Oh Vladimir. We had such high hopes for you. Five years after your countryman lost to Deep Blue, it looked for a while there that you would actually defeat its silicon successor, Deep Fritz. But now, after an initial spurt of victory, Fritz has pulled even, just one game away from condemning humans again to the trash heap of chess playing history. Sure, you sound optimistic. “I’m not depressed,” you say. “When you play such a wonderful game you can’t be. It could have gone either way. Fritz played such great defense. I think I can still win the match.” But with $1 million riding on the outcome of the “Brains in Bahrain” competition, can your nerves handle the pressure?
You can’t keep a good supercomputer down, especially when it only knows how to do one thing: Play chess. Deep Fritz, the German-built brainiac, forced DNA-based competitor Vladimir Kramnik into a draw Thursday, in a crucial Game Four of the eight-game “Brains of Bahrain” competition. At the half-way point, Kramnik leads the series 3-1. One more win guarantees he won’t lose the “duel of the century” (a decidedly modest claim, considering the year).
See also: Vlad the Impaler Defeats Fritz the Ditz
Maybe Deep Fritz should be called On the Fritz. The German-built, chess-playing computer lost another game to 27-year-old Russian champ Vladimir Kramnik in a match billed as the “Brains of Bahrain.” The competition’s third day of play ended when Kramnik, well, kicked Fritz’ butt in 57 moves that showed DNA can still best silicon at some things. As reported by Reuters, Sunday’s game wasn’t completely one-sided. “Fritz, after early errors, fought back and startled Kramnik with some typical computer tactics. ‘I never imagined (the 27th move) and the tactics that followed. Only a computer would find and play something like that,’ Kramnik said later. ‘I was completely shocked.’ The Fritz team was more than a little embarrassed, however, when their brainchild in move 12 returned its bishop to its original square. This bizarre move was something even the lowliest human player would never consider.”