Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Kasparov and Computer Chess

No, this blog is not about the match between Kasparov and Deep Blue back in the 90's. Rather, my interest for this blog post was to see just quite how good computers are nowadays (almost 20 years after the Deep Blue matches). So, I had my Chess Program (Fritz 12) on my desktop PC analyze what is widely considered the greatest game of chess ever played. Now, I do not have the multi-processor version of Fritz, but I thought the commercial version would be good enough (and it is). The game I'm about to go through was played at the Wijk aan Zee, Netherlands Super GM Tournament in 1999. Garry Kasparov played white. The move I set my computer to do a deep positional analysis of was 24. Rxd4. Kasparov offers a rook for a pawn. This sacrifice is SOOOOOO deep. Black regretfully accepted and Kasparov got a winning position almost 20 moves later. Experts use to believe that computers will never be able to match the power of the human mind as far as chess is considered. But now the question is not can a computer win a match against the best human player, rather the question is can a human win just one game against a computer. I believe the answer is "no", or will soon be "no" if not already.

What was interesting to see was what my computer had to say about the game. And, YES, it saw the move 24. Rxd4 !! I was very surprised. In fact, it even decided not to make the rook sacrifice because black is better off refusing to take the rook and playing 24 ...Kb6 instead. So, my computer suggests instead of the rook sacrifice to continue 24.Nc6+. And another question, if 24.Nc6+ was technically a better move then is this really the best game of chess ever played? I'll leave that for you to decide.

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