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Chess Queen vs Unisplendour Fritz

6/9/2004 – In this corner, Zhu Chen, the women's World chess champion. On the other side of the table: the Unisplendour Star laptop, powered by an AMD 64 bit 3400+ CPU and 2 GB RAM. In head to head competition, the air was tense. After two hours had passed, it was the human who cracked. Read about the latest (wo)man vs machine match in Beijing.
 

Woman vs Machine match in Beijing

Zhu Chen is the previous women's world champion, who did not defend her title last month in Elista mainly because of a pregnancy. She lives in Beijing, where the computer company Tsinghua Unisplendour Corporation invited her to play a two-game match (with a three-day break) against the latest laptop in their production. The "Star of Unisplendour" is the latest portable computer unveiled by Tsinghua Unisplendour on June 1. It contains an advanced AMD 64 bit 3400+ CPU and 2 GB RAM.

Zhu, who is studying for her master's degree in China's prestigious Tsinghua University, agreed. On Tuesday the 28-year-old took on the Notebook, which was running Fritz 8, for the first game.


Press interest at the start of the game

Before the match started the world champion did not seem to have much confidence in the fight against a machine, because it left room for mistakes. "Though I use computer a lot to store information on my training," she told the newspaper China Daily. "I have no practical match-play experience with it. I am clear it will let no mistake slip away. But it's not as creative as human beings. I don't know who is better-positioned. Anything is possible. Maybe I win all or lose all."


Taking on a 3400+ AMD 64 with 2 GB RAM and Fritz 8

The first game she lost. At move 42 she was a pawn up and could have gone for a draw. But this aggressive young lady wanted more. "I chose to attack and then made a mistake," said Zhu. "Unlike human beings, the computer will never lose any winning chance." She was forced to resign on move 54.

"The game should have finished in a draw," said Ye Jiangchuan, the chief coach of Chinese National Chess Team, and also the on-the-spot commentator. "If she was experienced with the machine, she would not have broken. However, her thirst for victory made her commit a fatal error."


China's top GM Ye Jiangchuan commentating the game

He also expressed his great appreciation for the reasonable moves made by the computer. "The combination of computer technology and chess has greatly promoted the spread of the game in the world," Ye said.


The Chinese chess queen

In spite of considerable efforts we have not been able to procure the moves of the game. We have been promised them shortly. Once they arrive we will post them on this page, and with our report on game two.

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