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Tuesday, 5 June, 2001, 12:23 GMT 13:23 UK
Kasparov sought for chess degree
Garry Kasparov and Vladimir Kramnik
Garry Kasparov (left) lost the world title to Vladimir Kramnik last year
Scotland's Aberdeen University is preparing to launch the world's first doctoral programme in chess this year - and is hoping former world champion Garry Kasparov will agree to lecture.

I am not saying applicants would have to defeat Kasparov...

Professor Peter Vas
Professor Peter Vas says the aim is to produce chess grandmasters, and to develop intelligent computers that can learn from their own experience.

Applicants, who should be skilled in computing and mathematics, may be asked to play a chess grandmaster as part of the entrance procedure.

"I am not saying they would have to defeat Kasparov, but when I analyse this game I must see potential," said Professor Vas.

Artificial intelligence

He says Kasparov's agent is optimistic the ex-world champion will agree to give lectures.

Profeesor Vas (left) and a PhD student
Professor Vas: Aiming to create computers like human beings
More than a dozen people have already applied, and there has been interest from as far afield as Brazil and the United States.

"It's about strategy and tactics, and how you can get a chess computer that can gradually learn by itself to become the strongest intelligent machine in the world," said Professor Vas.

He said the idea was to design the computers using techniques from the study of artificial intelligence.

Computer games

"They will be computers acting like human beings, not acting on the basis of binary algorithms like all computers today," he added.

Garry Kasparov
Kasparov: Famed for duel with Deep Blue
Multinational companies have shown interest in sponsoring the course, because success in developing the new software would have applications for all kinds of computer games.

Professor Vas, who was born in Hungary, said he had been testing his ideas on his own sons, aged 10 and 12, who in a short time had become two of the best players of their age in Scotland.

Kasparov showed his interest in chess computers by taking on the best available during his reign as world champion.

These games culminated in the duel between Kasparov and IBM's Deep Blue. The human won the first match in 1996 - just as he had beaten its predecessor Deep Thought in 1989 - but lost the second in 1997.

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See also:

02 Nov 00 | Europe
Kasparov falls to crushing defeat
23 Oct 99 | Sci/Tech
Kasparov outplays the planet
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