Friday, June 03, 2005

Summer Tournament and Film Festival

The Kenilworth Summer Tournament began last night with three games. Mark Kernighan pulled out one of his typical "Houdini" tricks against Greg Tomkovich, rescuing a potentially lost ending to win in mutual time pressure. I played a terrible opening blunder against Pete Cavaliere, who promptly took advantage but then was kind enough to accept my desperation draw offer. The big surprise of the night, though, was newcomer Javier Moreno defeating our under-1800 champ Joe Demetrick. Javier is new to tournament chess (he even has trouble keeping score), but he has obviously learned quite a lot from his play online. He's one to watch--or watch out for!

Summer Tournament Score
Tomkovich-Kernighan, 0-1
Cavaliere-Goeller, 1/2-1/2
Moreno-Demetrick, 1-0

The summer film festival also started well. We saw "Game Over: Kasparov and the Machine," about the newly retired champ's match against IBM's Deep Blue chess computer. The film contained much interesting archival footage (including scenes from Kasparov's first and second encounters with Karpov) and some interesting inter-splicing of footage from the 1927 silent film "The Chess Player," about Maezel's chess machine "The Turk." Of course, for anyone like myself who has read Bruce Pandolfini's excellent book Kasparov and Deep Blue and Tom Standage's excellent history of The Turk: The Life and Times of the Famous Eighteenth Century Chess-Playing Machine, the film does not offer a lot of new insight or information. But the interviews with Kasparov and many others surrounding the match (including Kasparov's agent, the Deep Blue team, Joel Benjamin, and Yasser Seirawan) give you real insight into the psychological battle that took place off the board. The filmmakers have used that angle to make their "chess film" more interesting for the general viewership, of course. But I, like many other serious players I'm sure, would have appreciated more specific commentary on the games themselves. The DVD contains a bonus computer re-enactment of the game with computerized voice commentary (which sounds a bit like Stephen Hawking), but I would have liked more direct discussion of the games within the film itself (including explanations of key moves). After all, there were only six of them. And if the filmmakers wanted to reach a wider audience with their film, they missed a great opportunity to teach amateurs and beginners a bit more about the game. As Bruce Pandolfini demonstrates so well in his book on the match, those games offer us a lot of insight when well annotated.

I will try to arrange another film showing for next week. Watch this space for more details later. Maybe the 1985 Dangerous Moves?


Anonymous blabla6 said...

Hi guys, I think this might interest you; If you wish to see chess IA on action against the world champion, on June 21 at 5 p.m NY time, reigning FIDE world champion Rustam Kasimdzhanov is scheduled to play an interesting man vs machine match. The opponent is the "AI Accoona ToolBar". The event is being staged by the search engine company Accoona and the venue is the Accoona Toolbar for a live match . You can download it here download !
The company says they have big plans on chess for the future.

Tue Jun 21, 05:15:00 AM EDT  

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