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Cautious Kasparov agrees to 3-3 tie

©Associated Press
February 8, 2003

NEW YORK -- Chess legend Garry Kasparov, who still bitterly contests his loss to a computer six years ago, averted a similar defeat Friday when he agreed to a draw in the last game of his series against Deep Junior.

The six-game series, dubbed Man vs. Machine and sanctioned by the sport's governing body, finished tied 3-3.

"I had one item on my agenda today: not to lose," Kasparov said. "So that's why I wanted to be absolutely safe. I decided it would be wiser to stop playing."

Kasparov played himself into a superior position but offered a draw on the 23rd move, surprising chess experts. Deep Junior turned down the offer but offered a draw five moves later, and Kasparov accepted -- to the boos of the crowd.

Kasparov said he played better than Deep Junior in the deciding game and would have pressed for a win in a similar position against a human opponent. But he said he feared even a tiny mistake would have been severely punished by the computer.

Kasparov, rated No. 1 by the World Chess Federation, said last month that he would take on Deep Junior. "I'm here representing the human race," he said at the time. "I promise I'll do my utmost."

Kasparov was paid $500,000 by the WCF, the sport's governing body, for playing the computer and would have received $300,000 more had he won.

Kasparov, 39, has held the world's No. 1 point-system ranking since 1984. Deep Junior is a three-time computer world champion. The players had been tied at 21/2 games apiece going into the final contest.

Kasparov also was tied going into the last game of his match with IBM supercomputer Deep Blue in 1997. After losing the game and the match, he said the computer might have been given hints by humans, allegations IBM denied.

Kasparov's loss was seen by some as a watershed moment in technological advancement.

Deep Junior can process 3-million chess moves per second. That's fewer than Deep Blue's 200-million, but Deep Junior's programmers say it thinks more like a human, choosing strategy over simply capturing pieces quickly.

X3D Technologies, a computer game maker and one of the series sponsors, broadcast the games on the Internet, drawing millions of viewers. The final game was shown live on ESPN2.

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