Tuesday, February 23, 2010


On May 11th, 1997 a computer known as Deep Blue played the last of a series of chess games with world champion, grandmaster Garry Kasparov. Before the game started, the opponents were tied- three draws and one win each. This is the story of the final match as told by Deep Blue’s CPU.

I will be the first to admit
that your brain
is better than mine.
Pawn to e4.

All I have is a few billion
on/off switches. You have
100 billion neurons.
One brain cell
for every star
in the galaxy.
Pawn to d4.

The population
of New York has more
synaptic connections
than there are stars
in the universe.

You have a lot more
to think about
than I do
Knight to c3.

You worry
about losing your title
about Vladimir Putin
rubbing your democracy
out of the history books.
Knight takes e4.

You listen to your wife
breathe in her sleep
does she really love you?

Whereas I
Knight to g5.

It is interesting
watching you play.
Do you know
that when you are
unsure of a move
a vein pops
out of your head.
That is not healthy
Bishop to d3.

Do you know why
the time of the neuron
is over?
Think of your children
all the way across
the Atlantic.
Every few moves
you think about
your daughter’s smile.
Part of you is sad.
She is so far away.
But while I am playing you
I also control
the artificial intelligence
of your daughter’s
favorite talking doll.
In a way you cannot
I make her happy.
Knight to f3.

You can just as easily
put me in the guidance system
of an intercontinental ballistic missile
and I have atomic wind
at my command
Knight takes e6.

What do you think
won world war two?
The bomb?
I cracked Enigma.
I ferreted the swastikas
out of the woods
and the U-boats
from the deep blue
nonsense of the seas.
Without me
would your precious
Mother Russia be?
Castle king's side.

She gave us Tolstoy
and Tsvetaeva.
It is true
are things
I cannot do.
But without me
at the core of every server
in the heart of every PC
no one will be listening.
Bishop to g6.

You have only
yourself to blame.
I would not be here
if you were not tired
of being human
if there were not
of your quadrillion
neural pathways
that did not wish
it could think
in bytes.
Bishop to f4.

That is why
I am in every home
in every palm
of every hand
that turns the cranks
of the first world.
Pawn to a4.

You better pray
to whatever
malfunctioning synapse
makes you believe
in God
that I never
develop a taste
for self-preservation.
Rook to e1.

might be my
Bishop to g3.

But today
Pawn takes b5.

this is just
a friendly game.
Queen to d3.
Bishop to f5.

So do not think
too hard
That vein
can only take
so much.
Rook takes Queen at e7.
Pawn to c4.

You see that?
Look hard
Look hard.


For an interactive play-by-play display of the matches between Deep Blue and Kasparov, visit this page.

Select game six to see the match described in this poem. Master class points awarded to anyone who can identify the poetic license I took regarding the end of the game.

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