Kasparov learned it all from Sam Sloan with G4

Garry Kasparov easily defeated World Computer Champion Deep Junior tonight by playing Sam Sloan's move g4. Kasparov said in a press conference after the game that he realized that the computer would not know what to do if faced with this move g4 and that the computer would lose.

Final Position in Game 1 after Kasparov played 27. Rc7.

And so it did. Almost immediately after Kasparov played the magic move g4, the computer started to self destruct. One imagines that if we could have seen the computer, we would have seen smoke coming out of it.

It soon became a question of which of the many ways to win the game would Kasparov choose. By move 13, Kasparov already had at least four ways to win the game. He could have played 13. Be2, threatening to grab the pawn with dxe5 or Nxe5 and after exchanges picking up the stranded knight on h5. That knight could not have been defended with g6 because after being taken by the bishop there would be a gaping hole in black's king position.

Another way for Kasparov to win on move 13 would have been to play 13. g6 sacrificing a pawn and after 13. ... hxg6 14. Rg1 White would have a strong king-side attack.

Still another way to win would have been 13. Rg1 threatening to play g6 later.

The move Kasparov actually played 13. d5 was surprising but effective.

On move 17, the computer thought for a long time and then played the silly exchange sacrifice 17. ... Rae8. This showed a weakness shared by all computer programs because a human player in this position would have realized that the position was bad but would have fought on hoping for an error by the opponent. However, a computer only wants to improve the internal score it keeps of the value of its position.

Finally, Kasparov could have ended the game in a spectacular way by sacrificing his queen with 25. Qxc8+ Bxc8 26. Rxc8+ Nf8 27. Nxb3 followed by Bc5 and mate soon. However, Kasparov preferred the less dramatic method of forcing a trade of queens with 25. Qxb3, relying on the fact that he was the exchange ahead and therefore had a routine win in the endgame. This was the equivalent in American football where, with only a few seconds remaining on the clock but the team with the ball being ahead on the scoreboard, the quarterback will simply drop to the ground and run out the clock rather than run a play.

Shay Bushinsky, one of the programmers of Deep Junior, said after the game that they will have to change the program so that this does not happen again.

The decision by Kasparov to play a move like g4 marks the beginning of a new era in man vs. computer chess. Until now, conventional wisdom has been that the human must simplify, trade queens early and try to win in the endgame. Humans have been afraid to play sharp tactical moves, because computers never make an error in calculation, whereas humans often do.

However, one major weakness in computers is the "horizon effect". Computers calculate accurately but only for a certain number of moves. If the human is playing an eight move combination not involving checks and captures but the computer can only see seven moves ahead, the computer will fall into the trap and the human will win.

Sam Sloan has been playing g4 exclusively since 1976. They laughed when he started playing this move, but they are not laughing any more, because since then Sloan has defeated many masters with this move and strong chess players all over the world are taking it up.

Kasparov will be paid $500,000 by FIDE for playing Deep Junior. He can earn an additional $300,000 if he wins the match. The event is sponsored by X3D Technologies Corporation, which makes special 3D glasses useful for watching events such as this chess match. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the President of FIDE and Kalmykia, is present. The event is moderated by Grandmasters Maurice Ashley and Yasser Seirawan.

Sam Sloan

Final Position in Game 1 after Kasparov played 27. Rc7.


[Event "FIDE Man-Machine WC"]
[Site "New York USA"]
[Date "2003.01.26"]
[Round "01"]
[White "Kasparov, Garry"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D45"]
[WhiteElo "2847"]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e3 e6 5.Nf3 Nbd7 6.Qc2 Bd6 7.g4 dxc4
8.Bxc4 b6 9.e4 e5 10.g5 Nh5 11.Be3 O-O 12.O-O-O Qc7 13.d5 b5
14.dxc6 bxc4 15.Nb5 Qxc6 16.Nxd6 Bb7 17.Qc3 Rae8 18.Nxe8 Rxe8
19.Rhe1 Qb5 20.Nd2 Rc8 21.Kb1 Nf8 22.Ka1 Ng6 23.Rc1 Ba6 24.b3
cxb3 25.Qxb3 Ra8 26.Qxb5 Bxb5 27.Rc7 1-0

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