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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
Game Over chronicles the infamous chess rematch between world champion Gary Kasparov and Deep Blue, an IBM supercomputer specially designed for the game that took over 30 man-years to create. The film itself is a mere 85 minutes and wastes no time making its assault on IBM, starting off with a damning reference to "The Turk," a famous hoax which purported to be a chess automaton. Roughly half of the film continues this bare-knuckle attack, with the director using creepy fade shots interspersed with interviews with IBM employees and an annoying whisper voice commentary to clearly inform the audience of who the "bad guys" are. This blatant taking of sides from early on is somewhat distracting to the viewer, as the facts presented later seem questionable due to the overwhelming bias of the filmmaker. For example, the film notably does not mention one of the programmer's attempts to stage another rematch between Kasparov and Deep Blue. Seeing as one of the primary arguments used to discredit Deep Blue's win is the refusal of a rematch on IBM's part, it seems outright irresponsible to ignore this important fact completely.
The other, and much better, half of the film is the story of Gary Kasprov and the trials and tribulations he faced during his match against Deep Blue in 1997. The film shows a side of Kasparov many may be unfamiliar with. While the mainstream media at the time seemed bent on selling him as an arrogant, flustered, and tactless mad scientist of sorts, Kasparov proves the contrary with his charisma and wit. He acts as a kind of tour guide throughout the film, taking the viewer everywhere from the headquarters of the Soviet chess program to the site of the match in New York. Not surprisingly, most viewers will find themselves rooting for a considerably humanized Kasparov and feeling the sting of defeat as the overwhelming pressure of the press, the matches and the future of chess all wreak havoc on his concentration.
Unfortunately for chess buffs, the film itself pays little attention to the actual match itself. It gives a brief description of how each side did in each game and briefly points out the move Kasparov thought was too "uncomputer-like" to have been made by a machine. The DVD, however, does have a fairly detailed reenactment of the matches done in Chessmaster, complete with commentary. The unbalanced and frankly boring and repetitive slam on IBM earns a 3, but the compelling story of Gary Kasparov earns a 9, making this film a 6 over all. If you are interested in the subject, it's worth the rent but the attack on IBM seems too vicious considering the hazy circumstances.
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