Machine beats man yet again at chess grand prix

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The Independent Online
PENTIUM Genius 2, the computer chess program that beat the world champion Garry Kasparov, continued its remarkable progress in the Intel Grand Prix in London yesterday, defeating the Bosnian grandmaster Predrag Nikolic to earn a place in today's semi-final.

Nikolic seemed to have the machine's measure in their first game, playing simply and exploiting its errors, to reach an objectively winning position. However, rattled by a series of quick moves by the computer, he made a disastrous miscalculation that snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. The second game was a similar story: a good position for the grandmaster wrecked as he ran short of time. Humanity 0, Technology 2.

The general feeling among the grandmasters at the event is that Genius 2 can certainly be beaten. However, it will take stronger nerves than either of its opponents so far has demonstrated.

The game that killed Kasparov was a good illustration of the strengths and weaknesses of computer chess, but an even better demonstration of human power and frailty under pressure.

Pure intellect put the grandmaster in a commanding position in mid-game, but a handicap not possessed by Pentium Genius 2 - emotion - eventually induced him to throw it away.

By move 20, Kasparov was in just the sort of position one expected would lead him to beat man or machine - and the machine seemed not to have the faintest idea of what it was doing.

But after move 30, by which time he had given the computer a chance to draw, Kasparov dithered fatally, and then threw the game away completely. His play can only be explained as an obstinate refusal to believe that a machine can get away with a draw against the world champion.

At 166 million calculations a second, Genius displayed remorseless technique. Exploiting a poorly placed king - a situation which Kasparov would surely never had got himself into against a human oppponent - it was able to weaken White's pawns then pick them off one by one. Kasparov's annoyance at the end was obvious.

----------------------------------------------------------------- White: Kasparov ----------------------------------------------------------------- Black: Pentium Genius 2 1 c4 c6 32 Bc4+ Bf7 2 d4 d5 33 Ne3 Qd4 3 Nf3 Nf6 34 Bxf7+ Kxf7 4 Qc2 dxc4 35 Qb3+ Kf8 5 Qxc4 Bf5 36 Kg2 Qd2+ 6 Nc3 Nbd7 37 Kh3 Qe2 7 g3 e6 38 Ng2 h5 8 Bg2 Be7 39 Qe3 Qc4 9 0-0 0-0 40 Qd2 Qe6+ 10 e3 Ne4 41 g4 hxg4+ 11 Qe2 Qb6 42 fxg4 Qc4 12 Rd1 Rad8 43 Qe1 Qb3 13 Ne1 Ndf6 44 Ne3 Qd3 14 Nxe4 Nxe4 45 Kg3 Qxe4 15 f3 Nd6 46 Qd2 Qf4+ 16 a4 Qb3 47 Kg2 Qd4 17 e4 Bg6 48 Qxd4 exd4 18 Rd3 Qb4 49 Nc4 Nc6 19 b3 Nc8 50 b5 Ne5 20 Nc2 Qb6 51 Nd6 d3 21 Bf4 c5 52 Kf2 Ng4 22 Be3 cxd4 53 Ke1 Nh2 23 Nxd4 Bc5 54 Kd2 Nf3+ 24 Rad1 e5 55 Kd3 Ke7 25 Nc2 Rxd3 56 Nf5 Kf7 26 Qxd3 Ne7 57 Ke4 Nd2 27 b4 Bxe3+ 58 Kd5 g5 28 Qxe3 Rd8 59 Nd6+ Kg6 29 Rxd8+ Qxd8 60 Kd4 Nb3+ 30 Bf1 b6 White resigns 31 Qc3 f6 -----------------------------------------------------------------