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Tuesday, 31 July, 2001, 14:52 GMT 15:52 UK
Chess champion to battle computer
Vladimir Kramnik
Kramnik says he is unnerved by the computer's power
World chess champion Vladimir Kramnik is taking on the world's most powerful chess computer in a competition that has been billed by its organisers as a "last chance for human intelligence".

The Russian chess master will battle Deep Fritz in an eight-day battle of eight games in Bahrain in October.

Garry Kasparov
Kasparov: Kramnik beat his former teacher last year
Speaking at a London press conference on Tuesday to announce the contest, Kramnik admitted he was "quite scared to hear the computer can see 4 milllion moves a second. I'll be happy to do one a second".

The competition, which will be broadcast on the internet, is seen as the sequel to supercomputer Deep Blue's defeat of ex-world champion Garry Kasparov in 1997 in New York.

Human instinct

Kramnik, 25, is Kasparov's former pupil, beating his teacher last year to take the world title.

The Russian said he hoped human wit would help him beat the upgraded successor to Deep Blue.

"I'm sure that I have my own trump and my own chances," he said.

There are three crucial differences between Kramnik's forthcoming contest, and the conditions which Kasparov played under when he tackled Deep Blue:

  • Kramnik will be allowed to see all the computer's previous games
  • Kramnik will be able to rest every six hours
  • Deep Fritz will not be allowed to be re-programmed after every game

"I believe this match will attract a lot of interest because there are not many fields in which humans can compete against computers," Kramnik added.

Lucrative experiment

Franz Morsch, who co-wrote Deep Fritz's programme, brought in an attache case which he said contained the programme but kept it firmly shut.

Kramnik with Deep Fritz
Deep Fritz is the successor to Deep Blue
He said the programme, which had been developed over four years, "should be enough to overplay even a grandmaster like Kramnik".

If Kramnik does win, he will take home $1m. Even if he loses, he will receive $600,000 - $200,000 more than the computer.

Kramnik, who had beaten two grand masters by the age of 10, said he would start training this week.

A fair fight

In 1992, after watching his prodigy playing in Dortmund, Germany, Kasparov said: "There are many players, but they don't play chess, they move the pieces. Kramnik plays chess."

Kramnik concurred with his idol's view, when he told BBC radio on Tuesday: "Chess is not only about calculation and that's why we humans have a chance against computers."

Competition chairman and chess expert Tony Buzan said that Kramnik's idiosyncratic style was exactly the type of play that computers hate.

"We are far more complex than the most powerful computer and that is why Kramnik can win this," he said.

See also:

02 Nov 00 | Europe
Kasparov falls to crushing defeat
23 Oct 99 | Sci/Tech
Kasparov outplays the planet
05 Jun 01 | Europe
Kasparov sought for chess degree
08 May 00 | Sci/Tech
Fury at computer's next move
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