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Kasim vs the Accoona Toolbar – draw in New York

6/23/2005 – On Tuesday FIDE world champion Rustam Kasimdzhanov played an exciting game against the Accoona Toolbar, driven by a Fritz 9 prototype, in the ABC Times Square studios. With three hundred spectators and a dozen television cameras Kasim played a daring attacking game. Full analysis will follow, here's a pictorial report.
 

Accoona's Ultimate
“Man vs. Machine” Chess Match

June 21, 2005, 5pm at the ABC Times Square Studios

The computer opponent of the FIDE world champion was the "Accoona Artificial Intelligence Search ToolBar". It is a utility you can download and install on your computer to search the web and your hard disk. The toolbar has a chess link which takes you to a special site where you can read news, solve chess puzzles and play with a small Java applet. Kasimdzhanov played against the "big brother" of this chess engine, a prototype version of Fritz 9, which is based on strategic and tactical understanding rather than purely on a brute force search. The program ran on a simple, off-the-shelf notebook computer in its game against Kasimdzhanov.

Kasimdzhanov - Fritz Accoona [A00]
New York 21.06.2005
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 0-0 9.h3 Na5 10.Bc2 c5 11.d4 Qc7 12.d5 Nc4 13.a4 Bd7 14.b3 Nb6 15.a5 Nc8 16.c4 Bd8 17.Nc3 b4 18.Ne2 Nh5 19.g4 Nf6 20.Ng3 h6 21.Be3 Re8 22.Kh2 Rb8 23.Qd2 Kh7 24.Rg1 Ne7 25.g5 hxg5 26.Nxg5+ Kg8 27.Qe2 Ng6 28.Nf5 Bxf5 29.exf5 Nf4 30.Qf3 Qe7 31.Bxf4 exf4.

32.Ne6. The shocker – Kasimdzhanov sacrifices a piece against the computer! 32...fxe6 33.fxe6 Rf8 34.Qd3 Rb7 35.Rg5 Qe8 36.Rag1 f3 37.R1g3.

"The computer is completely busted", was the general opinion in the studio, where experts were analysing the game for the public. At the terminal, where the game was being transmitted on the Internet, we could see that the engine was completely relaxed and in fact showing a draw score. GM Ron Henley was skeptical, and suitably impressed by the following defence: 37...Kh8 38.Rxf3 Rg8 39.Rg6 Rf8 40.Rg5 Rg8 41.Rg6 Rf8 42.Rg5 draw.

New York Picture Gallery


"New York looks very normal, like any other place," said Rustam Kasimdzhanov after his first jaunt through downtown Manhattan, "until you look up! That is where the city is."


Times Square with it famous spectacular commercial displays


The current eye-catcher: a beanstalk advert


The ABC Times Square studios where the event took place


Preparation for the match is under way


The crowds gather outside the Studio entrance


Visitors get a chance to try out the Accoona Chess site


Playing against the mini Java AI engine


America's hopefuls: two time women's champion Jennifer Shahade, her brother IM Greg Shahade, who is now very successful in poker, and their father, "Iron Mike Shahade", four time Pennsylvania champion and perennial 2400 player.


Wow, look who turned up: American legend Gata Kamsky, the strongest American GM since Bobby Fischer, who gave up chess for medical and law studies some years ago. Gata, seen here chatting with Accoona host Armand Rousso and GM Lev Albert, was great form – warm, charming, humorous, you better believe us!


Rustam Kasimdzhanov arrives. He and Gata, probably representing more chess power than the rest of the people in that part of Manhattan


Rustam checks out the stage and poses for first photographs


New York's Sports Commissioner Kenneth Podziba welcoming Kasimdzhanov to the city and thanking Accoona for this and the many exciting chess events it has staged in the city.


Preparing mentally for the game. Kasim entered the moves himself on the notebook


The game is under way, the audience can follow the moves on plasma screens


Multimedia projection screens provide total visual coverage


Gata commenting for the live Accoonachess transmission


Rustam Kasimdzhanov deep in thought

Already during the live transmission we receive a number of inquiries. So here is the answer: Daniel Hechter, a classy French designer.


After the draw he get the trophy from COO Alessandra Coderoni


Alessandra would have liked to keep the trophy for the Accoona offices and playfully struggled with Rustam on the stage for it. In the end they decided that the program probably wouldn't care that much about its human opponent getting it (in spite of the draw).


Rustam talks to the audience about his game. He said that he thought he was totally winning, but had made the mistake of using up too much time. "It is impossible to work out all the complications when you are essentially playing on the ten-second increment – and you are facing the terrible precision of this machine."


Giving interviews to the TV stations covering the event


Analysing the game with Mig Greengard for the ChessBase report


Post-match dinner at a splendid French restaurant on 55th street, with Armand Rousso, Alessandra Coderoni, Ron Henley and Rustam Kasimdzhanov.


US Chess ladies Jennifer Shahade and Elizabeth Vicary fawning over the world champion


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