- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 8, 2002

The champ and the chip are planning a rematch.

Former world chess champion Garry Kasparov yesterday announced plans to play a $1 million, six-game match against the reigning computer chess-playing program, his first match with a computer since his stunning loss to IBM's Deep Blue program five years ago in Philadelphia.

The 1997 match, which attracted global interest, saw Mr. Kasparov make an elementary blunder in the sixth and final game, marking the first time a human world champion had lost a regulation match to a machine in a game considered the ultimate intellectual challenge.

Organizers from the International Chess Federation and the city of Jerusalem said Mr. Kasparov will play the Israeli-programmed Deep Junior program beginning Oct. 1 at the city's King David Hotel. The Russian will receive $500,000 in appearance fees, while the winner of the match will take home $300,000 of the remaining prize fund.

While Deep Blue was a one-of-a-kind research project developed by IBM, Deep Junior is an off-the-shelf software program available commercially to players around the world.

"For the first time in history, the king of human chess is challenged by a program that is available for any chess fan to run on their [personal computer]," David Levy, president of the International Computer Games Association, said at a news conference in Jerusalem yesterday.

Mr. Kasparov, 39, was the world champion from 1985 to 2000, when he was upset by fellow Russian Vladimir Kramnik. But he remains the highest-rated player in the world and the one active grandmaster with name recognition and commercial clout beyond the world of chess.

Mr. Kramnik, 27, at one time a protege of Mr. Kasparov's, has already announced plans for his own man-vs.-machine match against the top-rated German program, Fritz, in Bahrain in October.

Computer programs already play world-class chess at faster playing speeds, and are beginning to challenge the top grandmasters even at the slower "classical" time limits (two hours for each player's first 40 moves) that will be played at the match in Jerusalem.

Deep Junior, which won last month's world computer chess championship in Maastricht, Holland, for the second straight year, was programmed by Tel Aviv-based software engineers Amir Ban and Shay Bushinsky. In May, Deep Junior easily defeated Dutch Grandmaster Mikhail Gurevich, ranked 41st in the world, in a four-game match, winning three games and drawing one.

Mr. Kasparov complained loudly after the 1997 match over IBM's refusal to release Deep Blue's calculation records, charging that his opponent may have been aided by its human programmers during the match.

Deep Junior's programmers have agreed not to modify their program during the course of the match, but will not supply Mr. Kasparov with a version of the program prior to the beginning of play.


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