Garry Kasparov can probably spend days talking about computers and chess. After all, he was the first man to go up against the might of a machine, Deep Blue, fuelled by IBM processors that had the combined capacity of making up to 200 million calculations per second. In his own words, he had “probably only two,” up his sleeve.
Yet, in two matches, the former chess great beat the beast before getting tamed in the second.
“I won the first match and I lost the second and then they dismantled the machine,” said Kasparov, who was in New Delhi to address entrepreneurs. He won against the machine by having steady hands and concentrating on good moves rather than wasting time on trashy ones.
The former world champion thinks if it was difficult to win against machines then, with advancement in technology it is virtually impossible to compete against machines in this age.
“I have played so many games in World Championships and I have analysed extensively. So I can tell you that in a high-quality game, if you have 50 moves, the winner would probably play 45 good moves, four excellent moves and most likely there will be one tiny mistake. Irrelevant in human chess, but against a machine you will not lose but you will not win,” Kasparov explained.
“To win against a computer, you have to be so precise, which goes against our nature because as humans we can’t maintain the same level of concentration. So if fighting machines 20 years ago was a difficult thing, now it is virtually impossible,” he said.
One can tell he dislikes the modern way of players relying solely on computers. “I think the challenge today is to not overuse these devices. You should navigate, and not get swarmed by them. That is the problem in chess and elsewhere. The big data creates this illusion that you can get an answer by pushing a button. If you want to become a champion, you have to stop, separate from the crowd. It is very difficult,” he added.
But he sees an upswing in technological advancement, a gain in the popularity of the game. “At the end of the day, TV is regularly losing ground to Internet and will be removed one day. When it happens, we can talk about a different environment because on big screen football wins, but you move to this screen (mobile), I am not sure you will enjoy watching tennis or football, while you can play and follow chess on this. So basically, the future development of technology gives chess an edge.”