Deep Junior strikes back

1/30/2003 – Actually it was Garry Kasparov, who was dominating during most of the game. Then he let his advange slip, and just when he had resigned himself to accepting a draw he overlooked a sharp continuation which handed the game to his opponent. With this surprise victory Deep Junior has equalised and filled the entire match with new tension. How did it all happen? Here's a full illustrated report on game three.

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Score
 
1
2
3
4
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6
total
Garry Kasparov
1
½
0
       
Deep Junior
0
½
1
       

Deep Junior has tied the match 1.5-1.5 by winning game three. In another exciting game Kasparov took the battle to Junior's king but couldn't land a knockout punch. Junior bobbed and weaved like Muhammad Ali and slowly equalized the game. Finally, just when it looked like Kasparov would try to force a draw, the human blundered and lost almost instantly. Kasparov had missed a spectacular checkmate variation that caused him to lose another pawn and the game.

This is exactly how Grandmasters most often lose to computer programs. They get excellent positions and then watch them unravel against near-perfect computer defense. Junior was in trouble for the third straight game out of the opening. Kasparov, playing white, tricked Junior back into the g4 lines of the Semi-Slav (from game one) through a sneaky move order that got the Israeli program out of its opening book.

Then Junior began to play the sort of odd moves that have given its computer opponents so much trouble in the past few years. Junior won the world championship last year with the same risky, positionally suspect chess. It seems to know just how close to the edge it can go without falling off. In many of its games against other programs you see its opponents get very positive evaluations only to see them fall slowly as Junior's evaluation proves more accurate.

No human or computer would argue with the fact that Kasparov's position was superior for most of game three. As always, the problem was turning a "winning" position against a computer into a win. Those quotes illustrate the problem. In a perfect world, with perfect play, it is likely that Kasparov's position after 13.e4! was winning. In the world we live in, with a supercomputer like Junior as black, it was not.

After the tactical complications slowed down on move 21 Kasparov was down a pawn but had a lead in development and considerable pressure against Junior's king. Fritz 8 was giving a half-pawn plus to White despite the pawn minus. But these positions are almost impossible to win against a strong program. Pawn play was not a factor. Long-range planning was not a factor. It was wide-open piece play with king safety issues for both sides. This sort of thing fits a computer like a tailored Armani suit. A human will never win these positions against a computer. NEVER. You can only lose. It simply sees everything. Unless you already have a forced win on the board it is time to start looking for a way to draw before you fall into something nasty.

This is what happened to the world number one. Kasparov's initiative slowly faded away against Junior's precise defense. Then he realized it was time to look for that draw, only he looked in the wrong place. 32.Ng6+ does not appear to be the forced draw the commentators believed it was, but it was definitely better than Kasparov's 32.Rh5??, which lost another pawn and the game to a brilliant tactical shot.

At the time we thought Kasparov was trying to play for a win. After the game he said he thought the rook move was the easiest way to force a draw. After the apparently forced 32...Qxd4 33.Rxh7+ Kxh7 34.Qxf5+ is a perpetual check draw. Unfortunately for humanity, in the diagram 32...Nxd4!! is a winner.

This seems impossible because of 33.Ng6+ Kg8 34.Ne7+ and it looks like black has to take a repetition. But 34...Kf8! and now if 35.Rxh7 Nb3+!! ouch, it's mate! This is what Kasparov missed with 10 minutes on his clock. 36.Kc2 (36.axb3 Qd1#) 36...Na1+ 37.Kc3 Qd2+ 38.Kc4 b5+ 39.Kc5 Qd6#)

Kasparov tried to bail out with 35.Nd5 but resigned after 35...Qg7 36.Qxd4 Rxd5 0-1. A sad but all too common fate. A marvelous performance ruined by a moment's inattention against a beast that never sleeps. (Curiously enough I wrote about just this sort of thing in Mig on Chess #185 the day before this game was played.) Credit is due Junior for surviving what looked like a hopeless position after just a dozen moves. And congratulations to Amir Ban and Shay Bushinsky for their first win against the world's number one player!

Kasparov was indignant in the postgame press conference. He felt that he had completely dominated the computer in all three games, yet only had 1.5 points and a drawn match to show for his efforts. Now he has two rest days to recover from this devastating loss. Junior has white in games four and six, but I still think the match is a toss-up considering how well Kasparov has played overall so far.

Mig Greengard

Picture gallery

By Frederic Friedel


Carnegie Hall, one of the world's most famous concert halls, just a few blocks away from the playing site.


The corner Broadway and 59th is also in walking distance


Typical buildings in the vicinity


Looking up will always make you feel dizzy


Scraping the sky on a snowy afternoon

On a free day I was invited to lunch by David Levy, the representative of the ICGA. An invitation of this kind is traditionally a complicated affair, always involving prior bookings, long taxi rides and expensive menus. But you are garanteed an extraordinary meal.


This time David took me to the Old Homestead restaurant. It was not surprising that a few days after he had invited me (some weeks in advance, naturally) I caught a CNN report on this place. The Old Homestead is famous for serving the most expensive hamburgers in the world.


David Levy eating a Kobe beef burger.


This is it up close, the $41 Kobe beef burger (drinks are extra)

On to game three...


Just before the game Amir Ban and Shay Bushinsky prime the machine, while arbiter Geurt Gijssen watches on.


The handshake before start of play


Star movie director Milos Forman (in red shirt) will ceremoniously make the first move


The game starts, with grim-faced opponents Kasparov and Amir Ban


Former women's world champion Susan Polgar and Junior author Shay Bushinsky being shushed by organiser Katerina Tornerova.


Commentary by GMs Maurice Ashley and Yasser Seirawan


Larger than life: Kasparov on the giant 3D projection screens


After the blunder


There is no way out of this one


In the press conference after the match, with Yasser Seirawan

 


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