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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Why didn't IBM market its chess program afterwards?, 16 Jun 2004
This review is from: Game Over - Kasparov and the Machine [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
If you start losing in a casino, perhaps more than you can afford, it's tempting to fall for the debt-recovery strategy: "I'll bet just enough on this game to cover all my losses. If I lose, I'll repeat this tactic. If I win, I'll stop playing and walk away."
IBM followed this strategy in its matches with Kasparov. First time it lost. Kasparov agreed a re-match when IBM requested it. IBM's Deep Blue won the second match. Now it was Kasparov's turn to ask for a re-match. But IBM refused.
For a long time, there's been this question hanging in the air: Why did IBM turn down Kasparov's request? And why, having won, didn't IBM go on to sell its victorious chess-playing programme on the consumer market -- if not the Unix version, then a slimmed-down version which would run on PCs? Why did IBM mothball Deep Blue and halt all chess research as soon as it had won?
This film provides one explanation -- that after Game One, IBM introduced human contributions to Deep Blue's thought processes. Kasparov never won another game against it. This film doesn't take a position on this allegation. (For example, a serious investigation would have tried to find out which grandmaster it could possibly have been who provided that human contribution.)
The usual explanation is that IBM saw no publicity advantage in staging another re-match. And as for the marketing question, well IBM just doesn't really target the consumer market.
Slightly short of actual footage from the 1997 match -- there are, for example, no clips from IBM CEO Gerstner's gloating press conference -- this 84-minute documentary intercuts video images from the match with scenes of present-day Kasparov wandering around his old haunts, together with short clips of the chess-playing 'Turk' automaton which concealed a very competent midget a couple of centuries ago.
This documentary is as much about the impact on Kasparov today as about the IBM computer. It has been observed (although not in this movie) that Kasparov is still so obsessed with his loss to Deep Blue that he now plays against human opponents as if they are computers. He just can't quite recapture the old brilliance, although his ELO rating is still stratospheric.
I'm not sure how many times I would care to watch this again, although the production values and background music (somewhat similar to Cliff Martinez's work for 'Traffic') are attractive. (For me, the best chess programmes/films were BBC2's 'Master Game' series from the mid-1970s. Is it too much to hope that these great programmes, which feature Korchnoi, Hort, Miles, Nunn and (like this movie, Anatoly Karpov, will appear on DVD?)
Anyway, enjoy this DVD while you can. You can't get it in the States. Draw your own conclusions about who might have suppressed it there.
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