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kaspyAfter the world's best chess player Garry Kasparov (number one according to FIDE ranking) has lost to the machine Deep Blue in 1997 many journals reported that a new era has begun. When Mr. Kasparov and Vladimir Kramnik (current World Champion) could only secure a draw against the strongest chess program Fritz in November 2002 and November 2003, respectively, the evidence became more clear. The onslaught by computer programs at the Man vs Machine World Team Championship in October 2004 was again indicating the upcoming supremacy of the machines. But like in the Asterix comic book edited by Gosciny and Uderzo where the Romans (chess engines) have conquered Europe (the chess world) except one village there is a similar story to tell in chess!

Computers nowadays defeat the strongest chess masters except Eduard Nemeth. He constantly "beats up" chess programs while not even being among the best 100 chess players in the world. While journalists of reknown magazines publicly philosophize about whether machines outsmart humans and argue about the state of artificial intellligence Mr. Nemeth proofs why computer programs cannot be considered intelligent yet. Artificial intelligence can be tested through a procedure that was proposed by Mr. Turing. In this test engines are examined if they make human like (or even better) moves.

On the following websites you will find interesting stuff on this issue:

Here [DE] Eduard Nemeth explains how he manages to constantly defend the honor of humanity. Here you watch a few games played by Eduard Nemeth. Tim Crabbé explains on his website the style of Mr. Nemeth in English.

Besides Mr. Nemeth there are still a couple of people around who resist the computer supremacy by concentrating on the non-human weaknesses of the chess engines. At least, it seems that the Romans are not yet close to get the magic potion that gives Asterix and his friends the power to defeat 'em.

The so-called "Chess World Championship" in Lybia is over. The winner of the "blunder festival" (referring to GM Nigel Short's interview on chessbase) is Rustam Kasimdzhanov. He beat English player Michael Adams in the tiebreaks 1.5:0.5 after a tie in the six-game-match-up. Adams missed a couple of opportunities to win the title, especially in the first tiebreak game.

According to the Prag Agreement, Kasimdzhanov should now play Gary Kasparov and the winner of this match-up will face the winner of the Leko- Kramnik match-up.
However, so far only the Leko- Kramnik semi- final has been scheduled.

Looking at statistics Kasimdzhanov will have a hard time facing Kasparov....For further details check www.chesslive.de

The current chess situation with respect to naming the real word champion is quite difficult these days. As a consequence, I would like to give the interested reader a quick overview.

The world chess situation got messy as the FIDE WC Garry Kasparov broke away from FIDE to start his own championship matches. In 1993 he won against Nigel Short, in 1995 he beat Vishy Anand and unfortunately for him he lost to Vladimir Kramnik in 2000.

At the same time FIDE organized several knockout tournaments to appoint their world champion. In the last knockout tournament 2001 the newcomer Ruslan Ponomariov won after beating Vassily Ivanchuk in the finals.

In 2002 there was a qualification tournament including several top ten players (Morozevich, Gelfand, Adams, Bareev, Shirov, Topalov, Leko and the best German player at that time Lutz) to designate an opponent for Kramnik to defend his title. Kasparov and Anand declined the invitation to participate in this event. Peter Leko won.

About one year later the well known American Grandmaster (GM) Seirawan proposed a unification plan initially starting with two semi-final-match-ups Leko- Kramnik and Kasparov- Ponomariov. However, due to sponsorship problems the Kramnik- Leko match was delayed and is said to take place in October this year. The other match hasn’t taken place either as Ponomariov refused to play Kasparov last year. Rumours said that Ponomariov was afraid of playing the super-strong Kasparov to who he lost twice in Super-GM-Tournaments before (Linares 2002 and 2003)

Now another FIDE knockout tournament is likely to go ahead in the next weeks in Libya to ascertain a challenger for Kasparov. However, due to political troubles players from Israel haven’t been invited yet. Some other top- grandmasters will not participate as well (Anand, Svidler). (participation list)

chess1To sum it up I think that many chess players aren't really interested in a unified title as from a game-theoretic point of view it's better for their reputation that no unified title exists than to be beaten by the new World Champion.