Kasparov-Deeper Blue, Match 1997
Game Two

Deeper Blue's Positional Press Ties Six-Game Match 1-1

Deeper Blue evened the score on the second day of play. The machine excelled in a slightly advantageous blocked position, and Kasparov was not up to the constant pressure.

It is clear from the first knight move in game one, Kasparov wanted the match on his terms. In game two, he wants the match, but also on the machine's turf, now that the opportunity has knocked. He earned that breathing room. The computer rose to the challenge of forcing his breath.

Kasparov allows the Spanish Game (3. Bb5), as well as the Scotch (3. d4). Unlike the first game, in which Deeper Blue's opening book was soon exhausted by Kasparov's principled-yet-untread plan to start the game, Black allows the machine to draw moves from a database until 18.Qd2. Suprisingly, Kasparov achieves a closed position twenty-five moves into the game, the type that supposedly illuminates the strengths of the human savant as well the failings of mechanical pretenders. 23. Rec1!! put any illusions of positional ineptitude on Deeper Blue's part to rest; because of the opposition of the White rook to the Black queen, Black is forced to respond 23. .. c4, blocking the position in a way that allows only White to initiate action. After 25. Rca1, White stands better, but Black should have enough resources to draw.

Nonetheless, the machine expertly labored, containing Black's options through threats: first, on the queenside, and then on the kingside with 26.f4. The merits of 26. .. Nf6 vs. 26. .. f6 vs. 26. .. may be argued, but none could salvage the shuffling of pieces (31. .. Be7 and 32. .. Bf8) that followed. White invades the queenside and then firmly consolidates its positional advantage with 37. Be4.

45. Ra6 seals the win nicely. Efforts by Black to draw by perpetual check after 45. .. Qe3 are fruitless, as is the ending after 45. .. Qxc6 46. dxc6.

Overall, White's play was extremely solid, controlled, and most impressively denied its opponent counterplay with the touch of a grandmaster.

      White: Deeper Blue
Black: Garry Kasparov
Game Two of Six, 4 May 1997

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7
6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 0-0 9.h3 h6 10.d4 Re8
11.Nbd2 Bf8 12.Nf1 Bd7 13.Ng3 Na5 14.Bc2 c5 15.b3 Nc6
16.d5 Ne7 17.Be3 Ng6 18.Qd2 Nh7 19.a4 Nh4 20.Nxh4 Qxh4
21.Qe2 Qd8 22.b4 Qc7 23.Rec1 c4 24.Ra3 Rec8 25.Rca1 Qd8
26.f4 Nf6 27.fxe5 dxe5 28.Qf1 Ne8 29.Qf2 Nd6 30.Bb6 Qe8
31.R3a2 Be7 32.Bc5 Bf8 33.Nf5 Bxf5 34.exf5 f6 35.Bxd6 Bxd6
36.axb5 axb5 37.Be4 Rxa2 38.Qxa2 Qd7 39.Qa7 Rc7 40.Qb6 Rb7
41.Ra8+ Kf7 42.Qa6 Qc7 43.Qc6 Qb6+ 44.Kf1 Rb8 45.Ra6 1-0

Annotations by Inside Chess' GM Yasser Seirawan


Final position, Game Two; Black to play

As it turned out, Black had a draw in the final position, as noted by several players who had followed the game on the Web. After the shot 45. .. Qe3! 46. Qxd6 Re8!! 47. Bf3 Qc1+ 48. Kf2 Qd2+ 49. Be2 Qf4+ 50. Ke1 Qc1+ 51. Bd1 Qxc3+ 52. Kf1 Qc1!! White has no means to avoid the perpetual check.

White's attempt to find room for his king with 47. h4 is well-met by 47. .. h5 and the game is drawn along the same pattern as in the previous paragraph. A similar draw is found after 46. Qd7+ Kg8 47. Qxd6 Rf8.

Even more astounding were Kasparov's questions of the Deeper Blue team in the postgame conference after Game Three. Rather than White's 37. Be4, 37. Qb6 Rxa2 38. Rxa2 Bc7 39. Qe6+ Qxe6 40. dxe6 leads to a quick win by force. Kasparov demanded to know why the computer opted for an inferior move that should have been well within its foresight, especially as the final position was drawn. The IBM team, as usual, declined to provide an answer; when one of the moderators asked Kasparov whether he thought an "intervention" occurred (i.e. cheating, by playing a move a human selected [37. Be4] rather than the natural computer move [37. Qb6]), Kasparov repeated his questions and shortly afterwards stormed off-stage.

Though it is highly unlikely that the Deeper Blue team cheated, many pertinent questions remain. Unfortunately, the disingenuous and vacuous information provided by IBM is not likely to lift the shroud.

Kasparov vs
Deeper Blue:
Overview Game
Games Three
and Four
Aftershock | Contact Holland Mills | Last updated 19 November 1997