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on 2 March 2014
There are three stories in the contest between the IBM-backed chess program and the then World Champion, Gary Kasparov:

.. the human story, both of the programmers and Kasparov

.. the chess story, what moves were made in the matches

.. the program story, why the computer made the moves it did.

This book does a half and a couple of quarters. The human story is from the perspective of one of the Deep Blue team, the one primarily responsible for the specialist hardware, rather than anything from Kasparov's side. The 'why' of a few critical moves are looked at... then it's back to the author being wonderful. (For more detail about the program, the reader is pointed to the IBM website, with the comment that the info might not be there any more. It's not and you'll need to use archive.org to see it.)

There is some interesting stuff, particularly around those moves, but this is very much aimed at a reader who can barely make a move and doesn't know about computers. For that audience, it's great. But if you're interested in creating computer programs, rather than reading about the struggle to create them, this is not the book for you. For much more detail on Deep Blue's program and hardware, see Chips Challenging Champions: Games, Computers and Artificial Intelligence which contains a technical paper written by the Deep Blue team.
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on 29 July 2009
I enjoyed very much!
It's really amazing the amount of work that Feng-Hsiung put into the making of the "mother of all chess machines"! I liked his style and also the chapter speaking about Deep Thought the ancestor of Deep Blue. Why the name Deep Thought? Well, the answer is "42"!! I liked that!
I followed the Deep Blue match and even though I believe that Kasparov is the greatest Chess player who ever existed,I never believed his accusations about "human manipulation" of the machine.
After reading the book I am absolutely certain about that! Kasparov lost because he focused himself into the Deep Blue's play and not to his own playing capabilities.
I also fully agree with Feng-Hsiung, during this match the man as a tool maker won, and not a machine which is not intelligent. The intelligent player was Garry.
In summary, this is great entertaining book. Reading it you will have a great time.

Nicolas B.
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on 5 August 2010
This is a great read for anyone interested in chess or the making of a super computer that ultimately, and inevitably, beats man. This book is about the background that went into to creating a computer that only just manages to beat Kasparov, despite being able to evaluate 200 million positions per second!
Some people think Hsu is a bit vain but it's written by him and about his achievement in the holy grail race, so fair enough for being a little smug! Still worth the read until someone writes a better book!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 15 October 2002
This is an excellent read. The techie bits are not boring - the author's enthusiasm for the development of Deep Blue and its predecessors is catching. Even more enjoyable are the stories about the individuals involved - and their egos. The second half of the book concentrates on the Kasparov vs Deep Blue matches and its gripping stuff - I couldn't put it down. Kasparov seemed to get all the coverage after the matches so it is good to get the other side of the story. And it is enlightening and surprising. A great read. Buy it. You'll love it.
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