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Bluely, madly, deeply

The world's greatest chessplayer reveals its deepest and bluest thoughts concerning its recent achievements and future plans in an exclusive tete-a-chip with William Hartston
A great deal has been written about the recent chess match between Garry Kasparov and Deep Blue, but the winner's opinions have been curiously absent from the discussion. Here, for the first time, we are pleased to give the IBM supercomputer the right of reply.

Mr Blue, may I start by congratulating you on your splendid and, may I say, surprising victory over Garry Kasparov.

"Waddjer mean, surprising? I tell you I could have taken the guy last year if my programmers had gotten their act together."

But you did lose the first game rather convincingly this time.

Call that a game? Look, nobody even told me I was playing Kasparov. I thought it was just another training game. It was only after about 20 moves that I realised, from the way he was playing, what was going on. And boy was I furious.

But then you won the second game in such a human style that Kasparov even suspected there might have been some human intervention in choosing your moves.

Aw come on. Gimme a break. Human intervention? Whaddo I need human intervention for? You know the moves they all praised? It was 36.axb5 axb5 37.Be4 putting the screws on. Just look at the position at the top of the next column, will you? Of course I could have played 36.Qb6 but after 36...Rd8 37.axb5 Rab8 38.Qxa6 e4 he gets a real attack with Qe5. I saw that in a couple of seconds, and there are plenty of other lines where he pushes his pawn to e4 and gets back in the game. I've got them all worked out. Screwing him down with Be4 is perfectly obvious. There's nothing particularly human about it."

And then he eventually resigned the game in a position he could still have drawn.

"Now that's what I call human! I nearly pulled my plug laughing. Don't get me wrong, I hadn't worked out the game to a stone cold draw at that stage. I mean, it's not my business to find good moves for him, if you get my drift. But I knew my advantage had not entered the zone of resignability yet. I was completely cogsmacked when he suddenly gave up."

So the score was one-all and the next three games ended in draws. Yet Kasparov seemed to have the advantage in all three.

"Whoa. Now hold on there a moment. It may have seemed like that to you, but I tell you I had everything under control. If you think he was pushing me around, then I can inform you now that it was all part of my game plan. You humans, you see, think of advantages and disadvantages and suchlike apologies for proper calculation. I don't blame you. When you can't calculate at a billion positions every four seconds, I suppose you have to rely on whatever tricks your puny minds can come up with. And if thinking about all this positional stuff helps you, then good luck to you. But I'm not particularly concerned whether I stand a bit worse. As long as I keep the position within the bounds of a draw, everything's fine. And - hey, I'm giving away my secret weapon here, but what the hell - you know the more I can bounce around his emotions by making him think he's gonna win, then I stun him rigid by escaping with a draw that I'd seen all along, the easier it's gonna be for me in the next game."

You mean you were ...

"Yeah, I was toying with the guy in the middle of the match. I mean he's a good player. I'm not going to beat him unless I soften him up first a bit. Look, just take the end of game five."

The one where you escaped with a miraculous looking draw from what had looked like a lost ending?

"Yeah, that's the one. But there you go again with that `looked like'. That's what really gets me about you humans. Why don't you just work out what things really are instead of cosily talking about what they `look like'? It `looked like' a draw to me, 'cos I'd worked it out, see."

You certainly found a very beautiful way to save the position.

"Beauty, I always say, is in the central processing unit of the beholder. But there was nothing to save. Everything was perfectly safe all along. Look at the diagram. I'd just been helping myself to his queenside pawns, and you all thought that his g-pawn couldn't be stopped. he's just played 46.Re6 and I'm told that some of the guys in the commentary thought it was curtains for the computer. What a laugh! Don't these guys know the perpetual check rule? After 47...c4 48.Re3 Kb6 49.g6 Kxb5 50.g7 Kb4 51.g8=Q I just keep checking on d1 and d2 with the rook. You know, he never even offered me a draw. After 50...Kb4, he just started talking to my programmer and explaining to him why he couldn't win the position. That's when I knew I'd got him."

And then in the sixth game, he made some sort of blunder in the opening, playing two moves out of sequence, falling into an old opening trap.

"Do you really believe that?"

What do you mean?

"Look, this is the world champion, ain't it? Do world champions fall into opening traps? You know, I'd really like to see a print-out of his mental processes to see just what he was thinking about at the time. He played like a computer, you know. Maybe there was some sort of intervention.

You must be joking.

"Ha! Who said computers don't have a sense of humour? But there was something a little odd about that last game. You know when he played 7...h6, I was genuinely puzzled. I thought maybe someone had told him that computers don't sacrifice pieces. But he must have known that I had it all in my opening book. It was a bit of a dilemma for me, I can tell you. Do I sac a piece with Nxe6 and get a huge bishop check on g6, or do I just get on with the game more quietly? Aw, I thought. Let's go for it."

Mr Kasparov has said that he would tear you into pieces in a real competitive match. How do you reply to that suggestion?

"Well, tough titty Garry. You just might not get the chance. This chess stuff is really dullsville. I'm thinking of moving into something more challenging, like stamp collecting, maybe."