Last Monday, Garry Kasparov wrote in the Wall Street Journal about his match against Deep Junior. The world's top-rated player blamed IBM for dismantling Deep Blue, a multimillion-dollar machine that beat him in 1997, thus terminating a scientific experiment. But in his book "Behind Deep Blue," the chief programmer, Feng-Hsiung Hsu, says that he personally offered Kasparov to rebuild Deep Blue, if he would agree to play a match. Kasparov declined.
The Deep Blue syndrome is not fading away. Last month Springer-Verlag issued Monty Newborn's insightful book "Deep Blue -- An Artificial Intelligence Milestone." It includes printouts, analysis, time logs, difficult positions for the machine, and, to confuse us all, practice games by a machine called "Deep Blue Junior."
Fateful Sacrifices In two matches, against Deep Blue and Deep Junior, Kasparov unwisely allowed each program to make a dangerous sacrifice in the opening. The chips played it, but behind each sacrifice was a human spirit.
"In game five of my match with Deep Junior it played an imaginative sacrifice of the type generally considered impossible for a computer player. It was a landmark moment for computer chess and the science and programmers behind it, " Kasparov wrote. However, the Hungarian grandmaster Joseph Horvath analyzed that sacrifice almost 14 years ago and Kasparov and Deep Junior only re-enacted it.
Moreover, this kind of sacrifice doomed Kasparov against Deep Blue in the decisive sixth game of the 1997 match. Hsu calls it a "$300,000 gamble" and describes in detail why Kasparov deliberately allowed it. "Several of the top commercial chess programs at the time were explicitly prohibited in their opening books from playing the knight sacrifice that Deep Blue played," Hsu writes. But the sacrifice was successfully performed in human tournaments. I remember the cheerful smile of Nick DeFirmian, a former U.S. champion, when he told me how he punched the sacrifice into Deep Blue's opening book about a month before the match. Deep Blue played it instantly, beating Kasparov in 19 moves and winning the match.
Bundesliga's Masterpiece Two top teams of the powerful German Bundesliga clashed earlier this months. The defending champion Lubeck conquered Porz 5-3. Some of the world's best players were in the lineups. Alexei Shirov, playing on the champion team, defeated the top-rated Dutchman Loek Van Wely in the Sicilian. It is always a joy to follow Shirov's beautiful and sometimes unpredictable combinations.
Shirov -- Van Wely
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bb5 (Shirov avoids the dreaded Lasker-Sveshnikov variation 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 e5. He did not have much success against it lately.) 4...Qc7 5.0-0 e6 6.Re1 Ng4?! (Starting a battle for control of the dark central squares. After 6...d6 7.d4 cxd4 white can spice it with 8.Nd5!) 7.Bxc6 bxc6 8.e5! f6 (Black needs to undermine the e-pawn, but is left behind in developing the light pieces.) 9.d4 cxd4 10.Qxd4 fxe5 11.Nxe5 Nxe5 12.Rxe5 Be7 (Preparing to castle, black hopes to survive.)
13.Bg5! (Shirov in his element, ready to sacrifice an exchange for a raid on the dark squares.) 13...Bd6? (White has great compensation after 13...d6 14.Bxe7! dxe5 15.Qc5!, for example 15...Rb8 16.Bd6 Qb6 17.Qxe5 Qxb2 18.Re1 Rb7 19.Qh5+! g6 20.Qe5 Rg8 21.Bc5. But chasing the queen from the center 13...Qb6 14.Qd2 gives black a somewhat playable game after 14...Bxg5 15.Rxg5 0-0, but not 14...Qxb2? 15.Rb1 Qa3 16.Ne4 d5 17.Rb3 Qxa2 18.Qc3! dxe4 19.Bxe7 Kxe7 20.Ra5 and white wins.)
14.Bf4 (Shirov follows his heart, but stronger would be 14.Rf5!, for example 14...exf5 15.Qxg7 Bxh2+ 16.Kh1 Qe5 17.Bf6 wins; or 14...Rg8 15.Bf4 with a clear advantage.) 14...c5 (After 14...Bxe5 15.Bxe5 Qb6 16.Qg4! Rf8 17.Ne4 black should not last long.) 15.Qe3 a6 (Black has to waste time because of the threat 16.Nb5, but better seems 15...Rb8.)
16.Nd5! (Shirov loves to create a mosaic from his hanging pieces.) 16...Qc6 (After 16...Qb8 17.Rf5 Bxf4 18.Rxf4 Bb7 19.Nb6! white has a considerable advantage, e.g. 19...Bxg2 20.Nxd7! Kxd7 21.Rf7+ Kc6 22.Kxg2 Qd6 23.c4, threatening to win with 24.Qf3+.) 17.Rg5 h6 (After 17...Bb7 18.Bxd6 Qxd6 19.Rd1! black has problems. But now the game is over.)
18.Bxd6! hxg5 (After 18...Qxd6 19.Rd1! wins.) 19.Rd1! Rh6 (Hopeless is 19...Qxd6 20.Nf6+ Ke7 21.Ng8+! Rxg8 22.Qxg5+ Kf7 23.Rxd6 and white wins.) 20.Ne7! (Stronger than winning back the exchange with 20.Nc7+.) 20...Qa4 (After 20...Qb7 21.Qxg5 Qxb2 22.Ng8 Kf7 23.Nxh6+ gxh6 24.Qh5+ Kg8 25.Be5 wins.) 21.Qf3 Bb7 (On 21...Rb8 22.Ng6! white mates.) 22.Qxb7 (Faster was 22.Nd5, for example 22...0-0-0? 23.Nb6 mate; or 22...Qf4?! 23.Nc7+ Kf7 24.Qxb7 winning.) 22...Rd8 23.Ng8 Rh8 (On 23...Qxc2 24.Qf3! ends it.) 24.Qf3! Rxg8 25.Qh5+ (After 25...g6 26.Qh7 black can't prevent mate on e7.) Black resigned.
Solution to today's fragment from a study by D. Petrov (White: Ke3,Rd8,Bb3,Bh4; Black: Kg4,Rb4): 1.Rd4+! Rxd4 2. Be7!! (the rook is caught in the center of the board) 2...Rf4 3.Be6 Kg3 (On 3...Rf5 4.Bf6 wins.) 4.Bd6 wins.