Deep Blue[ edit ]

Deep Blue was a chess playing computer developed by IBM.

Deep Blue was the first computer system to win a chess game against a reigning world champion (Garry Kasparov) under regular time controls. This first win occurred on February 10, 1996, and Deep Blue - Kasparov, 1996, Game 1 is a famous chess game. However, Kasparov won 3 games and drew 2 of the following games, beating Deep Blue by a score of 4-2.

Deep Blue was then heavily upgraded (unofficially nicknamed "Deeper Blue") and played Kasparov again in May 1997, winning the six-game rematch 3.5-2.5, ending on May 11th. The final game is at Deep Blue - Kasparov, 1997, Game 6. Deep Blue thus became the first computer system to defeat a reigning world champion in a match under standard chess tournament time controls.

IBM´s stock gained 15% after the match, adding billions to the worth of the company.

The project was started as "ChipTest" at Carnegie Mellon University by Feng-hsiung Hsu; the computer system produced was named Deep Thought after the fictional computer of the same name from The Hitchhiker´s Guide to the Galaxy. Hsu joined IBM in 1989 and worked with Murray Campbell on parallel computing problems. Deep Blue was developed out of this.

The system derives its playing strength mainly out of brute force computing power. It is a massively parallel, 30-node, RS/6000, SP-based computer system enhanced with 480 special purpose ASIC chess chips. Its chess playing program is written in C and runs under the AIX operating system]. It was capable of evaluating 200,000,000 positions per second, twice as fast as the 1996 version. In June 1997, Deep blue was the 259th most powerful supercomputer.

Its evaluation function was initially written in a generalized form, with many to-be-determined parameters (e.g.: how important is a safe king position compared to a space advantage in the center, etc.). The optimal values for these parameters were then determined by the system itself, by analyzing thousands of master games. Before the second match, the chess knowledge of the program was fine tuned by grandmaster Joel Benjamin. The opening library was provided by the grandmasters Miguel Illescas, John Fedorovich and Nick De Firmian.

After the lost match, Kasparov said that he sometimes saw deep intelligence and creativity in the machine´s moves, which he could not understand. He also suggested that humans may have helped the machine during the match. He demanded a rematch, but IBM declined and retired Deep Blue.

In part these allegations were correct. The rules provided for the developers to modify the program between games, an opportunity they took with abandon. The code was modified between games to understand Kasparov´s playstyle better, allowing it to avoid a trap in the final game that the AI had fallen for twice before.

Feng-hsiung Hsu later claimed in his book Building the Computer that Defeated the World Chess Champion that he had the rights to use the Deep Blue design to build a bigger machine independently of IBM to take Kasparov´s rematch offer, but Kasparov refused to agree to a rematch (see also Hsu´s open letter about the rematch linked below).

One of the two racks that made up Deep Blue are on display at the National Museum of American History in their exhibit about the Information Age; the other rack is still standing in the IBM lab where it was developed.


categories: myChess-Wiki | Chess players | Nick de Firmian | Deep Blue
article No 551 / last change on 2005-06-29, 10:16pm

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This article is based on the article Deep Blue from the free encyclopaedia Wikipedia and stands under the GNU-Licence for free documentation. In the Wikipedia a list of the authors is available.

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