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Kaspy vs. Fritz/X3D

  Garry Kasparov versus the computer program, Fritz/X3D  

     The Official  Site  for this match   

   I have received dozens of e-mails about this ... I apologize for not getting around to it sooner.  
  Apparently the above pages are no longer available, I leave the link here as a historical record. 
  The X3D Company  has changed its name to the "Opticality Corporation," you may visit their  
  website  to learn more about them. A diligent  search  of their website revealed almost nothing  
significant about chess. I used all the relevant key-words that I could think of. A friend, who lives  
in New York, did some research, the company may have run into fiscal problems. 

--->  However ... all is not lost! Some of these pages are  archived  on the Google server.   
  You can also see a list of these pages - and the updates  HERE!  (Or here.)  


  (A closer  look  at Fritz/X3D in 2003.)  
 (This link may not be valid anymore.) 


   (See the February, 2004 issue of 'Chess Life' for several articles on this match.)   

NOTE:  What I have decided to do ... apart from posting as much as I can as quickly as is humanly possible ... is to take about a one or two week break. I would like to analyze all of these games in depth ... and I will. But for now I have some other things I must do first. (Like earn  a living!) 

Within just hours after the end of each game, I brought you at least the game scores and a brief coverage of what happened in each game - and a summary of the live coverage as well. 

Eventually ALL of these games will be annotated by me ... if for no other reason than completeness, and the fact that I think that many of the annotations already posted on the web are just plain bad. Two of these games were BRIEFLY annotated within a few hours of their completion and posted here. I think this is as timely as you can get. For now I have links to all the important sites that have good coverage of this great event. Many of these feature annotations, some by Mig Greengard or GM Karsten Mueller. (Or many others.) Of course until Kasparov himself writes a book on this match, it will be impossible to do the best job possible ... or really know what the champ was thinking at critical points in the game. (or games)  I also want to  watch all the coverage  (again!)  and take  notes. (I recorded all the available coverage on my VCR.)  Only after I have completed this process can I do a really good job, and bring some of the 'flavor' of these games as they occurred. 

Since this match has started, I have gotten an average of about 150  e-mails  everyday! (Just answering all this has been a huge chore in and of itself.) But I also wanted to say  THANKS  to all the people who wrote in ... and sent me stories, snippets of analysis, etc. I really appreciate everyone and every single e-mail. (I also must say thanks to the  Internet Chess Club,  and  U.S. Chess Live  for their tremendous coverage and on-line commentary. The on-line radio show of  "CHESS-dot-FM"  was also excellent ... and helped tremendously on the days when the coverage was booted off  ESPN.) I would also like to take this opportunity to thank ESPN and their sponsors. Seeing chess - live!, on TV - is a real treat for me ... and never gets old.  THANKS!!!  (Thank-you, very much!) 

Thursday, November 20th, 2003.  

In case you have not heard, Kasparov is scheduled to play a match with FRITZ/X3D ... 
sometime in November of 2003. Stay tuned as we 'ramp-up' for another big match. 


   Garry - - - looking cool in the 3D glasses.  (kasp_vfx3d-wgls.jpg, 05 KB)

opening ceremony
The match was officially opened and all the VIPs were in Times Square. ESPN, which will show over 17 hours of the match live, hosted the opening ceremony at the famous ESPNZone on Broadway.

Kasparov expressed optimism and spoke at length about the new challenges presented by X3D Fritz. Speaker comments and lots of photos.
 [ more ]  


Kasparov to play virtual chess  ...  ...  ...   09/11/2003 16:40 - (SA) 

New York - Former world chess champion Gary Kasparov plays against the computer "X3D Fritz" this week in a virtual match in which the board is in cyberspace and the pieces are moved by voice command. 

The event marks the first time man and machine have battled over a chessboard "in total virtual reality," according to the International Computer Games Association and the United States Chess Federation. 

The four games,  on  November 11th, 13th, 16th and 18th; (2003)  ...  at the New York Athletic Club, will be broadcast live on  ESPN  and on the Internet at

The 40-year-old chess great will play wearing 3-D glasses, gazing at a chess board that appears to float in the air, dictating the movement of his pieces with voice commands, and rotating the board with a joystick. 

"It's pure concept: man versus machine with nothing in between," Kasparov said at a press conference on Friday. 

He said the lack of a physical board and chess pieces would not immediately affect his thought process, "but I suspect it will in the long term, so we'll find out." 

"In the 25 years of my professional chess career I used to move the pieces. It's all environment, a framework of the game that my mind is used to working with," he said. 

"I hope that I will adjust myself and I will be able to live with this voice activating system, with the machine, the different angles, the joystick." 

The match is Kasparov's third against a computer since he lost to Deep Blue in 1997 and tied with Deep Junior in February of this year. 

"In 1997 I was not successful playing Deep Blue, last time was a draw, and this time should be better," he said. 

"Five years from now, it will be impossible to beat a machine in long matches," he predicted. 


X3D Fritz is an upgraded version of Fritz, the machine which then-world chess champion Vladimir Kramnik played in Bahrain in 2002, tying him four to four. 

Hungarian chess champion Susan Polgar called the games "a wonderful promotional match." 

"It will bring a lot more new people to chess," she said. 

Although she has never played a machine in public, Polgar uses training software. "It's a very different experience," she said. 

"With people there's a lot of psychology involved, while against the computer it's pure perfection," she said. 

Kasparov is still considered the world's best chess player although he lost the world champion title to Kramnik in 2000.  (He is still the highest-rated. A.J.G.) 

Garry Kasparov versus X3D Fritz

New York City, USA The latest computer challenge for Garry Kasparov is set to begin on Tuesday, November 11. X3D Fritz will have faster chips and a stronger program over the Fritz 8 that drew a match with Kramnik in 2002. The computer will also have a home-field advantage of sorts with the four games taking place on an X3D virtual reality screen.


  The scene as it will probably look at this big event.

Kasparov will speak his moves to X3D Fritz's voice recognition module, so unlike in this opening ceremony photo, no mouse will be required. Official site:

You'll be able to follow every move live with commentary at TWIC! 
The game schedule: Nov 11, 13, 16, 18 at 6pm GMT (1pm NY time)

More News at The Week In Chess

  Garry Kasparov versus the mindless machines  

In November of 2003, Garry Kasparov will play Fritz X3D, a program that is supposedly very strong ... "state of the art." This is a continuation of his duels with other machines like his matches with "Deep Blue" and Deep Junior." While many think he is doing this solely for self-promotion and to make money, these matches are very interesting from a scientific viewpoint, and could be last time a human could successfully play chess versus a computer program. It should be both exciting AND very entertaining. 


  Click  HERE  to see more news stories on this match.  

Click  HERE  to see a nice page on the  "Q&A"  just after the opening ceremony.

    Go  here  to see the official site for the match.    

  READ  the post-game interview Garry gave just after the conclusion of game four.  

     It is all over the media - click here to see a sampling of some of the news coverage of this match!  {Courtesy of CB.}  (kvsfx3d_newsoutlets1.jpg, 04 KB)

It's all in the news!

16.11.2003  Everybody is talking about it the coverage in thousands of newspapers all over the world comes in addition to the massive cable TV coverage on ESPN and TV news reports in stations around the world. Even Al Jazeera is following the progress of "Chess czar Gary Kasparov" in his New York match against X3D Fritz.  

(From the ChessBase website.)


   Look at all the news agencies ... that are covering chess!! (kvsfx3d_media-links.jpg, 10 KB)

 Garry and X3D in the media 

Garry Kasparov ... and his extremely powerful opponent, (Fritz_X3D) are all over the news media. Practically every major news source on the planet ... has a story on this match. Check out all the very complete list of links compiled by the boys at the X3D site.  [ more ]  

   Click on the links just below to go to the page for that game.   

 Game # 1.     Game # 2.      Game # 3    Game # 4  

  A note on the machine and the hardware of  Fritz_X3D  

I have a friend who works in the computer business ...  he is also an amateur player and a fan of my websites as well. He was recently in New York and attended one of the games. He also talked - at length - with several of the X3D employee's, and they explained to him some of the hardware and software involved here. 

The actual FRITZ program here is being run on its own board or module - which is a computer in and of itself. It features FOUR (4) Xeon processors, that run at nearly 3 GHz, if my memory serves me. (2.8 GHz, to be precise.) Additionally, this unit also boasts FOUR GIG (4 GB) of RAM. Additionally, the computer module has access to nearly unlimited (hard-disk) memory - on a bank of hard drives. 

The three-dimensional VIRTUAL REALITY software - and the giant monitor that Garry was looking at all the time on TV ...  were being powered and run by a separate computer. This was a virtual  super-computer  that must execute nearly billions (or even trillions) of calculations a second ... to make the chess-board come alive in the  "virtual reality"  world. (The monitor itself is estimated to cost at least $50,000.) 

And finally, many of Fritz's functions - such as estimation and the opening database (stored library) of  2.8 MILLION  individual moves ... was being run on a separate computer, with its own memory and its own processor! And all of this was being integrated through an OS similar to a SUN Micro-Systems' operating platform. (and software) 

Needless to say, this is  NOT  your average PC that most of us have sitting on our desks at home!!! In fact, many of us were led to believe that this is a PC program. And while it is true that this software might soon be made available commercially, the simple truth is that unless you have access to the same kind of hardware that the Fritz Team utilized in New York; your own version of the program will NEVER perform like this!  Q.E.D. 

My narrative of the match.

Game # 1.)  Having gotten the opening ceremonies out of the way, it was time to play some chess. Garry got a VERY nice position out of the opening, and appeared to be much better ... even winning an exchange at one point. But the computer defended brilliantly, perhaps better than any human ever could. Black eventually got a strong Bishop on d5, and Seirawan even said that it would be very difficult - if not impossible - to win. This turned out to be the case ... and the game was eventually drawn. This game was, in my own opinion, one of the greatest fighting draws ever played. Nearly flawless and extremely high in fighting content.


Game # 2.)  Garry surprised everyone by trotting out 1...e5; - - - instead of his favorite Sicilian. But Garry did not come completely unprepared, and obtained a very interesting position out of the opening. (I think he even over-played his hand on the King-side, and a good player like Kramnik would have ripped Black's position to shreds.) But the computer continually backed away from the sharpest and most testing of lines. By the time White exchanged pawns on d6, it was clearly evident to everyone that White had forfeited all but the tiniest of advantages. But then Garry blundered, leaving a Rook unprotected on f8. The computer pounced, and the game was over. It was a horrible way for Garry to lose and a nothing win for Fritz team. (What was really sad was people who e-mailed me and tried to convince me what a great game Fritz had played. To any player who truly understands chess, it was just plain ugly ...  and disgusting. And pitiful!) 


Game # 3.)  November 16th, 2003. It is Sunday, and I am supposed to be watching football. Instead I am glued to the TV ... and the computer/Internet, and hovering over a small magnetic set. What's all the excitement about? What the heck is going on here? 

Kasparov is on TV! Further he is playing one of the dreaded machines ... and he is killing it!! 

Kasparov opens with 1.Nf3, but play transposes back to the Semi-Slav. (Both Garry and the computers seem addicted to this opening.) Play can soon repeat the same lines as game one, but the computer varies first. We have only played a handful of moves, but soon White has a pawn chain that stretches from f2 ... all the way to b6!!  Naturally, this is ideal for the human, and the worst-case scenario for the machine.  (The emphasis is on strategy, and not on tactics.) 

Almost immediately Garry has targeted the computer's advanced a-pawn for annexation. 

Garry slowly and methodically stacks up on the Black Pawn on a5, and eventually removes it from the board. Meanwhile the computer is playing for cheapo tactics, instead of committing itself to some type of long-term strategy. 

When the mindless machine begins moving to and fro, putting its King on h8 and then moving it back again, it is deadly obvious that the computer does NOT have a clue as to what the correct continuation should be.

The Fritz team could have played on, but mercifully stopped the play around move 45. The time control had been reached and even a cheap lap-top computer was showing the position to be a win for White. A tremendous victory for the human-side ... and a terribly embarrassing loss for the computer and its team of programmers. (A Class "C" player could have probably handled the position with a better strategy than the computer demonstrated here.) 


Game # 4.)  The final game was drawn. The match is over.  (Tied at the score of 2 - 2.)  

Garry met the computer's opening (1.d4) with 1...d5. I think he was angling for lines with unclear play, which computers do not handle well, or lines which lead to an early ending. (Which the computers also do not handle very well.) But the computer ... and its programming team seem well prepared, and met Garry's opening with a line favored by Garry's nemesis. (GM V. Kramnik, the man who defeated him in 2000, took his title away  ...  and has been running like ____ ever since.) 

The opening did not appear to turn out very well for Garry ... it looked like the computer was on top. GM Yasser Seirawan was all  'doom and gloom'  and predicting Garry had to sacrifice his Queen. (Or something really dumb like that.) 

But Garry had everything under control. Play proceeded down an extremely sharp and difficult line, and it seemed both sides did not have a choice. 

At one point, I even thought Garry was better ... until the computer snapped off Kasparov's d-pawn. At this point - almost on blind faith that both parties would find the best moves - I predicted a draw. SHO 'NUFF ... that was exactly the result. 

In the end, the computer team was almost insulting (to) Garry ... forcing him to play on in a position that was obviously drawn. Fortunately for the chess world, the Fritz Team finally figured it out, and decided that it must be a draw. 

While some were extremely disappointed with the result, I was quite satisfied. Garry played two ultra-brilliant draws and an extremely beautiful crush with the White pieces. Take away Garry's dramatic blunder in Game Two ... and he wins this match. 


I think there are many positives to this match. Garry had one "OFF" game ... and lost. And deservedly so, as he played well below his normal standard in that game, blundered and the game was instantly was beyond any ability to recover it. The Fritz program proved by its extremely feeble play in Game Three that the computers are not completely ready to run us off the board quite yet. 

The HUGE amount of publicity that this match received demonstrated that chess - properly presented - is a viable TV product. I am sure chess in the U.S. - and even worldwide - will benefit from this match. {Several big stores in New York reported 'selling out' of chess sets.}  

I think we can thank Garry and X3D for an exciting match.    ..........................................
And maybe look forward to the next set? (I hope there is a re-match.) 

The HUGE amount of publicity that this match received demonstrated 
 that chess - properly presented - is a viable TV product. 

Back to reality - after the virtual reality battle

21.11.2003  Garry Kasparov was in a fine mood when he sat down to go over the games and the match in an exclusive press conference. We filmed the entire remarkable session as Kasparov dissected the games and discussed the differences between X3D Fritz and Junior, anti-computer strategies, comp-comp chess, possible improvements for the next match, and much more. 

   Kasparov in front of the computer ... (I wonder if he could talk if I tied his hands behind his back?) -  (x3d-gk-postgame.jpg, 03 KB)

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