Kasparov against Deep Junior – NY 2003 Part 2

At the press conference, Garry was excited and now had become very confident by the result of his new strategy and his performance. Our programmers, Shay Bushinsky and Amir Ban were startled and shocked by Garry’s successful play. Amir said – “If Kasparov does as well in every game, Junior has no chance.”  

I have worked with Kasparov and am very familiar with his game, and was very impressed how well he had adapted to the new competition. Although I was a bit excited with Garry’s strategy, I had not begun to panic.  

After all, we were being challenged by the best human player in the world, and I had my hands full making sure there would not be another game 1 accident!

That evening I explained to our programmers Shay Bushinsky and Amir Ban, what Kasparov’s strategy was and in what way I think we had to respond.

The plan was:
1. Reconsider the opening book of the computer.
2. Make serious changes to the program (The blessing, the rules of a match resolved it.)  

My problem was, not only let Kasparov  increase his advantage , but also to invite him to a  different kind of struggle in which it would be hard for him to counteract the program – both in an opening, and in the middle game.

Preparation for each following game required at least 30-40 hours of my time .You see; all of us were more prepared for anticomputer strategy:

I could not believe Kasparov could fight 5 more games to play with the computer in tactical chess. But the fantasy that Kasparov at any moment would back to anticomputer strategy, remained an illusion. We in a match have not seen the Berlin wall or any closed positions. For example, Sicilian with 3.Bb5.

And on a move of a match these problems have left on the third plan.
Except for development of rigid tactics after failure in the 1-st game, it was important for us not to concede the initiative.

The main thing – If we had changed our original Junior common openings in such a situation, there was the great danger that Kasparov would at once would feel this weakness.  

(2) Deep Junior – Kasparov,G [B42] NY Match, 2003

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6

Kasparov opts for quite Paulsen variation of the Sicilian defence.

3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.Bd3 Bc5 6.Nb3 Ba7 7.c4

 Junior takes the center.

7…Nc6 8.Nc3 d6 9.0–0 Nge7 10.Re1 0–0 11.Be3 e5 12.Nd5a5 13.Rc1 a4!

This part of the game Kasparov played very deep. Junior gets into strategically passive position, especially Bd3 feels a bit passive despite Whites space advantage.

14. Bxa7 Rxa7 15.Nd2 Nd4 16.Qh5

 Typical Computer move. Human would bring his attention to the Queenside, indeed Junior keeps an eye on the Kingside

16…Ne6 17.Rc3.

Seems like White is standing more actively and Junior is bringing more forces toward the Kingside.  

 17…Nc5 18.Bc2 Nxd5 19.exd5 g6 20.Qh6 f5 21.Ra3 Qf6?  

The critical moment of the game! First Kasparov misses 21…e4! with good counter play.


 After 22.Nf3! White maintains an advantage, as b4 is now a serious threat. The problem is that the computer can’t appreciate the amount of compensation black is about to get for the sacrificed material.   

22…axb3! 23.Rxa7 bxc2 24.Rc1 e4 25.Rxc2 Qa1+?  

A moment of carelessness. Kasparov, a bit tired thinks that everything looks good for him and inserts an unnecessary check. 25…f4! as he himself indicated after the game would have left black with strong initiative.

26.Nf1 f4 27.Ra8!

27…e3 28.fxe3 fxe3 29.Qxf8+

The computer bails out with a draw.

29…Kxf8 30.Rxc8+ Kf7 31.Rc7-c8

is just a perpetual. Black isn’t going to go for more and get less with either Kf6 or Ke8.



The first thing Garry said after the game was that he is happy to finally break the curse of losing game 2 of a match! So now Garry has one win and one ‘almost’ and nearly everyone is already counting the computer out! The gambling site on the Internet that takes bets considers Kasparov as a heavy favourite now.  

No doubt Kasparov worked very hard before the match and now tried to use new ideas and patterns in which Deep Junior feels it may be in a trap. (Game 1 is a good example.)

By the way, both matches Kramnik vs Deep Fritz and Kasparov with Deep Junior – developed approximately under one course:

First- domination of the human, then – is escalating on eyes of muscles at the computer. To this there is rather simple explanation.
The human in the beginning of a match always tries to grab the initiative and it a psychological edge. Unfortunately, the computer can not perceive a similar psychology.
The computer doesn’t know anything about the score of the match. The computer doesn’t even know it is playing chess. For the software it is a mathematical problem.
Their main purposes constantly increase the “evaluation”; that is an estimation of a position.
The human, leading in the score, starts to resort to more cautious tactics. It happened both with Kramnik, and with Kasparov.




Kasparov against Deep Junior – NY 2003 Part 1

A special thanks to Harvey Mandell and Aviv Friedman  who have contributed to this lecture. 

Over the last decade, computer programmers with grandmaster guidance have brought computers to the stage where  they beat grandmasters. One of the best programs is the Israeli developed ”Deep Junior
three time and current world computer champion

 Junior’s programmers Shay Bushinsky and Amir Ban  are both brilliant programmers but mediocre chess players. I am the grandmaster part of the Junior trio.  My role is to aid in the opening preparation as well as to detect the problem of each version Junior programmers are creating and to decide which one is the best.
It seemed that the ultimate test for Junior was to see how it could do against Garry Kasparov, considered by many to be the best chess player of all time. This match took place s
even years after the famous match with IBM’s Deep Blue (1997), when the world’s leading player had returned to play in New York once again representing humans against technology. The match was sponsored by FIDE, the international chess federation and X3D technologies.

This article tells some of the inside stories of the match as I saw it by my participation.  

Before the beginning of the match we did not expect … any specific result. We – simply hoped that Deep Junior would act adequately. It seemed that everyone except for us was sure of Kasparov’s victory. It wasn’t clear to me why so many had reached that conclusion. In 2002 Kramnik had failed to beat Deep Fritz, using anti-computer strategy.  Also, Kasparov’s style was not considered to be the best for a game against the computer.

The venue of the match, an impressive 24 story building which is an all-in-one combination of hotel, health spa, gymnasium, conference rooms, restaurant and a lot more, had dedicated its 12th floor as the playing ground. Blocked off to the general public and manned by no-nonsense security guards, the floor contained a special room for Garry, one for the Deep Junior team where the physical machines rested (and where representatives of the ICGA made sure it was ONLY the computer making the moves) and of course the actual playing room.

 The first game effectively changed the situation.  

Kasparov,G – Deep,Junior , New York 2003

Game 1 

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e3 e6 5.Nf3 Nbd7 6.Qc2 Bd6 7.g4!

 The first sign of combat! This move, attributed to GM’s Shabalov and Shirov came as a surprise to me. How to expect such a sharp line when you play against the computer?!  

7…dxc4 8.Bxc4 b6 9.e4 e5 10.g5 Nh5 11.Be3 0–0 12.0–0–0 Qc7 13.d5

Definitely that was not the best position Junior got after the Opening.  


This just makes things worse… 12…Bb7!? or even 12…c5 were better, although white already has a nice edge.

14.dxc6 bxc4 15.Nb5 Qxc6 16.Nxd6 Bb7 17.Qc3



No other computers would have played this move, but as a computer when the evaluation of losing e5 with a bad position is more than sacrificing an exchange for some ‘life’, you play it.

18.Nxe8 Rxe8 19.Rhe1 Qb5 20.Nd2 Rc8 21.Kb1 Nf8 22.Ka1 Ng6 23.Rc1 Ba6 24.b3 cxb3 25.Qxb3 Ra8 26.Qxb5 Bxb5 27.Rc7


Completely unexpectedly for all of us, Kasparov decided to use all his opening potential, and “to break” a computer quickly in the opening.
The opening stage is in general a rather hard test for the machine and perhaps, its weakest place. In its opening the computer is still not ready to enter serious rivalry with humans.You see on a board – 32 figures, and it is enormously difficult for the computer to expect variants. And very frequently the opening phase puts a computer in a tough situation.
That is why the Opening Book is such an important part of the preparation. The Computer like a human should feel quite confident. Sometimes the situation could be pretty funny.
I used to detect many positions, where according to theory the line appears to be a good one, but the Computer feels like it is going to lose.I could compare it to the kid who should taste the ice cream before eating it.

The same thing with the Computer – you have to feed it and to see the feedback, before deciding if the Computer will feel comfortable enough.

So, game 1 Deep Junior lost because Garry found the hole in our Opening Book, but as well understood that the best strategy vs. Junior is to push pawns forward, win a territory and get more space … Junior panicked in such situation, made a few positional errors and Kasparov simply dominated.