Chess champion Kasparov defeats computer challenger

Monday, January 27, 2003

NEW YORK -- World chess champion Garry Kasparov defeated computerized challenger Deep Junior on Sunday in the first of six games pitting human wit against computer logic.

Kasparov forced the Israeli-programmed Deep Junior into a position from which it could not win, compelling the human moving its pieces to resign four hours into the game.

Both players' queens, the most powerful pieces on the board, were captured by the end of the game, leaving them to use less powerful knights, bishops and rooks. That gave the advantage to Kasparov, who used white pieces and moved first.

"Once he was able to remove the queens from the board, it was just arithmetic," said commentator and international grand master Maurice Ashley.

Early in the game, Deep Junior stunned experts when it paused for 25 minutes to contemplate a countermove to Kasparov's attack. Kasparov was able to parlay that into dominance for the remainder of the game, Ashley said.

The game is the first in a six-game series being played through Feb. 7 in New York. The second game is scheduled for Tuesday.

The win is a coup for Kasparov, who was beaten in 1997 by Deep Blue, an IBM supercomputer capable of 200 million chess moves per second. Kasparov claimed humans may have given hints to the computer, which was dismantled after the win.

Kasparov, 39, will be paid $500,000 by the World Chess Federation, the game's international governing body, for playing Deep Junior, which has not lost a match to a human opponent in two years. He can earn an additional $300,000 if he wins the six-game match.

Kasparov rose to chess prominence as a Soviet junior champion in 1976, at age 12. He has held the world's No. 1 point-system ranking since 1984, despite occasional losses to humans, and has achieved almost mythic status in the chess world.

Deep Junior is a three-time world champion and won the last official world chess championship for computers in July. It is capable of processing only 3 million moves per second, but its programmers say it focuses more on strategy than on capturing the opponent's chess pieces quickly.

The showdown, sanctioned by the World Chess Federation, is billed as Man vs. Machine. The games can be seen live on the Internet through sponsor X3D Technologies Corp.'s Web site,

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