Man Leads Machine In Chess Duel
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MAN LEADS MACHINE IN CHESS DUEL
By Will Knight
Monday, October 7, 2002
The world's best human chess player Vladimir Kramnik has taken the lead over
the planet's best computer player in a million-dollar battle between man and
Kramnik beat Deep Fritz in the second of eight matches after the computer
program made a peculiar early mistake. The computer program returned one of
its bishops to its original square in just the twelfth move, playing for a
draw. Kramnik took advantage to control the board from then on.
But in the press conference that followed the match, Kramnik admitted that
some of Deep Fritz's moves had presented significant new challenges. Of the
computer's 27th move, Kramnik said: "Only a computer would find and play
something like that. I was completely shocked."
The match comes five years after IBM's Deep Blue inflicted a shock defeat on
the then world champion, Gary Kasparov. But there are significant
differences in the way the two matches are being played.
Kasparov was not allowed to study his electronic opponent's playing style
prior to the match. By contrast, Kramnik was given a copy of Deep Fritz
three months before the start of the contest. This allowed Kramnik to
prepare in a similar way as he would for a match with a grandmaster -- by
analysing his previous games. Deep Blue was also reprogrammed following each
game, but Deep Fritz is not.
There are also big differences in the hardware involved. Deep Blue ran on
customised computer hardware that weighed 1.4 tonnes and consisted of 256
processors working in parallel. Deep Fritz, which has beaten Deep Blue,
takes a different approach. It focuses on better algorithms rather than
brute computing force. Deep Fritz's software can stored on a compact disk
and run on any modern laptop computer.
Kramnik played white in the second game giving him the advantage of making
the first move. The first game, in which Deep Fritz played white, was drawn.
Deep Fritz was created by Dutch computer programmer Frans Morsch and is
operated by a chess software company called Chessbase. The program won the
right to challenge Kramnik after it defeated the other computer opponents in
a competition held in April 2001.
The match dubbed the "Brains in Bahrain" will earn Kramnik $1 million if he
wins, $600,000 if he loses and $800,000 if the result is a draw.
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