Game Over
Kasparov and the Machine

Starring: Garry Kasparov
Momentum Pictures
RRP: 19.99
Certificate: PG
Available 10 May 2004

In May 1997 Garry Kasparov, widely regarded as the greatest chess player the world has ever seen, played Deep Blue - a hulking, one-and-a-half ton IBM supercomputer - in a chess tournament and 'scientific experiment'. International interest in the match had exploded. The epic battle of Man Vs. Machine had captured people's imaginations. To win the match the computer did what many thought impossible at the time, it appeared to think like a human...

Game Over: Kasparov and the Machine is a documentary that examines the run up to the infamous six game match between Kasparov and IBM's supercomputer Deep Blue. It then looks at the match itself and asks did IBM's machine really beat the world's Grand Master or was there some human intervention?

To those who are not familiar with the events, it probably sounds like sour grapes on Kasparov's part. He was beaten by a machine and couldn't take the fact that the programmers had beaten him. But there are several questions that need addressing.

Firstly, why was Kasparov beaten by a computer that made so many blunders during its first game - a question Kasparov and other experts believe may have seen IBM bending the rules in order to win at all costs. During the first game Deep Blue thought like a machine, which is why Kasparov mopped the floor with it. But in the second game, Kasparov made a move that resulted in Deep Blue making a countermove which many have claimed could only have been made by a human.

The fact that IBM's stock rocketed after the game, and that no one was allowed to enter the room where Deep Blue was housed has caused many to ask whether IBM cheated.

And why is it that the achievements IBM had managed to gain were not exploited further? Why did work on Deep Blue finish after the match? Isn't that a little strange? Here we have a computer that can think like a human, yet no further research is conducted in order to reap the obvious potential benefits.

This documentary consisting of interviews with Kasparov, his manager, chess experts, and members of the IBM Deep Blue team, as well as original footage of the match itself, Game Over is not only an absorbing film about chess but a fascinating snapshot of a historical moment when man was beaten by machine.

Extras on the DVD include a copy of a chess program - Fritz special edition. This has a database of over 300,000 matches and is suitable for both novice players and professionals. It also provides guest access to Playchess.com for interactive play. The inclusion of this software adds an extra point to the review - it really is a great bit programme.

An extremely entertaining DVD.

Darren Rea

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