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World champion to battle chess supercomputer

By David Legard

(IDG) -- World chess champion Vladimir Kramnik will play the "Deep Fritz 7" chess supercomputer in an eight-game match in Bahrain in October, organizers Brain Games PLC announced Tuesday.

This will be the first man vs. machine chess showdown since IBM Corp.'s "Deep Blue" RS/6000-based parallel computer defeated former world chess champion Garry Kasparov 3.5 points to 2.5 points in 1997. The new match has been given the title "Brains in Bahrain." Kramnik, a Russian, will earn $1 million if he wins, $800,000 for a drawn match, and $600,000 if he loses.

Kramnik ended Kasparov's 15-year reign as world champion last year, and will be playing against a machine capable of analyzing 4 million moves per second.

Deep Fritz has been built from scratch by an independent group of computer and chess specialists, led by Dutch programmer Frans Morsch, after IBM decided not to continue the Deep Blue project. Deep Fritz has previously beaten Deep Blue, Kasparov and World Chess Federation champion Vishwanathan Anand.

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The 1997 match offered evidence that machines could be more effective in carrying out some complex processing tasks than humans, re-igniting a long-standing debate about machine, or artificial, intelligence.

Deep Blue chose moves via an algorithm that evaluated the "goodness" of chess positions rated by material (the number and value of the player's remaining pieces), position, King safety and tempo. The search algorithm was able to choose profitable-looking lines of play to search "deep," or several moves ahead. Deep Blue also contained a preprogrammed database of chess information, including more than 2,000 opening moves.

Brains in Bahrain will be played between Oct. 14 and Oct. 31.

• Brain Games PLC

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