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New York: January 26 to February 7 2003

Garry Kasparov drew 3-3 with the Deep Junior computer program in a $1m match in New York. The world's no.1 human player for the last 18 years risked his first anti-computer contest since the debacle against IBM's Deep Blue in 1997. The event called the "The FIDE Man Vs Machine World Chess Championship" was sponsored by FIDE and presented by X3D Technologies Corporation.


After completely outplaying the computer in the opening two games Kasparov seemed wracked by self doubt after a blunder in the third game turned a draw into a loss. Kasparov agreed premature draws in both the 5th and 6th games. He seemed to make the judgement that a damage limitation 3-3 was sufficient. Whether the best player in human history, who has just pocketed a half million dollar appearance fee, should act in such a manner is an interesting point for debate. (Prizegiving photo - GK, DJ programmers, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov).

These contests are not particularly good for chess other than supplementing the bank balance of the participant. To the non-player the fact that a lifetime's study can be matched by a bit of software retailing at under £100 hardly inspires the thought that the game has a future. However any regular tournament player knows that the computer's ability is completely irrelevant to any human v human game they play - it changes nothing.


The Deep Junior programmer team are Amir Ban & Shay Bushinsky (see right).

The match was played at classical time controls (7 hours maximum per game) over six games January 26 until February 7. Deep Junior is the reigning world computer chess program. The "players" took $250,000 prizemoney each - Kasparov received an up-front appearance fee of $500,000. Detailed coverage appeared at



Chess Scotland members can get free live coverage of the match. Chessbase, sponsors of the Grand Prix, are offering CS members a chance to use the software. is the online playing facility which is packaged with Fritz.

Watch the Kasparov v Deep Junior match on the server, where a team of experts, including on-site reporters and grandmasters will discuss the moves as they come in, directly from the board in New York.

CS Member access to PLAYCHESS.COM

IM David Levy: Former Scottish Champion David Levy (pictured left) is the president of the International Computer Games Association (ICGA) under whose auspices the match takes place. Levy famously won bets placed in the 1960s that he would not be beaten by a computer. The website reveals the background story to the Levy wagers.

   Interview with David Levy



Professor Donald Michie, founder of the Department of Machine Intelligence and Perception at Edinburgh University, invited Levy to the 1968 Artificial Intelligence (AI) workshop in the capital. Levy had won the Scottish Championship title earlier that year and was playing a friendly game against John McCarthy, a Stanford professor and a leading expert on AI. McCarthy lost to Levy but remarked, "Within 10 years there will be a program that can beat you."
"I was amazed at this bold assertion. Although McCarthy was light-years ahead of me in his understanding of computer science and AI, he was a fair way behind me in chess knowledge and I felt that he severely underestimated the problem of programming chess to a high level." Levy shook hands on a £500 bet (Levy was earning under £900 per annum at the time) that he would not lose a match to a program within 10 years. The contest excited the boffins since chess was seen as a marker for how far computing power had advanced.
The bet later doubled to £1000 and Levy's judgement proved sound since he easily defeated the CHESS 4.7 program in a 1978 match in Toronto. Levy was still supreme over machines in 1984 in a match against CRAY BLITZ but had retired from serious competiton and lost to the Deep Thought program in 1989.

(Photos by JBH)

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Chess Scotland 2002