Kasparov vs Deep Junior ends in 3-3 draw

2/8/2003 – The final game of the epic Man vs Machine match between Garry Kasparov and Deep Junior ended today in a 3-3 tie. With millions of TV viewers watching Kasparov came out fighting, but with the black pieces he was unable to gain enough to secure a clear win. Here is a short report and the game.

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Reports
Live coverage
Score
 
1
2
3
4
5
6
total
Garry Kasparov
1
½
0
½
½
½
3
Deep Junior
0
½
1
½
½
½
3

Half a win, half a loss

The final game of the first official man-machine world chess championship lived up to the hype for exactly 55 half-moves. It all came crashing to the ground when after 28.f4 the Deep Junior team offered a draw and Garry Kasparov accepted, ending the game just when commentators were predicting an exciting conclusion with good winning chances for Kasparov. This ended the match in a 3-3 tie, with one win for each and four draws. It was a disappointing finish to what has been two weeks of interesting and occasionally thrilling chess.

The players received $250,000 each, splitting the prize money along with the match points. FIDE president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov awarded the checks and gave a short speech (in halting but clear and precise English instead of through his usual interpreter).

When the draw was announced waves of disbelief rippled through the standing-room-only audience and the Grandmasters in attendance were hard pressed to come up with an explanation for Kasparov's decision to accept the draw offer. GM Lev Alburt theorized that Kasparov was ill, although this turned out not to be the case. In the press conference Kasparov explained his decision with typical bluntness. "Of course I wanted to win, but the top priority on my agenda today was not to lose."

Kasparov had offered a draw himself five moves earlier, right after sacrificing the exchange with the powerful 23...Rxc3! This thematic Sicilian sacrifice garnered a center pawn and provided Black with good chances to play for a win according to just about every GM in the room. (US Champion Alexander Shabalov was the notable exception.) But Kasparov was feeling the intense pressure of the match, the fear of repeating his experience in game six against Deep Blue in 1997, and the unpleasant results of the previous four games. To add to his apprehension, Kasparov had completely missed Junior's clever 25.Bc1-a3 maneuver and was no longer enthusiastic about his position.

After the final move (diagram) Black has a solid and promising position after 28...f6. Black is going to walk his king to the center and push his central pawns down the board. You cannot question Kasparov's chess knowledge, but it would appear that psychological factors had more influence than chess factors on his decision to take the draw. Just minutes before the draw came, Alburt said, "There is a 50% chance that Kasparov will win and a 50% chance of a draw." Well, it was a draw, but Lev did not have it in mind on the next move!

Both Kasparov and the Junior team were full of praise for each other's play in the closing press conference. Junior programmers Amir Ban and Shay Bushinsky complimented Kasparov for playing "courageous" chess and helping to create the exciting games. Kasparov highlighted the speculative and "intelligent" playing style that Junior exhibited, particularly the move of the match, 10...Bxh2+ from game five.

Kasparov rued that he was unable to capitalize on advantageous positions in games two and three. The drawn result is good for everyone and bad for everyone. Kasparov didn't lose, but failed to prove the human superiority of which he spoke so often. Junior drew a match with the world number one, but failed to emulate Deep Blue's success despite its creators' frequent references to their program's superiority over the IBM machine.

A full in-depth report on the event with comments from Kasparov and the Deep Junior team will be posted this weekend.


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