January 05, 2018

Garry Kasparov faced off against Deep Blue, IBM’s chess-playing computer in 1997. Deep Blue was able to imagine an average of 200,000,000 positions per second. Kasparov ended up losing the match. (AP Photo/Adam Nadel)

For more than a 30-year span, chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov was nearly unbeatable. But, in 1997, he faced an unlikely competitor: the IBM supercomputer Deep Blue. Kasparov lost the final match, which ended up being a turning point both for him and for our understanding of artificial intelligence. We talk with Kasparov about his new book, Deep Thinking: Where Machine Intelligence Ends and Human Creativity Begins.

Three Takeaways 

  • Chess is often considered a measure of human intellect. So when Kasparov lost his match to Deep Blue, he says it was a revolutionary moment for computing power.
  • Kasparov didn’t dwell on his loss for long. Instead of holding a grudge against computers, the grandmaster got creative. He devised a system in which humans and artificial intelligence could play chess as a team. And he says this concept carries over into other parts of life, like medicine and manufacturing.   
  • While many consider the rise of computing power to be a threat to jobs and the economy, Kasparov says we’ve incorporated new technologies since the beginning of civilization, and humans have always adapted.

More reading 

  • Kasparov’s match against Deep Blue is still talked about more than 20 years later. ESPN Films and 538 analyze the match here
  • The former World Chess Champion says he hates it when people use chess as a metaphor for politics. Especially when it comes to Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin.  
  • You can see Kasparov’s matches —  and other famous games —  move-by-move on chessgames.com.

AI, Sci and Tech, artificial intelligence, chess, Garry Kasparov, Deep Blue

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