Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Chessmaster 2000

Before Jennings vs. Watson, there was Kasparov vs. Deep Blue (1996). I was enthralled by the match and read everything in the Trib leading up to it. I was shocked and a little inspired when, after an early loss to the machine, Kasparov managed to rope-a-dope it into submission and win – a tremendous accomplishment. (Kasparov lost the rematch and retreated into a funk from which he has only recently emerged as a champion of democracy in Russia.)

Before Deep Blue, there was the Chessmaster 2000 (1986), which I played for hours on our old green Compaq. The Chessmaster on the package was spooky, wizened, confident - I loved him immediately. I could never beat the machine, which played "the party is over" as its Black queen glided inevitably into checkmate position. Back then, grandmasters could still trounce the Chessmaster, but these days I wonder whether PCs are almost as powerful as Deep Blue.

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