She had him on the ropes!

11/17/2002 – How often have you been a piece up against Garry Kasparov? How often in two separate games? Well, 17-year-old Elisabeth Pähtz did, and had the world's strongest player fighting for survival in two games. in the end, however, Germany's rising chess star succumbed to the five hundred point Elo difference. You will find our illustrated report here.

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This week the eastern German chip manufacturer "Zentrum Mikroelektronik Dresden" (ZMD) were showing their products at the Electonica in Munich. CEO Thilo von Selchow is a great friend of Garry Kasparov and invited him to be at the ZMD stand – to play some exhibition games and meet the press. The two men go back some time, as we reported in a previous news item.


The front of the ZMD stand, where the chess event was held

The ZMD stand in Munich was well visited, especially on the day of Kasparov's visit. There were a number of TV cameras present, plus a team of Hollywood, led by Vikram Jayanti. They are making a documentary on Kasparov vs Deep Blue and followed Kasparov around all over the fair.

Vikram is the producer of The Man Who Bought Mustique and When We Were Kings. For the latter, which centres around the 1974 heavyweight championship match in Kinshasa between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman, received an Oscar for Best Feature Documentary in 1997, after taking $2.67m at the box office.

But the main item on the adgenda was chess, and a special match against German's young star Elisabeth Pähtz. Elli is 17 and blessed with a 2349 Elo. That is almost five hundred less than Kasparov, and so a time handicap was agreed: Kasparov got eight minutes and Elisabeth sixteen for the entire game.


Elli Pähtz starts off in fine style, pushing Kasparov to the edge


After a while Elli gets into trouble with the determined play of her opponent

The first three games were by no means a push-over. In two of them, games one and three, Garry Kasparov was a piece down, and it looked like Elli would actually get a full point from one of them. "She is tough and imaginative," said Garry, "but she has weak nerves." He attributed his own poor play in these first game to not being really awake at 10 in the morning.


A "round table" with Spiegel reporter Erich Follath and ZMD's Thilo von Selchow


A photo op with Garry and Elisabeth


And signing a copy of his book on...


Kasparov against The World, of which he is justly proud


Searching for Deep Blue – a visit at the IBM stand

The visit at the IBM stand was quite hilarious. Garry asked one of the representative about Deep Blue and suggested they should show the ASIC chess chips at electronic fairs such as the this. "No, we never do that," said the IBM man. "But if you are interested in chess you should go to ZMD. I think they have Garry Kasparov there in person today!"


With Hollywood documentary filmer Vikram Jayanti


Back to work, with the media filming every second of it


Kasparov in a spot of trouble, but not letting a single game go to Elli


This is how hard it is to face the strongest player on the planet

In the afternoon Garry was wide awake and showed exactly what 500 Elo points translates to. In the end he had taken all six games, which you can replay on our Javascript boards here.


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