How Deep Blue Knew

Daniel Johnson reviews Garry Kasparov’s Deep Thinking

Times, 3 June 2017, p.16.


We know exactly why Deep Blue knew that its eighth (not seventh) move, Nxe6, was winning by force: it was programmed to play this well-known winning line.

Kasparov indicates that he simply underestimated the opening preparation undertaken by Deep Blue’s team.

‘So, what did happen in game six? When asked several times at the press conference I deflected the question: “It doesn’t even count as a game.” “I was not in the mood of playing at all, I have to tell you.” “When you allow this piece sacrifice you can resign and there are many games played in competitive chess in which this line has happened, but I can hardly explain what I did today because I was not in a fighting mood.”’

Garry Kasparov (with Mig Greengard)
Deep Thinking: where machine intelligence ends and human creativity begins (London: John Murray, 2017), p.215.

His conclusion twenty years later:

‘Honestly, I find the suggestion that I blundered in my preparation to be more insulting than the idea that I suffered a complete nervous breakdown. Of course I was aware of Nxe6. I was also aware that it would be a killing move if Deep Blue played it against me in game six. I simply knew it wouldn’t.’

Kasparov, Deep Thinking, p.215.

With thanks to Tony Bronzin.

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