Kasparov strangles X3D Fritz in game three

11/17/2003 – Just in case you thought the rise of the machines was inevitable, Garry Kasparov stood up for humanity in game three against X3D Fritz in New York City. Actually, it was more a case of X3D Fritz lying down while Kasparov rolled over it like he was the Terminator instead of the human. The match is now tied 1.5-1.5. The final game is Tuesday and X3D Fritz will have white. Report and full analysis.

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Kasparov strikes back to even the score

The stakes could hardly have been higher in game three. A win was the only way Kasparov could hope to win the match. Another loss and the fourth game would be only a formality. A draw and Kasparov's back would be against the wall in the fourth game with the disadvantage of the black pieces.

In some games computers play chess so well you wonder how humans have any chance at all against them. Then they have games like this one and you wonder how humans can ever lose! Garry Kasparov completely dominated X3D Fritz in game three to bounce back from his horrible blunder in the second game and even the score with one game left to play.

X3D Fritz looked completely confused almost from the beginning. The opening moves of the game created a closed position with very little active play for the powerful pieces. In such positions the human ability to make long-term plans becomes far more effective than the machine's ability to calculate variations.

Replay the fully annotated game online and download PGN

Kasparov made it look easy and really it seemed quite easy indeed. X3D Fritz never realized it had to attack with its kingside pawns. Without that sole source of counterplay it was only a matter of time before Kasparov broke through and wrapped things up on the kingside. There really isn't much to analyze in terms of variations. The only possible plan for Black was completely ignored by X3D Fritz so the game was totally one-sided. Had the computer advanced its f and g-pawns it would have been an interesting battle.

The X3D Fritz team stepped in and stopped the carnage on move 45 in the position below. X3D Fritz's evaluation was still only around a pawn and a half in White's favor, far from a decisive advantage in its judgment. But the machine was showing no sign of figuring out what to do and the humans in charge of the machine wanted to put a stop to what had already been a thoroughly humiliating experience.


Game 3: final position after 45.Rb3. 1-0

In the final position there is nothing Black can do about Kasparov's plan to double his rooks on the a-file and invade. Soon his extra b-pawn will promote to a new queen, or force the win of a decisive amount of material. For example: 45...Ne8 46.Rba3 Nc8 47.Nb4 Rab8 48.Ra8 Bg5 49.Rxb8 Rxb8 50.Ra6 Bd8 51.Qa4 Ne7 52.Ra8 Rxa8 53.Qxa8 and the b-pawn can't be stopped.

What can we expect in Tuesday's final game four? X3D Fritz creator Frans Morsch likes their chances with the white piece. Kasparov frankly admitted he wasn't going into it as a must-win game, saying that he wanted to play good chess and see what would happen.


After the game Kasparov happily explains that he was more worried about
what he had missed in game two than what was going on in game three.


Kasparov could have won this one in his sleep.


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