PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 17 -- Garry Kasparov beat the IBM supercomputer 'Deep Blue' in 43 moves Saturday, making the world chess champion the clear winner in a six-match battle of man vs. machine. Kasparov, perhaps the greatest chess player in the game's history, called the computer a 'serious opponent' and said that the human ability to learn from his mistakes gave him an edge. He lost the first game Feb. 10 but came back to win three and take two draws for a 4-2 score overall. 'I did not expect it to be that tough,' Kasparov said. 'I was very lucky to lose game one because that was the best warning.' Deep Blue is the first computer to beat Kasparov in standard tournament play, although he has lost speed matches where a computer's ability to review positions and make decisions quickly give an advantage. Kasparov's victory in the series sponsored by the Association for Computing Machinery at the Pennsylvania Convention Center gives him a $400,000 prize. IBM plans to donate the loser's award of $100,000 to charity. Kasparov entered the last game with the advantage of playing white and, thus, making the first move. He was also relaxed after a victory Friday night put him ahead, so that even if he lost the final game he would have tied the series. Chung-Jen Tan, head of the IBM Deep Blue team, said overall victory was not the group's ultimate goal. 'Our goal for being here was really to test out our system and learn from this,' Tan said.
Chess is one of the world's oldest games and one of the most complex, with the movement of the 16 pieces on each side allowing for more possible positions than there are atoms in the known universe. The development of chess-playing computers began soon after Eniac, the first digital computer, went into operation in 1946 at the University of Pennsylvania. For IBM, chess is a means to an end, the development of special purpose computers that can handle complex tasks like air-traffic control or weather forecasting. The sixth game, like earlier ones, showed both Deep Blue's advantages and limitations. On the plus side, the computer is incredibly fast, able to review 50 billion potential chess positions in three minutes. But, as Kasparov said, the machine cannot learn from experience and must wait for its programmers to improve its hardware and software. And Kasparov is able to reject outright crazy moves out of hand, while the computer must consider everything. Toward the end of the game, the computer allowed one of its rooks to become boxed in, apparently because it can only see about five moves ahead. But Kasparov believes the series is the beginning of a new age for human and computer chess players. For the first time, he said, he felt like he was playing a computer that showed something approaching human intelligence and intuition.