25 years ago, the Deep Blue computer tamed the king of chess

Right hand under his chin, his eyes darkening, Garry Kasparov stared at the chessboard one last time, annoyed, before suddenly leaving the table. It’s Thunder Bombing: The Chess King has been beaten by a computer.

On May 11, 1997, the World Champion Machine was knocked down for the first time after an organization match. This date will mark the history of the discipline and highlight the amazing potential of artificial intelligence.

Gul Baku, the 34-year-old then master of the world chessboard since 1985, lost after six matches, 3.5 to 2.5, to the IBM-designed Deep Blue supercomputer.

In front of cameras from all over the world, who came to shoot the show in New York, this setback has a taste of humiliation for the stormy Kasparov. Did he not assert that he would withstand machines at least until the dawn of the next millennium?

Un an plus tôt, le Russe avait mis à terre Deep Blue sur le score de 4 à 2. Mais ses concepteurs n’ont eu de cese d’améliorer le monstre de 1,4 tonne, capable désormais de calculer 200 millions de positions par the second.

“nothing installed”

The hero was shaken by his defeat, but nevertheless refused to accept the superiority of the machine. “The computer hasn’t installed anything yetHe said during the press conference that followed the match, which was reported by Agence France-Presse.Man, the best player in the world, cracked under pressureHe explains, speaking for himself.But we can beat the computer, it has a lot of weaknesses“.

Far from comforting the loser with the $400,000 promised, he also criticizes IBM, which did not give him access to previous games the machine had played, and which was able to analyze all of its own. He even became accused, suggesting that humans aided the computer during the match and regretted not doing so.”You set certain conditions“Till the game be”honest“.

Other players of world chess, who have examined the live confrontation, also refuse to consider the defeat of the great leader a turning point. In response to a question from the press, they indicated a series of bad choices for the Russian hero. For some, his intense need to understand the blows of the machine, rather than focus on winning, was fatal to him.

Years later, the book will pass on a secret from developer Deep Blue: a computer malfunction that would have rocked the game. Unable to choose between several moves, the machine could have randomly played during the game, destabilizing Kasparov for the rest of the confrontation.

“With a bit of hindsight…”

Either way, Deep Blue’s win made IBM happy, and I was glad to see the interest its computer prowess aroused. “All of this has nothing to do with the human vs. machine battle but with how we use technology to solve complex problems.IBM Project Leader, Chung-Jen Tan, excitedly after the match.

And to pay tribute to what artificial intelligence will bring in many areas, from financial analysis to the study of natural, atmospheric or seismic phenomena. Kasparov, revenge, in 2003 will equalize twice against computers. But time will calm his wounded ego in the end.

After the 1997 defeat, “Nowadays, laptops come with a high-quality graphics cardHe said in an interview with the Swiss newspaper the time in 2019.”But with a little hindsightHis defeat seemed to him.victory for mankind‘Because she was warned’The breadth of activities that technology can assist“.

From now on, what worries the chess legend is the digital giants’ excesses in individual liberties: “We want them to be responsibleIn an interview with AFP in November 2021, he urged.

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