Fritz Defends to Draw Game 8 and the Match! Final Score: 4-4

10/19/2002 – The Brains in Bahrain Man-Machine match is over and has finished in a 4-4 draw, with two wins each and four draws! Game 8 was the shortest game of the match, a 21-move draw. The World Champion was unable to make any progress against Fritz's solid defense. It was a tremendous result for Fritz, particularly after starting out with only half a point from the first three games. Both sides said they would be happy to play a rematch. More

Kramnik was the big favorite at the start and was disappointed at his failures in the second half of the match, in which he scored two losses and two draws. He said that he had started with a lot of respect for Fritz and now he had even more for the program and the team behind it. How much respect? Well, the last time an opponent escaped from Kramnik with a 21-move draw with the black pieces it was Garry Kasparov!

 
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Final
Vladimir Kramnik
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4
Deep Fritz
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4

In game 8 Fritz blinked first by declining Kramnik's invitation to play one of the sharpest openings in chess, the Botvinnik Semi-Slav. Instead if played solidly, steering the game into the calm waters of the Queen's Gambit Declined. Then it was Kramnik who was left without a clear course of action. Only by taking extreme chances could he play for a win, but that would also mean chances for a loss, and this time it was the human's turn to blink and offer a draw.

The Fritz team had examined the weaknesses exposed by Kramnik and they defended them well in the final four games after a disastrous start. Kramnik picked the program apart in simplified positions in games 2 and 3, and was close to doing it again in game 4. Things would be quite different after the two rest days at the halfway point.

After some expert opening coaching by the Fritz team of Frans Morsch, Alex Kure, and Mathias Feist, the program kept the queens on the board and the pressure on Kramnik in the next two games to turn the match around. In game 5 Kramnik blundered in a difficult position and had to resign immediately. In the spectacular game six Kramnik sacrificed a knight for a blistering attack on the black king. Only computer-perfect defense could save black's position, and Fritz slowly gained the upper hand. When finally Black was crashing through, Kramnik resigned. Only the next day would show that he had resigned in a position he could have defended, perhaps the most shocking development of the match. (Game 6 analysis)

Games 7 and 8 were short draws, Kramnik clearly unwilling to risk sharp battles against the super-program after losing games five and six. Chessplayers know when they are not at their best, and if Kramnik had played hard to win those games it is very possible he would have suffered another loss. With the drawn match Kramnik collects $800,000 and ChessBase, the makers of Fritz, will donate their $200,000 share to charity, the European Youth Chess initiative. (Quick, how does one become a member?)

So ends a match that will be remembered for its early demonstrations of anti-computer chess by Kramnik, and for the later display of excellent anti-human chess by Fritz! All the participants and guests will long remember the hospitality provided by the Kingdom of Bahrain, its rulers and inhabitants. Chess is in good hands on this island and this match will do much to promote the royal game here, just as Bahrain will be promoted by the marvelous competition we have just witnessed.

In the next few days we will have all the games, analysis, photos, reports, and contact information available at www.brainsinbahrain.com. That includes exclusive interviews with world champion Kramnik and the entire Fritz team.

Kramnik,V (2807) - Deep Fritz [D60]
Man vs Machine BrainsinBahrain.com. Manama, Bahrain (8), 19.10.2002

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 c6 5.Bg5 Be7 6.e3 0-0 7.Bd3 Nbd7 8.0-0 dxc4 9.Bxc4 Nd5 10.Bxe7 Qxe7 11.Rc1 Nxc3 12.Rxc3 e5 13.Bb3 exd4 14.exd4 Nf6 15.Re1 Qd6 16.h3 Bf5 17.Rce3 Rae8 18.Re5 Bg6 19.a3 Qd8 20.Rxe8 Nxe8 21.Qd2 1/2-1/2

Replay the game here


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