It is down to a one-game match as former world champ Garry Kasparov and computer program Deep Junior battle to the wire at the Downtown Athletic Club in New York City.
As this is written, Deep Junior easily held a draw with Black in Game 5, knotting the overall score at 2-2. Kasparov, who started out the match with an easy win, now faces the daunting task of holding with Black in the sixth and final game just to avoid a repeat humiliation of the kind doled out to him in 1997 by IBM’s Deep Blue.
The Israeli-German program has proven an able counterpuncher, rarely dictating play and often forced to dig itself out of inferior positions. It is, however, hyperaccurate on defense, never flustered and imaginative (for a computer) in seizing its opportunities.
All those qualities were on display in Game 3, when Deep Junior leveled the match.
Today’s notes refer often to comments from one of Deep Junior’s top programmers, Amir Ban, who recorded his team’s ups and downs during the course of play on the ChessBase Web site at www.chessbase.com.
The kingside thrust 10. g4!? Nxg4 11. Rg1 worked well for Kasparov in an analogous position in Round 1, and any right-thinking human would be terrified to take on the highest rated player in history with Black after 11 … Ndf6 12. h3 Nh6 13. e4! dxe4.
Ban: “This looks very dangerous now, but Deep Junior is not concerned. Evaluations are level and not falling.” The computer (and many human analysts) thought 14. Bxe4 Kh8 15 Bxh6 gxh6 16. Bxc6 Rb8 17. Qd2 Bxh3 18. Qxh6 Bg4 was stronger for White, as after the game’s 14. Bxh6?! exd3 15. Rxg7+ Kh8 16. Qxd3 Rg8 17. Rxg8+ Nxg8 18. Bf4 f6, the knight on g8 holds the defense together very well.
On 21. Qxf4 Bxh3! (again very risky, but computers can do this in their sleep) 22. Rg1 Qb8!, Black has stopped the mates and still enjoys an extra pawn.
Still, the Deep Junior team thought things were heading for another split point when the human blunders 30. Nxf5 Nxf5 31. Qe4 Qd7 32. Rh5? (Ng6+ is the way to ensure a draw) Nxd4!.
Ban: “Kasparov had 10 minutes to time control here and was behind the curtain of his private corner. When I played 32…Nxd4” Ban executed the moves at the board for Deep Junior “he was audibly dismayed while still behind his curtain without coming to the board! He then spent five full minutes reprimanding himself and then with five minutes left, got back to thinking about the position.”
The finale: 33. Ng6+? (emotionally compounding the problem; 33. Rh1 is unpleasant but playable) Kg8 34. Ne7+ Kf8! 35. Nd5 (too late, White sees that 35. Qxh7? Nb3+! 36. Kc2 [axb3 Qd1 mate] Na1+! 37. Kc3 [Kb1 Qd1 mate] Qd4 mate is suicidal, as is 35. Rxh7? Nb3+! 36. Kc2 Na1+ 37. Kc3 Qd2+ 38. Kc4 b5+ 39. Kc5 Qd6 mate) Qg7 36. Qxd4 Rxd5, and the queen ending is an easy win for Black. Kasparov resigned.
Wednesday’s Game 5 was another psychological blow to the champion. Deep Junior unexpectedly offers a “Greek gift” bishop sacrifice at h2 in a placid position on Move 10, and eight moves later forces the champ to swallow a perpetual check. Kasparov was apparently too intimidated to go into the one line offering winning chances, 16. g3, for fear of having to play defense for a long time against the computer’s mating attack.
We’ll have a full match roundup next week.
The surf, sun and recent strain of winning his first outright U.S. title apparently have gotten to Pittsburgh GM Alexander Shabalov, who finished near the bottom of the annual Bermuda Chess Festival grandmaster invitational that concluded this week.
Following his magnificent showing in the U.S. Championships in Seattle last month, Shabba can probably be excused for an indifferent result in Bermuda, where Brazilian GM Giovanni Vescovi edged top-rated Russian GM Peter Svidler for first place. Israeli GM Alik Gershon was one beneficiary of Shabalov’s uncharacteristically loose play along the beach, winning a very attractive miniature with a pair of dancing knights.
Shabalov has never shied from a fight and this Gruenfeld quickly gets very sharp as the center opens up. With a big developmental edge on 11. Bxc4 Qxc5 12. Ne4 Qb6, Gershon gambles with 13. Bxf7+!? Kxf7 14. Nfg5+.
Heading for the corner with 14….Kg8 15. Rxc8 Rxc8 16. Qxg4 exposes Black to all kinds of tactical tricks; e.g. 16…Rf8 (the normal developing move 16…Nc6?? allows a classic Philidor’s mate: 17. Qe6+ Kh8 18. Nf7+ Kg8 19. Nh6+ Kh8 20. Qg8+! Rxg8 21. Nf7 mate) 17. Ne6 Qxb2 18. Nxf8 Qb1+ 19. Ke2 Qxh1? (Qb5+! may be Black’s best defense) 20. Qe6+ Kh8 (Kxf8 21. Qc8+ Kf7 22. Ng5 mate) 21. Nxg6+! hxg6 22. Qc8+ Kh7 23. Ng5+ Kh6 24. Qh3 mate.
It’s clear that Black, a world-class tactician, is off form on the game’s 14. Ke8 15. Rxc8 Rxc8 16. Qxg4 Nd7?? (see diagram; Black had to play 16…Rc6 17. Nd6+ Rxd6 and pray) 17. Nd6+!!, deciding things at a stroke.
On 17…exd6 (Kd8 18. Ne6! is a picturesque mate; while 17…Kf8 18. Qe6 Nxe5 19. Nxh7 is also checkmate) 18. Qe6+ Kd8 19. exd6, Black must give up massive quantities of material to stop the two mate threats 20. Nf7 and 20. Qe7. Shabalov resigned.
In the Bermuda B-section, 15-year-old New York IM Hikaru Nakamura earned his third and final grandmaster norm, meaning he has eclipsed Bobby Fischer’s 45-year-old record to become the youngest American grandmaster in history.
FIDE Man vs. Machine World Championship, Game 3, New York, January 2003
1. d4d519. 0-0-0Bd6
2. c4c620. Qe3Bxf4
3. Nc3Nf621. Qxf4Bxh3
4. e3e622. Rg1Qb8
5. Nf3Nbd723. Qe3Qd6
6. Qc2b624. Nh4Be6
7. cxd5exd525. Rh1Rd8
8. Bd3Be726. Ng6+Kg7
9. Bd20-027. Nf4Bf5
10. g4Nxg428. Nce2Ne7
11. Rg1Ndf629. Ng3Kh8
12. h3Nh630. Nxf5Nxf5
13. e4dxe431. Qe4Qd7
14. Bxh6exd332. Rh5Nxd4
15. Rxg7+Kh833. Ng6+Kg8
16. Qxd3Rg834. Ne7+Kf8
17. Rxg8+Nxg835. Nd5Qg7
18. Bf4f636. Qxd4Rxd5
FIDE Man vs. Machine World Championship, Game 5, New York, January 2003
1. d4Nf611. Kxh2Ng4+
2. c4e612. Kg3Qg5
3. Nc3Bb413. f4Qh5
4. e30-014. Bd2Qh2+
5. Bd3d515. Kf3Qh4
6. cxd5exd516. Bxh7+Kh8
7. Nge2Re817. Ng3Nh2+
8. 0-0Bd618. Kf2Ng4+
9. a3c619. Kf3Nh2+
10. Qc2Bxh2+Draw agreed
20th Bermuda International Chess Festival, GM-A Tournament, Sandys, Bermuda, January 2003
1. d4Nf610. Bd2Ng4
2. c4g611. Bxc4Qxc5
3. Nc3d512. Ne4Qb6
4. Nf3Bg713. Bxf7+Kxf7
5. Bf40-014. Nfg5+Ke8
6. Rc1c515. Rxc8Rxc8
7. dxc5dxc416. Qxg4Nd7
8. e4Qa517. Nd6+Black
David R. Sands can be reached at 202/636-3178 or by e-mail at email@example.com.