The games are being played on the 35th floor of the Equitable Centre in Manhattan where Kasparov faces a computer terminal across a chess board. Only three of Kasparov's assistants and five members of the Deep Blue programming team are permitted to watch the game directly, but all tickets were sold for the 450-seat first-floor auditorium, where spectators paid $25 (pounds 16) each to watch huge screens displaying the state of the game and the expressive movements of Kasparov as he wrestled with the machine.
After 17 quick moves of opening theory, with which Kasparov and Deep Blue were both clearly familiar, the human champion removed his watch - always a sign that he is beginning to take things seriously. Indeed, in the first game, the first clear evidence that Deep Blue's chips were cooked came when Kasparov smiled and put his watch back on just minutes before the computer's operators conceded defeat. This time, however, the watch remained on the table.
After three hours, Kasparov looked content with his position, but a few moves later was reduced to apparently aimless shuffling, and the computer gained a grip on the position.
Soon the world champion was shaking his head in frustration and making faces indicative of the disgust he felt at himself for being forced into such a miserable position. Recognising that his game was hopeless, Kasparov resigned at move 45.
Not generally renowned for his equanimity in defeat, the champion did, on this occasion, leave the playing room calmly, but he did not appear for the scheduled press conference.
The play so far has confounded all expectations. Computers have been traditionally regarded as highly dangerous in complex tactical games, but less effective in blocked positions where long-term strategy takes precedence over immediate calculations.
Yet the computer gave a faultlessly subtle strategic performance in winning the second game. Indeed, the way Deep Blue managed to nurture a small positional advantage while stifling any hopes its opponent might have had to counter-attack was reminiscent of some of Anatoly Karpov's best victories over Kasparov in world title matches. "This was a game that any human would have been proud to play," said Joel Benjamin, the chess grandmaster consultant to the IBM team. "This was not computer chess. This was real chess."
Indeed, when Kasparov was reduced halfway through the game to aimlessly shuffling a bishop to and fro, it was his own play that was made to look more artificial than that of the intelligence facing him.
page 14, the Tabloid