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The Year 2002 in Review

The big event of the New Year promised to be the Kramnik - Deep Fritz match. The match, originally scheduled for October 2001 in Bahrain, had been postponed after the September 11 atrocities in New York and Washington.

In January, the match was postponed again at the request of Brain Games, the organizer. This may have been provoked by discussions between Brain Games and the Einstein Group over the transfer of rights to the match, announced a few weeks later. The Einstein Group confirmed in June that the match, better known by the catchy name Brains in Bahrain, would be held in October, still in Bahrain.

In August, FIDE President Ilyumzhinov announced that a Kasparov vs. Deep Junior man-machine match would take place in Jerusalem at the beginning of October 2002. The match, to be held under the supervision of FIDE, would start a few days before the Kramnik match in Bahrain.

Many observers speculated that the Kasparov match was scheduled to interfere with the Kramnik match, pre-empting the expected enormous publicity. If so, the event did not unfold as expected. A few weeks later, the Kasparov match was postponed until December, and in December was postponed until January 2003, when it was to be held in New York after a preliminary warm-up event in Jerusalem.

The Brains in Bahrain match managed to avoid further postponements and, as anticipated, was a public relations success equal to the 1997 Kasparov - Deep Blue match. After forging an early lead, Kramnik was widely expected to win comfortably, but Fritz rallied in the second half to tie at +2-2=4.

Another man-machine match held in October received less publicity, perhaps because the machines' wins are becoming a 'dog bites man' story. U.S. Champion GM Larry Christiansen succumbed to Chessmaster 9000 by a score of +2-1=1 in a match played over the Internet.

Computer chess news was not just limited to man-machine competitions. The 10th World Computer Chess Championship (WCCC) was held at Maastricht, Netherlands, in July, part of the 7th Computer Olympiad. After tying with Shredder at 7.5/9, Deep Junior won the two-game playoff, getting revenge for the only loss it suffered during the tournament.

Next : Passages 2002

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