantee the same intact performance for six or eight playing games, while a machine could play for 100 games.

SIEBERG: All right, we're going to hold you to that. Now, we are seeing some footage from the live broadcast from ESPN2 last night. Let's talk about the future of chess and what these man versus machine matches do in terms of the popularity of chess, or people getting involved, you know, being able to play online, being able to play all these software programs whenever they want. Is that a positive impact on the chess world?

KASPAROV: Oh, I think it has tremendous positive impact on the world of chess. It's the first time we had a proper corporate sponsorship... It's a nice mixture of new technologies, three-dimensional technologies in chess and chess and computers. And I think it was -- the great moment in the history of chess was ESPN showing the live event for nearly three hours. I think this match in New York is also a milestone in promoting the game in the U.S. and worldwide.

SIEBERG: All right, Garry, we've just got a few seconds left. But just like a heavyweight boxing bout, I think everybody wants to know, when can we expect a rematch against Deep Junior?

KASPAROV: It's now -- it should be an annual event, and it's the whole idea of FIDE [the French acronym for the International Chess Federation] is just to put the best man versus best machine. And in the regular computer world championships, and if Junior has to win it, and I also have to win the human championship, and if we both win, we will play next year.

SIEBERG: All right, well, we will look forward to that. Thank you so much for joining us. Garry Kasparov in New York City. Thanks for being with us.

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