Kasparov going with the Times

1/21/2003 – Paul Hoffman is a regular writer for the New York Times. He is also a chess enthusiast who manages to get stories on computers and grandmasters it the pages of the broadsheet. Once again Paul has struck and produced a long and very readable article on the upcoming Kasparov vs Deep Junior match in the science section. You will need to register (free) to read it. For those who can't here is a short synopsis.

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Chess Champion Faces Off With New Computer

Paul Hoffman begins his tale of Man vs Machine with the 19th Century "Turk", in which a human being was concealed, and it's game against Napolian. He draws parallels to Garry Kasparov's epic battle against Deep Blue in 1997, where the world champion suspected similar foul play to have been employed. Now almost six years later, Kasparov "has found an appropriate silicon stand-in for the I.B.M. machine". On Sunday, he begins a six-game $1 million match against an Israeli program, Deep Junior, the three-time world computer chess champion.

Paul has spoken to a number of people and quotes Bruce Pandolfini as saying: "Garry is the greatest human player ever. He wants to restore man's supremacy in chess by thrashing the computer. And he wants to upstage Vladimir." And in view of Kasparov's having lost his title to Vladimir Kramnik and not having a shot at winning it back until November, at the earliest, Alexander Baburin says: "In the meantime, Garry will have to be content with trying to better Vladimir's accomplishments."

Paul Hoffman describes the match beween Kramnik and Deep Fritz last October in Bahrain and compares the rules of all three matches (Kasparov vs Deep Blue 1997, Kramnik vs Fritz 2002, and the upcoming match). "The organizers of Mr. Kasparov's contest with Deep Junior are trying to strike a balance between the computer-friendly conditions of the Deep Blue competition and the pro-human rules of the Deep Fritz match. 'I've received a relatively fresh copy of the software,' Mr. Kasparov said. 'Although the programmers are allowed to tinker with it all they want, except when we are actually playing.'"

The article also quotes Frederic Friedel of ChessBase as saying "Junior is a street brawler. You remember `West Side Story'? It's the Jets. It will be constantly taunting Garry. `Do you want to fight with knives? Whips? Pistols? Machine guns? You choose the weapon.' If he knows what's best for him, he'll say, `Let's stay in the ring and keep these big soft gloves on.' But it's not his nature to duck a challenge. My advice to Garry is to stay focused and get a lot of rest. The machine will never tire or fret over a loss."

"Junior is very humanlike," Mr. Kasparov said. "It's a computer version of me. It plays forcefully, imaginatively and takes risks."

The full article is on the NYT web site, which requires free registry. We have used this service for years and advise you to use it too. In the meantime here are the chess examples Paul Hoffman uses to introduce his users to computer chess.


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