Saturday, November 21, 2009

Kasparov slams Illescas 'confession’

AS The Chess Connoisseur went through the 25th anniversary issue of New In Chess (NIC) magazine (Issue 7/2009), he has just gone through its two-page table of contents and read in its reader’s opinion page, Your Move, the reaction of former world champion and world number one player over two decades–Garry Kasparov–to Spanish grandmaster Miguel Illescas’ interview that appeared in NIC Issue 5/2009.

In the article based on said interview by NIC editor Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam, Illescas narrated his involvement as an adviser and trainer in two historic match defeats of Kasparov against the computer Deep Blue in 1997 and his pupil Vladimir Kramnik in the 2000 London world championship match.

Illescas noted that in the rematch with Deep Blue the only time Kasparov played normal openings (GK employed anti-computer moves in the other games) were in the second and sixth (the last) games. He further revealed that on the morning of the last day of the match the Deep Blue team had worked on the variation of the Caro-Kann that came up in that game.

Kasparov believes and still contends that the IBM Deep Blue team ‘cheated’ him. In both losses, he essayed variations he had never played before – the Smyslov Variation of the Spanish Opening in game two and the 4… Nd7 variation of the Caro-Kann Defense in game six, yet in both instances, the Deep Blue team had ‘anticipated’ and ‘worked’ on them, the last being on the morning of the last day of the match.

For Kasparov these incidents were never mere coincidences. At the outset of his letter to the NIC editors, Kasparov wrote ‘… far from alleviating my suspicions, several of his (Illescas’) comments justify, if not entirely vindicate, my abiding doubts about IBM’s behavior during the matches.’ He concluded that ‘on these points I feel he (Illescas) is asking for a much greater leap of faith than I am.’

Kasparov mentioned ‘the perils of having a competitor also (as) the organizer and arbiter.’ He has learned this bitter lesson and never involved himself again in any ‘scientific experiment’ against a computer like IBM’s Deep Blue that was totally dismantled shortly after the match.

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