IBM’s Deep Blue Defeats World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov — May 11, 1997
The 1997 match between the grandmaster Kasparov and Deep Blue, a computer equipped with 256 processors capable of analyzing over 200 million positions per second, was actually a rematch. The two first squared off a year earlier, with the Russian beating Deep Blue 4-2.
Kasparov was not so fortunate the second time around facing a heavily upgraded Deep Blue, losing 3½ to 2½. The cover of Newsweek proclaimed the event “The Brain’s Last Stand,” since chess had historically epitomized human intellectual achievement.
Doomsayers predicted that chess itself was over. After all, if machines could out-think even Kasparov, how could the game remain interesting? Why would anyone bother playing? What was the challenge?
Fast forward to 2005, when the first-ever Freestyle Chess Tournament was held, in which teams could comprise any number of humans or computers, in any combination. By then, supercomputers 50% more powerful than Deep Blue existed, and many of the worlds’ top grand masters teamed up to slug it out. Yet the winning team consisted of two young amateurs and their three PCs. Their secret weapon? Collaboration.
They had mastered the ability to merge their experience and intuition with the prodigious power of the machine.
“Human strategic guidance combined with the tactical acuity of a computer,” Kasparov observed at the time, “was overwhelming.”
As Kasparov rightly concluded, the most powerful combination was man and computer. The two working together, side by side. In order to win, collaboration was necessary. They couldn’t win on their own devices. Humans – even the most successful grandmasters – realized they needed to engage with the computer.
This is what makes collaborative analytics so powerful. Merging analysis with human experience and judgment creates a solution that no one would have envisioned. Combining human strategic guidance with the tactical acuity of a computer is the essence of collaborative analytics.