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The Independent Culture
Humankind has struck back in the Aegon "Man vs Machine" contest in The Hague where the humans now lead by 133-117 after five rounds. Yasser Seirawan and John van der Wiel have won all their games, leaving the top machine, QUEST, a full point behind.

Rafael Vaganyan, half a point behind the leaders on 41/2, showed excellent silicon-bashing technique in this game from round five. Running out of opening theory after 11 moves, the machine showed that it had no idea what it was doing by going on an extremely ill-advised pawn hunt. In the final position, White is mated after 21.Bxf4 Bxf4 22.Qc2 (as good as anything) Qxh2+ 23.Kf1 Qh1+ 24.Ke2 Re8+ 25.Kd3 Qe4.

This must all have been just beyond the computer's calculating horizon when it went after the pawn. A human would have seen the shattered K-side and decided not to let it happen. As far as the machine was concerned, however, it was just a pawn up.

White: TURNING POINT

Black: Rafael Vaganyan

1 e4 e6 12 Qa4 Bh5

2 d4 d5 13 Bxc6 bxc6

3 Nd2 c5 14 Nxc6 Nxc6

4 exd5 exd5 15 Qxc6 Rc8

5 Ngf3 Nc6 16 Qa4 Bxf3

6 Bb5 Bd6 17 gxf3 Rc4

7 0-0 Ne7 18 b4 Qh4

8 dxc5 Bxc5 19 Rd1 Qh3

9 Nb3 Bd6 20 f4 Rxf4

10 Nbd4 0-0 White resigns

11 c3 Bg4

Meanwhile, strange things are happening in Monte Carlo where a dozen of the world's top players are competing in the Melody Amber rapid-play and blindfold tournament. After Anatoly Karpov had won both his games against Gata Kamsky in the opening round, the Fide champion clearly felt that he had achieved his main objective. He lost his next four matches by 1/2-11/2 (usually losing the blindfold game and drawing the rapid-play), and now trails in the bottom half of the field. The leader, with an impressive 9/10, is Vladimir Kramnik.

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