Garry Kasparov is arguably the greatest chess player who has ever lived. In 1997 he played a chess match against IBM's computer Deep Blue. Kasparov lost the match. This film shows the match... See full summary »
Garry Kasparov is arguably the greatest chess player who has ever lived. In 1997 he played a chess match against IBM's computer Deep Blue. Kasparov lost the match. This film shows the match and the events surrounding it from Kasparov's perspective. It delves into the psychological aspects of the game, paranoia surrounding it and suspicions that have arisen around IBM's true tactics. It consists of interviews with Kasparov, his manager, chess experts, and members of the IBM Deep Blue team, as well as original footage of the match itself. Written by
Spoilt somewhat by a heavy conspiratorial agenda and tone but is still an interesting story and an enjoyable documentary
In 1997, one of the world's greatest chess players, Garry Kasparov played a match against an IBM machine called Deep Blue. After easily winning the first game of six, Kasparov is astonished when, in game two, the computer refuses to take a trap that he has set a trap that commonly sees computers fall. With his composure lost, he concedes the game to Deep Blue. However, Kasparov insisted that the computer was being backed up by a human player helping it spot the mistakes that computer logic would make. In this film he recalls the games and tries to back up his claims.
For those of us who remember this tournament between man and machine, this is a fascinating film for the chance to find out more about the specifics of the match. At the time I was only vaguely aware that the games were taking place and was certainly not aware of the sheer amount of controversy that seems to have surrounded the games. The film starts very badly and shows its main weakness immediately by setting up an absurdly conspiratorial tone that it happily tones down later. The whispery narration and the use of sinister music at key moments seems to be pushing the idea that IBM did it all to ensure victory and boost stock prices in the world market. This is all fine and good but I would have greatly preferred if the film had let me draw my own conclusions rather than pushing this idea as the only show in town.
Aside from this the film does well by allowing each side to speak for themselves as well as showing footage from the matches and it is difficult not to feel that the matches were not totally as clean an experiment as they were billed. However the film never answers all the questions that well and I doubt it will ever be clear but it is still very interesting. The chance to hear all those involved speak is good and Kasparov makes for a very human subject and it is easy to feel for him as he relates how increasingly difficult the whole affair was for him. In contrast the IBM guys do come across as rather distant, with some just not providing any real answers particularly about why the project was taken away after the game and not followed up like one commentator says 'it's like going to the moon but just coming back without exploring'. Whether or not it was all a plan to boost stock I don't know but the way everything was handled seems a little suspect and this film highlights that.
When it focuses on the people involved and the facts, the film is very enjoyable and interesting. However, when it goes into X-Files mode and starts seeing monsters in every shadow, it gets a bit tiresome and I couldn't help but wish that it would let me judge for myself rather than forcing its own agenda but happily the subject is interesting enough to overcome the faults of the producers.
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