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Man beats machine

Kasparov defeated uppity computer in first match


(CNN) - On February 10, 1996, world chess champion Garry Kasparov began a best-of-six-games match against Deep Blue, a customized RS/6000 supercomputer that could calculate more than 200 million moves a second.

Two years earlier, Kasparov had little trouble beating Deep Blue's predecessor, Deep Thought -- but Deep Blue would prove to be a more capable opponent.

In the first game, machine beat man handily in only 34 moves. Deep Blue's easy victory raised eyebrows: No machine had ever won a game in tournament conditions against a player of Kasparov's caliber.

But Kasparov, known for his tenaciousness, bounced back in Game 2, beating Deep Blue by switching strategies mid-game.


With the score 1-1, Kasparov fought Deep Blue to a draw in the third and fourth games, then won the fifth by again changing tactics in the middle of the game.

The stage was set for a dramatic game-six showdown. The 32-year-old Russian had won two games, the computer had won one; and the two draws, worth half a point each player, left the score Kasparov 3, Deep Blue 2. All Kasparov needed to win the match was a draw; a loss would leave the match tied.

From the start, Kasparov mounted an aggressive attack, quickly taking control of the board with pawns spearheading an attack by knights and bishops. Deep Blue counterattacked, but let a knight stray to the edge of the board, violating an old chess maxim: "Knights on rim, future dim."

Kasparov forced Deep Blue to concede after 43 moves in three hours, 46 minutes.


"From my standpoint, it is still vulnerable," Kasparov said afterward. "The machine is not invincible."

But the human admitted he had underestimated the machine.

"I was lucky to lose Game 1," he said. "Otherwise, disaster could have struck later. I got an early warning. I believe there are very few chess players in the world that can take this heat and play this machine."

For winning, Kasparov received $400,000.


Karpasov vs. Deep Blue The Rematch  |  The Match-Up  |  Round One
The Message Board  |  The Chess Links

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