Illustration for article titled Remembering Deep Blues Surprising Chess Triumph Over A World Champion

Nineteen years ago today, IBM's Deep Blue computer made history by defeating reigning world chess champ Garry Kasparov.


At that time, Kasparov had been world champion since 1985, a title he held until 2000 (he retired in 2005). Deep Blue's first iteration also dated to 1985. explains:

[In 1985], Carnegie Mellon University doctoral student Feng Hsiung Hsu began developing a chess-playing computer called "ChipTest." Hsu was joined on the project by Thomas Anantharaman and Murray Campbell and the computer later came to be known as "Deep Thought," after a machine in the science-fiction novel The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. The men were later hired by IBM, where they continued to work on the chess-playing computer. In 1989, Gary Kasparov easily trounced Deep Thought when they met for a 2-game match. Developers continued to refine the supercomputer, which in 1993 was renamed "Deep Blue," a combination of Deep Thought and Big Blue, IBM's nickname.


Despite his initial defeat against Deep Blue, Kasparov did go on to win the six-game match in 1996 (final score: 4-2, human) ... pretty impressive, considering the computer's ability to discern "100 million different chess positions per second."

A rematch the next year didn't end so well for Kasparov; he was defeated by a new, improved Deep Blue in another six-game match, which proved controversial when Kasparov accused IBM of constructing the machine specifically to beat him.

The below video offers a detailed analysis of the first game in the 1996 series.

Photo via Flickr Creative Commons user JasonBrown2013.


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