‘Game Over: Kasparov and the Machine’ is a documentary that looks into the world of chess freaks and computer geeks that engaged in a mental death match pitting man versus the machine. Humanity’s dominance in intelligence was to be decided by the ultimate thinking man’s game, chess. Humans lost, computers won and Kasparov the premier chess player is still cranky about it.
Vanity arrogance and pride are all traits the IBM programming team left out of the artificial intelligence used in Deep Blue, the monster truck of super computing. But what about cunning? Can a computer be a con artist? And be sly and deceitful to defeat human kind?
About thirty minutes into ‘Game Over’ Kasparov and the machine, it appears that Kasparov was beaten by the oldest cons in the book – He was being hustled by IBM’s Deep Blue. At first it seems as though IBM designed their computer to ‘psyche’ Kasparov out by throwing the first match giving the Russian grandmaster a false sense of victory while learning its opponents moves. However, the press conference held at the end of day one clearly shows that the human creators of the super computer didn’t plan for Deep Blue to be so badly beaten in game one, and spent an all-nighter fixing their mistakes and bugs before game two.
It seems strange to me that the games officials and rules would even allow the IBM engineers to make any changes once the tournament had begun. And so from this point of view I can see where Kasparov’s has a cause for complaint – but his paranoid delusions that something else was up, that IBM was some how using a human chess master to cheat their way to victory in the form of three draws and a win is embarrassing. And sadly Kasparov can’t seem to take his loss like a man. Kasparov defeated himself in the most human of ways. He allowed the pressure of the moment to weaken his spirit and he is crushed in the final match.
The films coverage of the event makes up for the look and feel of ‘Game Over’ which at times resembles a news exploitation show, with overly dramatic audio cues and enough editing cut-aways that make the most mundane seem sinister. Despite this cheesy flavoring, the compilation of newsreel footage from the match in 1997 and the interviews of the participants looking back from the present day provide an open window into an event that captured the attention of the world.
‘Game Over’ proves that half a dozen nerds with a pair of refrigerator-sized computers can grind down the worlds top chess player. And Kasparov himself reveals that an undefeated chessmaster makes for a sore loser who holds a grudge to the present day.
Chalking one up for computers everywhere, for Movie Magazine this is Purple.
© 2005 - Purple - Air Date: 2/9/05
Game Over: Kasparov and the Machine
Canada / UK - 2003