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Garry Kasparow

Aus Verzweiflung Skandinavisch gegen Kasparow: Anands Eröffnungscoup im WM-Kampf 1995

Kasparow zum WM-Match: “Magnus Carlsen ist verwundbar”

Wie ich fast mein zweites Autogramm von Garri Kasparow bekam

“Wie eine Maschine”: Der Junge, der Kasparow und Short schlug

Do not enfuriate the beast

Can you imagine a tournament in which one player wins and all other players score less than 50%? Is that even possible? Yes, it is. Garry Kasparov pulled that off in Linares 2001, where he won by a three-point margin in only 10 rounds. His opponents weren't exactly patzers: Shirov, Grischuk, Polgar, Karpov and... Interestingly, the new superstar in town, Peter Leko, came last in the tournament losing only one game to Kasparov!

Kramnik had snatched the World Title from Garry less than four months earlier, in one of the greatest upsets in chess history. But one month before Linares, Kasparov dominated the Wijk Aan Zee tournament, where Kramnik ended up sharing third place. These were Kasparov's two first tournament appearances as a former world champion. The 'beast from Baku' absolutely dominated the two strongest tournaments of the year back to back. And after that, he continued winning tournament after tournament in ferocious style. Not bad for an ex-World Champion 


Über Kasparow versus Deep Blue:

The untold story: Kasparov vs Deep Blue (Part 1)

Everybody has heard of how in 1997 the IBM chess-playing computer, Deep Blue, constituted a landmark in artificial intelligence by defeating the World Champion at the time, Garry Kasparov. What if I told you that this story is more marketing than reality? In the 1990s, computational power was making giant strides. Computer programs were starting to defeat grandmasters at chess. AI researchers figured, if we can back up these programs with sufficiently powerful hardware, engines could potentially defeat the World Champion. IBM set out to prove this theory under the pretext of a scientific pursuit. Garry Kasparov agreed to put his reputation on the line.

In 1996, a match to six games was organized. Deep Blue beat Kasparov in game 1, hitting headlines all over the world. But that was the beginning and the end of the excitement for IBM. Garry manhandled the machine in the remaining of the match. Interestingly, this outcome didn't generate much excitement. Garry Kasparov had just defeated a supercomputer that could calculate more than a hundred million moves per second! He had single-handedly defeated the whole of the IBM team, including several researchers and chess grandmasters. The best efforts of a multinational corporation could not take down this man.

IBM researchers probably realized that their brute force approach wasn't going to work. But they had invested so much in this project, something had to be done. They came up with another brute force approach. Deep Blue was consistently outplayed by Kasparov, but it did not make human blunders. All IBM had to do is to play short matches, keep adjusting their machine to Kasparov's play, and hope that Garry would make some mistakes.

The untold story: Kasparov vs Deep Blue (Part 2)

The rematch between Kasparov and Deep Blue took place in New York in 1997. In the first game, Garry dominated, winning in brilliant style. The second game was dramatic: Garry resigned in a position where he could have kept fighting. Garry would probably have found the hidden resource within a couple of minutes, had he tried, but surprisingly he gave up prematurely. The next 3 games were drawn. Garry wasn't even trying very hard. He wasn't using his main opening weapons, one of his big strengths in chess. He used this approach throughout the two matches, maybe due to his "anti-computer strategy", but more likely because he did not want to give away his preparation for important competitions.

It all came down to the last game. Garry had the black pieces. He had defeated the machine with black in the previous match, but the most likely outcome was a draw. The match would be tied, and another rematch would take place. However, something incredible happened: Garry blundered as early as move 7 and was completely lost from the opening, eventually resigning on move 19. This was an unprecedented event in Garry's career, since he had always been known for his deep and accurate opening knowledge. Deep Blue had won the match exactly in the way IBM was hoping for.

Garry showed a strong desire for a rematch, but IBM refused; their job was done. Deep Blue, this great milestone in artificial intelligence, was dismantled and never used again. IBM stock price, which had been stuck for more than a decade, soared by several folds in the next couple of years. IBM had what they wanted, and the supposed contributions of Deep Blue to science and technology were buried for the rest of time. And this is how Garry Kasparov literally dismantled the biggest, chunkiest, and most powerful chess machine ever invented.

The overall score of the two matches was 6.5–5.5 in favor of Kasparov. Deep Blue was surprisingly good, close in strength to the best human chess player. But contrary to popular belief, computers did not surpass humans at chess in 1997. Deep Blue was adjusted by humans between games and had a human-made opening book, thanks to which Deep Blue won the last decisive game of the second match. And in the end, its overall score against Garry Kasparov was a net negative.

Kasparov's Biggest Blunder

In this newsletter, I take a look at an iconic blunder. We often see the above GIF being shared online when someone blunders. But do you know the story behind it?