Back in Time is ED’s newspaper-like column that reports the past as though it had happened just yesterday. It allows the reader to relive it several years later, on the date it occurred.

12th February 1996: Hail the new chess champion, the Deep Blue, an IBM computer that triumphed over Garry Kasparov, the world chess champion. It is the first time that a computer beat a man in a traditional tournament. The tournament was held in Philadelphia this weekend. 

Deep Blue is the strongest chess computer ever built. It had not been used to its full potential earlier. Still, the neck-to-neck competition that eventually led to the win against the chess champion, Kasparov, made the programmers jubilant. 

In the first game of a six-game tournament, IBM’s Deep Blue chess computer defeated Garry Kasparov. The Deep Blue’s historic feat came in 37 moves, where Kasparov’s counterattacks were easily deflected. The game was for two hours, and the players had 40 moves to win the game. 

Machines have earlier beaten grandmasters, including Kasparov, in games lasting at most for an hour, but still, the world champion was the favourite for this six-game series. No computer has ever beaten any human in a tournament lasting two hours under the traditional rules.

In the end, Kasparov shook hands with Feng-Hsiung-Hsu, the IBM scientist, who moved the chess pieces on behalf of Deep Blue. Then, he walked out of the Pennsylvania Convention Center without giving any bytes to reporters. Chess colleagues expressed this walkout as the devastating condition of Kasparov. 

Joseph Hoane, the programmer who had worked on the Deep Blue software for more than six years, said, “We’ve got one of the greatest concentrations of computing power ever focused on a single problem working here.” He revealed, to The Guardian, that at some points of the game, the computer analysed more than 100 million chess positions every second. 

Garry Kasparov had beaten the IBM chess computer in 1989 and he asked the programmers working on it to resign earlier. This week, the powerful computer Deep Blue beat Kasparov in the opening game. Coincidentally, this was the 50th anniversary of the 1st electronic computer.

Kasparov argues that machines might have the ability to calculate billions of moves, but it lacks imagination. This victory of Deep Blue suggests that intuition is also programmable. This marks a milestone in the journey of Artificial Intelligence.

In this week’s meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, there was a list of the human parts that can be created by tissue engineers to replace any body organ. It will be in no time that the difference between humans and machines will completely break down.

Also Read: Back In Time: 73 Years Ago Today, India Celebrated Her First Republic Day

computer beats chess champion

Post Scriptum

Though Kasparov lost in the first match, he came back the next day and won the tournament by 4-2. One year later, he again lost to Deep Blue in a rematch. Kasparov had declared in his press conferences that he was defending the honor of mankind against the machine.

The decade between 1996-2006 was an exciting decade, not only for chess enthusiasts but also for computer programmers. Chess computers developed at a fast pace.

There were various stamps issued in honor of this chess tournament. In 2012, Uganda Post Office dedicated a set of special stamps on the theme of Man vs. Machine. The Nigerian Post Office also issued stamps for computer chess.

Artificial Intelligence has now become a reality with various tools coming into being. Now, it is no more a debate of man vs. machine. The machine is now an inextricable part of humans.

The most minor strand of the human body- DNA, can be created in laboratories. Machines, in turn, are being made by humans. The combination of technology and humans, where both are entangled with each other, proves that we have entered the age of cyborgs.

Image Credits: Google Images

Feature image designed by Saudamini Seth

Sources: The Guardian, Computer History, Chess Base

Find the blogger: Katyayani Joshi

This post is tagged under: back in time, chess, computer, chess computer, Deep Blue, IBM, powerful, man vs. machine, artificial intelligence, chess champion, world champion, Garry Kasparov, boardgame, cyborg, DNA, honor, stamps, debate, chess tournament, devastating, scientists, programmers, Philadelphia, chess enthusiasts, man, machine, mankind, technology

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