Song is 'Strange Activities' from the GONE GIRL soundtrack (2014) by Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
All footage from GAME OVER: Kasparov & The Machine (2003).
"It is easy to see why humans would be so interested in teaching chess to computers. And how human players would compete against computers -for better or worse- based on different components. For instance, computers players are much better at calculating end games. Human players, with just a handful of pieces each, will tend to have their kings chase each other endlessly around the board, leading to stalemate. Computers, however, can compute better ways to close the net in those final, finishing moves. Human beings, on the other hand, do better in the opening moves, when the computer doesn’t yet have enough input data to develop any strategies in response. So too are humans better at setting traps, making sacrifices and faking set-ups… all those human-all-too-human virtues around deception and getting the other person to think about anything other than what you are thinking.
Little surprise it is then that chess playing automaton ‘The Turk’ became so convincing in the 18th Century. Edgar Allen Poe wrote about The Turk in his 1836 essay, 'Maelzel’s Chess-Player', which many consider the first work of detective non-fiction, and some say heavily influenced the deductive reasoning of Sherlock Holmes.
Edgar Allen Poe compared The Turk to the complexity of other automatons at the time: wind-up ducks, horses, other animals. He deduced that it must be a hoax, not by any evidence itself but by a priori logic. He reasoned that a truly autonomous chess robot would be purely logical, incapable of error, and therefore unable to make a single mistake. The Turk had won most of its games but not all... vis-a-vie, there must be a talented-yet-flawed, i.e. a human chess champion, hidden inside The Turk.
The illusion convinced the masses around the world for more than a century, beating both Benjamin Franklin, who took such an accomplishment as a compliment, and Napolean Bonaparte, who did not. The Turk was also so convincing because of the way it solved the Knight’s Tour Puzzle. With the Knight’s Tour, you start with a single horse piece on a blank chessboard. The knight has to touch every square once, without touching any square twice. For the longest time, the paths of completed knight’s tours either looked like tangled messes of disorder, or could only be completed on boards of smaller size or different shape. When The Turk performed the knight’s tour in public, it was a beautifully neat spiral, the way a computer would first draw one a century later.
When world champion Kasparov had a rematch against IBM’s Deep Blue in 1997, IBM promoted that after their initial loss to Kasparov, their ‘Deepr Blue’ machine was now pre-loaded with the historical moves of every game in chess master history. “Kasparov isn’t playing a computer,” said IBM’s website, he’s playing the ghosts of grandmasters past.” Kasparov too, had also done his homework. He didn’t just play good chess, he played good anti-computer chess. Kasparov used bizarre, rare openings in each game, taking Deep Blue ‘off book’ in the opening handful of turns. He bluffed traps constantly, and led the computer down garden paths that ultimately did nothing but take Deep Blue further into unfamiliar territory.
However, in the endgame of Game 2, Kasparov saw Deep Blue make a move that was entirely wasteful, gaining no ground but a skipped turn. Kasparov asked the press, “How can a computer commit suicide like that?” and claimed that there was a human player working with Deep Blue behind the scenes, and they’d thrown this early game instead of drawing so as not to reveal an endgame strategy for matches later in the tournament. Kasparov drew connections to The Turk, as well as Maredona’s Hand Of God in which the soccer player had secretly touched the ball with his palm. The controversy clouded the rest of the contest, and Kasparov never beat Deep Blue again. Kasparov later learned that it was a simple computer glitch, and he had interpreted it as an intentional action of the artificial intelligence… or what he still claims was the human intelligence pulling the strings behind the curtain."