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Kasparov ties first game
- Chess czar admits to superiority of computers over GMs

New York: Chess czar Garri Kasparov tied his first game against the computer X3D Fritz on Wednesday after wrestling with the machine for about three-and-a-half hours.

Kasparov, who was playing white, agreed to a draw after 37 moves.

The 40-year-old Russian-American will play three more games against X3D Fritz at the New York Athletic Club, but is resigned to the fact that soon Grandmasters will stand no chance against computers.

Kasparov played wearing 3-D glasses, gazing at a chess board that appears to float in the air. He dictated piece movements with voice commands, and rotated the board with a joystick.

The International Computer Games Association and the United States Chess Federation, which will be holding the next games on November 13, 16 and 18, say it is the first time a chess challenge has been fought “in total virtual reality.”

Kasparov is the world’s highest rated chess player, even though he lost the world champion title to Vladimir Kramnik in 2000. This is his third series against a computer.

He lost to Deep Blue in 1997 and tied with Deep Junior in February.

X3D Fritz is an upgraded version of Fritz, the machine which took on Kramnik in Bahrain in 2002, tying him four to four.

“Five years from now, it will be impossible to beat a machine in long matches,” Kasparov predicted ahead of the series.

“But all this makes it more exciting. Each time we have to be more creative, each time I have to spend more time analysing the machine’s performance, the software engines that are delivered to us,” he said.

“I like to use a Star Wars analogy. In the first movie, the only way to destroy the Death Star was to find this one little spot, this weakness, and blow it up.

“With computers now we are also heading for the same type of exercise. You have to find this very little soft spot and hit it exactly there, not to the left or right.

“ It puts a lot of pressure on my shoulders, on the shoulders of the human player. But at the same time it creates a more exciting competition.”

Kasparov went on, “It’s now man versus machine, with no one in between, no one moving the pieces for it. It’s the purest form of this vicious struggle.

“There is a man and a machine and the machine is invisible and I’m not fooled by an operator who is pretending to be my opponent but really is just the messenger of the machine.”

Kasparov said he hoped such series would bring a new era in chess. But he added: “Frankly, I’m more concerned about our children.

“In 10 or 20 years time, when they look at a wooden chess set will they say, ‘Daddy, on this, you played chess with this' How could you use these pieces, and having to write down the moves on scoresheets and press a clock'’”

The games are being shown live on the internet at www.X3Dchess.com.

(AFP)

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