Deep Blue finds a way to survive
Another marvelous saving resource in the endgame from Deep Blue has tied the match at 2.5-2.5, with one to play, and increased the tension to an almost unbearable degree.
Garry Kasparov, who sees himself as the "last man standing" in a mission to save chess from being turned into a mathematical formula, now faces having to win with black in Game 6 to take the match, an awesome task.
The champion's demeanor has changed palpably as the match has progressed, and he still seems to be in shock from the trauma of being outplayed in Game 2 and then resigning a drawn position.
Today, playing white, he continued his ultra-cautious strategy in the opening, and it seemed to bear fruit in the form of two powerful looking bishops. Deep Blue was unconcerned and played such a startling 11th move that the champion stared at Murray Campbell as if to say, "Is that right ? "
Said Kasparov after the game: "Sometimes the computer plays very human moves. "
Kasparov was soon under pressure on the board, and again on the clock, but he was given some relief when Deep Blue exchanged queens, a tactic that simplifies the game considerably.
The next phase of the game saw Kasparov make a comeback and outplay the machine, isolating its pieces and giving up a pawn to win it back advantageously soon after.
Finally came another vintage endgame in which the combined human intuition of all the top players present could not outweigh the raw calculating power of Deep Blue.
Kasparov had a pawn that seemed destined to be promoted to a new queen, the nearest thing in chess to a touchdown. Deep Blue, meanwhile, seemed oblivious to the danger and was feasting on Kasparov's queenside pawns. What was it doing? We all wanted to know. The answer came as Deep Blue's king moved up the board creating such huge threats that, in the end, Kasparov had to offer a draw on the 49th move.
So no winner for the third successive game, only for the game of chess. The champ summed it up: "When two sides play well the game is a draw. "
-- IM Malcolm Pein, London Chess Centre