Man vs. Machine !!


     World Champion Vladimir Kramnik and Deep Fritz 10 met in Bonn, Germany in a six game match for a prize of one million dollars.  The time control was 40 moves / 2 hours followed by 16 minutes per move until game over.


      Garry Kasparov, Robert Hubner and Vladimir Kramnik, (three of the strongest grandmasters in the world) had only been able to draw against the machine in previous encounters.  This match will prove to be the defining moment in history,where artificial intelligence has outstripped the human mind in raw calculating ability.  Moreover, this match will be ever remembered as the definition of   human fallibility.


     Game one of the encounter began with a Catalan Opening.  Kramnik’s 30th move was labeled “a real groaner” by Yasser Seriawan.*  Kramnik had accumulated some small advantages, however this move tossed most of them away.  The game ended in a hard fought 47 move draw. 


       Games three, four & five were also drawn in difficult struggles.   Gleaning quotes from various pre-game articles, gives insight into Kramniks’ view of what he was up against.  Here are a couple I found interesting in light of the result of the match:


     “In some of my training games I was absolutely thrilled.  The machine developed astonishing visions.  Fritz plays more extravagantly than any human could ever do.”


     “Perhaps I will be the last top player to face this challenge.”


     Game two saw Kramnik playing black and heading straight into the Queens Gambit Accepted.  On move three he played …b5, an ancient move which dates back to the 1600’s.  It is not however a common move found at the high levels of contemporary chess.


     Kramnik had done some serious preparation.   The game transposed into a line of the Slav Defense and by move 17 he had a comfortable game, where white could not stop the move …c5.   


After 33. Kh1 the Rooks disappear at c1 and f8. (See diagram)




It can be plainly seen, black must play King to g8.  (The GM’s analyzed a forced draw here by white which goes 34…Kg8  35.Ng6 …Bxb2  36. Qd5+ …Kh7  37.Nf8+ …Kh8   33.Ng6+ Draw)


    Instead of Kg8 Kramnik played a real howler with 34…Qe3 ??? missing 35.Qh7# 


    At the point of Kramniks massive blunder (we all share this vulnerability!) Deep Fritz was looking at 9.462 million positions a second and searching to a depth of 9 moves (26 moves in selective positions)   in 28 seconds!!


……..poor Vladimir was looking at just one.


       The final blow to humanity came in game six where the world saw Deep Fritz play what the GM’s  were calling “coffeehouse chess” (unorthodox wild moves) and crushing the little human in 47 moves.  So ends an era, not with a whimper or a bang, but with the whirr of the cooling fans !!




* Yasser Seriwan is a Grandmaster who frequented the Last Exit (on Brooklyn) in Seattle’s “U” district during the early 70’s.   Yasser was guest commentator for the match, broadcast live on the World Chess Network site (WCN).   I highly recommend the WCN site for players of all ages and strengths. “Chessbase” is a compatible program that serves as a personal database containing millions of games dating back to the 1600’s. It is an excellent tool for training and creating opening repertoires. When entering the World Chess Network through the program, a tremendous number of features open up to the user which are not available to regular online visitors. Come on down to the club when you see me around and I’ll give you a demonstration. (Or call 301-4348 and we’ll make arrangements)….DM