Kasparov vs Deep Blue on BBC Four

8/17/2004 – The Hollywood documentary "Game Over: Kasparov and the Machine", is being aired tonight on free-to-view BBC Four TV. It's a "gripping Storyvill film about world chess champion Gary Kasparov's controversial battles against IBM's Deep Blue computer". The broadcast is at 9pm British time, with a repeat at 11:50pm. Don't miss it...

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The Hollywood documentary will be shown on BBC Four tonight at 9pm. You can see it all over Great Britain (England , Scotland, Wales, Ireland and other territories), but also in neighboring countries (Holland, parts of France) and countries which have BBC Four on their cable systems. Sky TV viewers also can watch the movie as part of their package.

Interview with producer and director Vikram Jayanti. Excerpts:

BBC Four: How did you approach making a film that non-chess players would enjoy?

Vikram Jayanti: It's a fight movie – you get a face-off between man and machine – but it's also a thriller. Kasparov is Russian and Russia's a nation with a talent for conspiracy theories. I thought if I could dramatise Gary's paranoia about what was going on then we'd have a film that anybody would be riveted by – it's like watching gladiatorial combat: you daren't look away.

BBC Four: Kasparov clearly believes that IBM cheated in some way. How much credence do you give his theory?

VJ: I don't think it really matters what I believe but there's a huge body of opinion in chess that Deep Blue made two moves that could not have been made by a computer. These moves are the fulcrum of the film – when they happen you watch Kasparov collapse, you watch a man fall apart because either the fix is in or the machine is capable of things he isn't prepared for. I think there's ample ambiguity to think that the fix was in. Definitely IBM played hardball. They mastered the psychological warfare that's part of championship chess and they deployed all the resources of a giant corporation to break Kasparov. I'm not sure he'll ever be the same again. He was like a finely tuned clock that got stamped on. Ultimately, whether they cheated or not, the breaking of Kasparov was an act of enormous cultural vandalism.


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