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Codie Lucas Wilbee
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
Vikram Jayanti's documentary on the 1997 clash between IBM super-computer Deep Blue and Russian chess grand master Garry Kasparov is frustrating and fascinating in equal measure.
Kasparov's insistence that IBM cheated (by using one or more chess masters to influence the computer during the match) seems perfectly possible, but the computer manufacturers refusal to allow either a rematch or analysis of their data makes it impossible to substantiate the claims. Sadly that doesn't stop Jayanti, his subjective approach is unaffected by the apparent stalemate.
Fortunately the film has more to offer. The actual match becomes hugely dramatic and exciting in Jayanti's hands. Kasparov himself is an extremely enigmatic and passionate figure, the footage of him in the press conferences that took place after each of the six games is dynamite. In the second, he accuses IBM of cheating. In the last, after nine days of play, he appears on stage looking physically and mentally destroyed, the applause that greets him (and the boos for IBM) would seem to indicate a general feeling of suspicion of IBM's sportsmanship and honesty.
Too subjective to be a 'great' documentary, it is still a fascinating insight into a game and community that would seem to offer much potential for future study.
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