Deep Blue vs. Kasparov Anniversary

Posted on March 8, 2007. Filed under: Chess, History, News, Technology |

This coming may will be the tenth anniversary of Gary Kasparov’s famous defeat to Deep Blue, a supercomputer designed specifically to beat him by a team of engineers and chess masters. I attended the famous match, which was held in the Equitable Center in New York City. I say I attended, but actually there were no spectators in the room with Kasparov and the computer: I watched the match on video in an auditorium with dozens of other people. If my memory serves me, Kasparov was startled by one particular move by Deep Blue, a move which seemed to be uncharacteristic of a computer. After Kasparov resigned he came down to the auditorium to speak. He basically accused the IBM team of cheating and coaching the computer to make a particular move. He said something that stuck in my memory: “he saw the hand of God.”

It would be interesting to learn what the state of the art is in chess programs today. Are they much better than they were ten years ago or are they just marginally so? Would Kasparov be willing to play another supercomputer? I am sure that were a rematch to be held today it would be streamed live on the Internet.

  • Quotes of the Day

    "Writing editorials is like wetting your pants in a blue serge suit. It feels good, but nobody really notices."

    --Jack Germond

    "Famous men and women, by the act of putting themselves on display, whether as politicians, actors, writers, painters, musicians, restaurateurs, or whatever, invite public appraisal. They are all, impressively or pathetically, acting on the presumption that their ideas, their fantasies, their music, their bodies are more original than those of, say, a plumber or a certified public accountant. They are all exercising the impulse, as Mencken put it, ‘to flap their wings in public.’ This is so obvious to the critic–and, I believe, to the ordinary reader or spectator–that it seems hardly worth saying. But resentment of the practice of criticism itself is strong among professional artists (and all Presidents of the United States). There is a psychological type among them that hates critics on principle as parasites or failed performers. This is very natural but surely very childish and, in any country claiming to be civilized, actually anti-social. The existence of critics, good, bad, or indifferent, is a firm clause in the social contract between the governors and the governed in any nation that is not a dictatorship. Public figures should accept with good grace the public response to their invitations to be admired and resist the temptation to retort, except in the face of flagrant malice."

    --Alistair Cooke

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