PHILADELPHIA — An IBM computer called Deep Blue made chess history Saturday by comfortably beating world champion Garry Kasparov, marking a machine's first victory under classic tournament rules.
Deep Blue, playing with the advantage of the white pieces, forced the Russian grandmaster to resign on the 37th move in the first game of a six-game match after surrounding his king with pieces and winning material in a relentless attack.
Although computer programs have beaten grandmasters, including Kasparov, in games lasting five, 30 or 60 minutes, this was the first win for a machine in a classical chess format. Each player had two hours in which to make 40 moves, two hours to complete the next 20 and then an hour to end the game.
Saturday's game was over in three hours, Deep Blue having used one hour and 10 minutes and Kasparov one hour 55 minutes.
Grandmaster Joel Benjamin, who worked with the IBM team of programmers in its final preparation, said of the computer: "If it does not see a winning attack for its opponent, it just presses on."
The computer program selected an opening of the Sicilian defense, known to experts as the "c3 Sicilian." It has become popular as a way to avoid the sharpest attacking options of the black pieces.
Kasparov, 32, sitting on a raised platform opposite a video display terminal and an IBM programmer receiving the moves over the Internet from Yorktown Heights, N.Y., was in trouble as early as the 13th move when the computer thrust a knight at his queen.
Holding his head in his hands and grimacing, Kasparov spent a valuable 30 minutes in deep thought before making his reply. By the middle game, Kasparov's pawn structure was in disarray, and, as Deep Blue marshaled its pieces to attack, the world champion's counterattack folded.
The IBM programmers, who spent six years developing Deep Blue, were jubilant. Kasparov left the Philadelphia Convention Center without speaking to reporters, but associates said he was very disappointed.
The six-game match offers $400,000 to the winner and $100,000 to the loser.