May 31st, THINKFilm will be releasing Game Over: Kasparov and
the Machine on DVD across the United States. Game Over is a feature
documentary from Academy Award winning produce Vikram Jayanti chronicling
the 1997 chess match between Garry Kasparov and the IBM’s Super
computer, Deep Blue. The Film has received acclaim throughout the film
industry and its critics. In 2003, it premiered at the Toronto
International Film Festival and was nominated in the Best Feature
Documentary category by the Independent Documentary Association.
It will be available to consumers through many channels to
purchase; however, we would like to note that Game Over will be
spearheading the launch of www.specialtydvd.com,
a new division of THINKFilm, LLC.
No match has sparked
such great interest except for the Spassky vs. Fischer match in 1972. This
documentary about the match states its position early. The movie opens up
with whispers of conspiracy and flashes of the Turk, the first mechanical
chess-playing machine. The secret of the Turk is now well known. It had a
very good human chess player hidden inside the cabinet. This
documentary brings Garry Kasparov back to the scene of the crime. Kasparov
is still deeply pained by this experience. After all, it was his
first match loss. It placed the first blemish on his impeccable chess
career. It was not a happy time when Garry played this timeless, faceless
monster. The movie touches briefly on Garry Kasparov’s meteoric rise
through the Soviet Chess World.
We hear from the Deep Blue team of Feng Hsu who created
the hardware, Joel Benjamin the American who taught Deep Blue how to play
like a GM in closed positions. Murray Campbell introduces us to half of
the Deep Blue RS 6000 processors, which is stored at a warehouse in New
York; the other half is in the Smithsonian. We hear from the Kasparov team
of MIG, Fred Freidel, and Owen Williams, Garry’s agent. The
Kasparov team was very suspicious of the entire pentagon like security
regarding the match, suspicious of Deep Blue, and also suspicious by the
change in the relationship between Kasparov and IBM. As Yassar Seirawan
says, IBM and Garry were friends during the 1996 match, however this had
changed in 1997. It was clear that IBM was out to get Garry Kasparov.
IBM had other purposes. Kasparov felt he had played into IBM hands.
IBM was the sponsor, the host, the financer, the controller, and the
After a great Kasparov victory in game one, Garry was
suspicious. The machine played like a machine. After one year of
development, Deep Blue should be much stronger. The Deep Blue team was
unfazed by the loss in game one. It would give Deep Blue a cocktail. Game
two would be quite different; the computer played like a true strong GM.
Deep Blue would defeat Kasparov. Garry was deeply suspicious of this loss;
he did not understand why the computer played like a very strong GM. Garry
grew more suspicious when he found out that Deep Blue had blundered in
game 2. Garry had missed his
chance to draw the game. Garry could not understand why Deep Blue would
make a move that would have allowed Garry to draw the 2nd game
by repetition. Garry would make demands for the computer logs of the game.
Games three, four and five would end in hard fought draws. Kasparov would
accuse the Deep Blue team of cheating.
Joel Benjamin called it just prior to game six,
that Garry Kasparov was a shot chess player. He would not recover.
Kasparov also admits that he could not recover from his game two loss. The
pressure got so great, that Kasparov almost quit the match before game 4.
An exhausted Garry Kasparov lost game six, without much of a fight. Deep
Blue never got out of its opening book. It was a tragic end to a great
match. I liken game 6 to Tyson biting off Hollyfield’s ear during their
boxing match. Was the match on the up and up? The Deep Blue team says so.
However the Kasparov team thinks other wise. IBM stock rose 15% upon its
victory over Kasparov. IBM sales were reenergized. IBM got great
publicity for defeating Garry Kasparov. Garry wanted a rematch, but IBM
Garry went on to lose his title to Vladimir Kramnik in 2000.
However Kasparov feels he still has much to accomplish. He wants to regain
the world title. He wants to take advantage of opportunities to make a
come back. He wants to reestablish his excellence. He wants to keep going
and play well. It makes him feel good.
was a very interesting movie. I enjoyed the interviews of the various
members of each team, as well as neutral parties. The documentary had
interesting footage of the post game and match press conferences.
I wish they had more optional DVD scene features. I would have like
to have seen extra footage that went over each of the games. I would also
have like to have heard from the other Grandmasters who were on the IBM
team, such as John Fedorowicz, Miguel Illescas, Nick Defirmian. I would
also like to have heard form the arbiter Carol Jarecki and the appeals
committee. I really enjoyed this movie. I would like to see more
video content of match play, like the world championship matches. I give
this DVD 4 out of 5 stars.