An IBM supercomputer called Deep Blue made chess history by beating Garry Kasparov, the world's best chess player, in the first game of an exhibition match Saturday in Philadelphia.
The confusing battle, in which Kasparov appeared to mishandle a promising position, marked the first time a machine has beaten a world champion under classic tournament conditions.
Kasparov and other grandmasters have lost high-speed games to computers, but Saturday's debacle used the standard international time limit of two hours for each player for 40 moves.
Kasparov consumed all but five minutes of his time in the 37-move game, while Deep Blue took only 70 minutes.
Deep Blue, generally regarded as the world's strongest chess program, lost a two-game match to Kasparov in 1989.
The new model links 256 processors to greatly increase its calculating power. Several months ago, IBM programmers predicted that Deep Blue would be able to look at 1 billion chess positions per second.
Increased speed translates into increased chess skill, but it is too soon to estimate how much stronger Deep Blue has become.
Kasparov and Deep Blue are contesting a six-game match that will end Feb. 17. The winner will receive $400,000, the loser $100,000. The second game begins at noon today.
Chess fans with access to the World Wide Web may follow the action live at http://www.tcc.net.
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. It saw everything and it was right."
Here are Saturday's moves:
Deep Blue-Kasparov No. 1: 1 e4 c5 2 c3 d5 3 exd5 Qxd5 4 d4 Nf6 5 Nf3 Bg4 6 Be2 e6 7 h3 Bh5 8 0-0 Nc6 9 Be3 cxd4 10 cxd4 Bb4 11 a3 Ba5 12 Nc3 Qd6 13 Nb5 Qe7 14 Ne5 Bxe2 15 Qxe2 0-0 16 Rac1 Rac8 17 Bg5 Bb6 18 Bxf6 gxf6 19 Nc4 Rfd8 20 Nxb6 axb6 21 Rdf1 f5 22 Qe3 Qf6 23 d5 Rxd5 24 Rxd5 exd5 25 b3 Kh8 26 Qxb6 Rg8 27 Qc5 d4 28 Nd6 f4 29 Nxb7 Ne5 30 Qd5 f3 31 g3 Nd3 32 Rc7 Re8 33 Nd6 Re1+ 34 Kh2 Nxf2 35 Nxf7+ Kg7 36 Ng5+ Kh6 37 Rxh7+, Black Resigns.