Twenty Years On From Deep Blue vs Kasparov: How A Chess Match Started The Big Data Revolution



By Mark Robert Anderson in The Conversation.


On the seventh move of the crucial deciding game, black made what some now consider to have been a critical error. When black mixed up the moves for the Caro-Kann defence, white took advantage and created a new attack by sacrificing a knight. In just 11 more moves, white had built a position so strong that black had no option but to concede defeat. The loser reacted with a cry of foul play – one of the most strident accusations of cheating ever made in a tournament, which ignited an international conspiracy theory that is still questioned 20 years later.

This was no ordinary game of chess. It’s not uncommon for a defeated player to accuse their opponent of cheating – but in this case the loser was the then world chess champion, Garry Kasparov. The victor was even more unusual: IBM supercomputer, Deep Blue.

In defeating Kasparov on May 11 1997, Deep Blue made history as the first computer to beat a world champion in a six-game match under standard time controls. Kasparov had won the first game, lost the second and then drawn the following three. When Deep Blue took the match by winning the final game, Kasparov refused to believe it.


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