Kasparov blunders in Wild Game, leaving the match Even

In Game 3 of the Man vs. Machine World Computer Chess Championship, Garry Kasparov had a way to force a draw but thought that he had better. Instead, Garry blundered and found that he had lost.

Game 3. Position before 32. Rh5. Kasparov can force a draw with 32. Ng6+ Kg7 33. Nf4 Kh8. Instead, Kasparov played 32. Rh5 which loses to 32. ... Nxd4 threatening mate with 33. ... Nb3+.

The game is almost too difficult to analyze. It began the same as in Game 1, until the computer varied on move 6.

Kasparov got the advantage in the opening but could not find a way to win. The computer played moves no human would ever play, castling right into Kasparovfs strong kingside attack. Later, the computer grabbed a pawn few humans would dare to take. Kasparov seemed to be tottering on the brink of defeat, but found good moves. Finally, Kasparov found a way to force a draw. However, he thought he had more and could win. His winning move turned out to be a blunder and he lost.

The game was filled with incredible moves. For example, 22. ... Qb8 was a move nobody expected. The critical position came on move 32. Here, Kasparov could play 32. Ng6+. The computer cannot play 32. ... Kg8 because there will be a knight fork coming up. After 33. Qxf5 Qxf5 34. Ne7+ forking the king and queen, White wins.

Therefore, the computer must play 32. ... Kg7. However, now Kasparov could just retreat back with 33. Nf4. Kasparov threatens to win the knight with 34. Ne6+ plus he will have queen and rook checks, so the computer must go back with 33. ... Kh8.

If this had been played, the game would have been a draw by repetition of position with 32. Kg6+ Kg7 33. Nf4 Kh8 34. Kg6+ Kg7 and so on.

However, Kasparov thought he saw a win. Kasparov played 32. Rh5. Now, Kasparov seems to be winning. The knight on f5 cannot be defended and after the knight moves Kasparov is threatening mates with his queen and rook attacking h7.

What Kasparov overlooked was that the computer has a mate threat of its own.

Take a look and see if you can find it.

After the computer played 32. ... Nxd4, Kasparov immediately realized that he had blundered. Kasparov had gotten up and had walked away from the board, but "saw" the blunder before even looking back at the position.

After 33. Ng6+ Kg8 34. Ne7+ Kf8, the moves Kasparov had planned, Garry had thought that he could play 35. Rxh7 and mate will soon follow with Garry's rook, knight and queen bearing down on the unprotected king.

What Garry had overlooked was that he cannot play 35. Rxh7 because of the blockbuster 35. ... Nb3+. Now, if 36. axb3, Qd1# is checkmate. If 36. Kc2, the computer has two different ways to mate, the easiest being 36. ... Na1+ 37. Kc3 Qd2+ 38. Kc4 b5+ 39. Kc5 Qd6# checkmate.

The moment the computer played 32. ... Nxd4, Garry saw the mate coming, but he had nothing better than to play 33.Ng6+ Kg8 34.Ne7+ Kf8 anyway. Finally, Garry resigned, seeing that he would reach a queen and pawn endgame two pawns down. Against a human, Garry might have played on hoping for a blunder, but computers never blunder, so Garry gave up.

Position before 32. Rh5. Kasparov can force a draw with 32. Ng6+ Kg7 33. Nf4 Kh8. Instead, Kasparov played 32. Rh5 which loses to 32. ... Nxd4, threatening mate with 33. ... Nb3+.

[Event "FIDE Man-Machine World Championship"]
[Site "New York USA"]
[Date "2003.01.30"]
[Round "03"]
[White "Kasparov, Garry"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "D45"]
[WhiteElo "2847"]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e3 e6 5.Nf3 Nbd7 6.Qc2 b6 7.cxd5 exd5
8.Bd3 Be7 9.Bd2 O-O 10.g4 Nxg4 11.Rg1 Ndf6 12.h3 Nh6 13.e4 dxe4
14.Bxh6 exd3 15.Rxg7+ Kh8 16.Qxd3 Rg8 17.Rxg8+ Nxg8 18.Bf4 f6
19.O-O-O Bd6 20.Qe3 Bxf4 21.Qxf4 Bxh3 22.Rg1 Qb8 23.Qe3 Qd6
24.Nh4 Be6 25.Rh1 Rd8 26.Ng6+ Kg7 27.Nf4 Bf5 28.Nce2 Ne7 29.Ng3
Kh8 30.Nxf5 Nxf5 31.Qe4 Qd7 32.Rh5 Nxd4 33.Ng6+ Kg8 34.Ne7+ Kf8
35.Nd5 Qg7 36.Qxd4 Rxd5 0-1

Garry is now in serious trouble in this match. He has obtained an advantage in all three games of the match, but now has only an even score to show for it, as compared to the three points he would have had with these positions against a human opponent. Garry has three more games to play but will have black in two of them.

What will Garry do? Will he change his style, playing like he did in the Deep Blue match, with dull out-of-book moves?

One saving grace is that Garry now has two rest days to think about this and to plan. He will come back on Sunday rested and prepared. In the Deep Blue match in 1997, right after a long, grueling but well played Game 5, Garry had to come back the next day and play again and played the worst game of his life.

Still, even with two rest days now, Garry no longer has the advantage in the match. Garry is no longer the favorite to win. The Computer, which never tires, is the favorite to win or at least to draw the match.

Sam Sloan

Follow the match on my website and related links at http://www.samsloan.com/manmach3.htm

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