Kasparov as Scott Pilgrim

Recently I stumbled upon Kasparov versus the World, the story of the best chess player in history’s battle against four young chess stars, a grandmaster, a Russian chess school, heavy computer analysis, and the open internet. Microsoft organised this epic battle in 1999, and the wikipedia page explains move-by-move what occurred.

Through the game, the 15-year-old Irina Krush (now the women’s world champion) built up massive influence over the voting public, her moves winning every vote from 10th to the 50th, beginning with a move that had never been played before in any recorded game.

A St Petersburg school of Russian grandmasters took an interest; they began by flaming Krush, but eventually worked together in the analysis. Yet the wily Kasparov evaded their traps and played completely unexpected moves – each time the confidence of the World Team suffered, they broke out in bickering and recriminations across the forums.

The lead went back and forth, reaching a seven-piece endgame, which even now has not been solved (six pieces and under have been comprehensively brute-force searched by computers). The computer analysis turned up conflicting views, and the forums could not arrive upon a unified plan – and Kasparov took the victory.

It’s a fantastic story, full of drama, made all the richer because I understand the game.

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One response to “Kasparov as Scott Pilgrim

  1. Thanks for sharing, will read this with interest.

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