When Did a Computer Finally Win a Chess Game Against a World Champion?

When Did a Computer Finally Win a Chess Game Against a World Champion?

Game: February 10, 1996.

Match: May 11, 1997.

The match-up between chess champions and computers goes back to Carnegie-Mellon, with a computer called ChipTest, later renamed Deep Thought, which first met Gary Kasparov in 1989.

English: Garry Kasparov upon winning the World...
Garry Kasparov upon winning the World Chess Championship in 1985. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Kasporov had become the youngest-ever undisputed World Chess Champion in 1985, at the age of 22, a title which he held until 1993, when he set up a rival chess champion organization, retaining the title of classical World Chess Champion until 2000.

By 1996, IBM had hired the Carnegie-Mellon programmers, renamed the computer Deep Blue and played it against the youngest U.S. Master since Bobbie Fischer and 1987 U.S. Chess Champion, Joel Benjamin. Then, they hired Benjamin to help them get ready for more matches with Kasparov. Between February 10-17, 1996, Gary Kasparov beat IBM’s Deep Blue chess-playing computer in a match in which Deep Blue won one game against Kasparov, then lost three and played two games to a draw. It was the first time a computer had won a game against a reigning world chess champion.

On May 11, 1997, they played another match with 2 wins for Deep Blue, 1 for Kasparov and three draws. It was the first time a computer had won a match against a reigning world champion.

IBM refused the rematch Kasparov demanded and retired Deep Blue.

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What’s Happened Since?

In 2006, the undisputed World Champion, Vladimir Kramnik, played Big Blue’s PC successor, Deep Fritz, and lost the 6-game match, with two wins by the computer and four draws. Computers are no longer re-programmed between games, as they were with supercomputer Big Blue.

A few months ago, my grandson and I learned algebraic chess notation so we could read chess books. As it happened, the chess book of traps and pitfalls he had tried to read uses a different chess notation we have not mastered yet. Against the day when we might want to start studying our games, we’ve written down the moves in the 11 games we’ve played since we started recording.

His best game? He mated me in 7 moves.

Carol Covin, Granny-Guru

Author, “Who Gets to Name Grandma? The Wisdom of Mothers and Grandmothers”


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Comments (8 )

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  1. Trivia morning… Deep Thought was the name of the computer that gave us the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. (for non geeks that answer is 42. Geeks would already know this)

    • carolcovin says:

      I remembered 42, Jon. I didn't remember Deep Thought. Don't know the timing. Is that why the Geeks at Carnegie Mellon/IBM named it that?

  2. findingourwaynow says:

    That was really interesting. It really is interesting where games are these days since the very first time they emerged on a computer. Thanks for sharing. I am a big chess fan BTW. 🙂

    • carolcovin says:

      I broke down and got a book on chess openings that uses algebraic notation so my grandson and I can read it.

  3. JeriWB says:

    I've never learned how to play chess. Perhaps what they say about not being able to teach an old dog new tricks is true in my case… I love how some people are so good at strategy when it comes to games such as this, but I'm not one of them 😉

  4. carolcovin says:

    I stopped playing chess when one of my then young sons checkmated me in four moves, so I'm delighted to start back again with my grandson.

    • carolcovin says:

      I just talked to one of my sons, and he said he was the one who mated me in 4 moves. He doesn't play much chess now, but is glad I'm playing it with his son.