Not you again] I'd sooner play chess against a computer

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The Independent Online
THE GARRY and Nigel show is back in town, with Kasparov and Short glowering at each other over a chessboard in London for the first time since their world

title match last year.

While the grandmasters postured over giant chess pieces, however, a supercharged machine was grabbing most of the attention. This afternoon, at the Sedgwick Centre in east London, the opening match in the Intel World Chess Grand Prix will be between Garry Kasparov, world champion of the Professional Chess Association, and Pentium Genius 2, a computer which was already worrying the world's top players before its thinking speed was increased tenfold by the new Pentium processor. It can now make 166 million calculations a second.

The winner of the event - pitting 15 grandmasters and one machine against one another - will receive dollars 30,000 ( pounds 19,700) for four days' work. In last year's match at the Savoy Theatre, Kasparov's prize was pounds 1,062,500 with Short taking pounds 637,500.

Yesterday's draw for the first round paired the world's strongest human against a good candidate for the title of strongest machine. Kasparov seemed less than his usual confident self. As soon as the ceremony was over, he collared the chief arbiter to clarify the rules for games between man and machine: 25 minutes each, no extra time allowed for move transmission to the computer, and may the best man win.

After the draw, Kasparov was one of the first to leave the Sedgwick Centre to prepare for his first game. Fourteen other grandmasters followed him down the stairs. The lift was broken; some thought a computer was probably to blame.

(Photograph omitted)