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Documentary - Game Over: Kasparov and the Machine

Click Picture for Amazon.com listing of Game Over
Starring: Garry Kasparov, Marc Ghannoum, John Searle (III), Terry Wogan, Michael Greengard, Joel Benjamin
Director: Vikram Jayanti
Number of discs: 1
Rated: PG
Velocity / Thinkfilm
DVD Release Date: May 31, 2005
Run Time: 85 minutes

In the most simple and basic terms Gary Kasparov is the greatest chess player to have ever played the game (Fischer included).

I’ve been a wood pusher for a long time. I love the game of chess – I am an incompetent player but know enough about the game and the players to have looked forward to screening this chess documentary. Chess players remember the third Big Blue v Kasparov match and the accusations of cheating at the time from journalists as well as Kasparov’s team.

Game Over: Kasparov and the Machine is a terribly balanced portrait of one of the biggest chess cheats in the history of the game. It is unfortunate that the machine in question was partially dismantled (part is at the Smithsonian and another part at IBM), the logs were secured until IBM saw fit to release what it says are the original logs at http://www.research.ibm.com/deepblue/watch/html/c.shtml. Part of the problem for IBM is that they never allowed anyone any information at the time and behaved in such a paranoid and truly suspicious manner that it defies logic that there was no cheating going on somewhere. Garry Kasparov is either the world’s most accomplished liar or he is one of the most idealistic men to have ever played the game. IBM pitched the match as a chance to do research but consistently refused to allow the man they invited to participate access to the information that could have furthered the research.

Non chess players could find this an interesting documentary if they consider that the story is only marginally about chess and ultimately about humanity. The behaviour of IBM did nothing to win it friends in the chess world but did much to raise its business profile and was worth millions in publicity for the corporation. Whether or not you believe IBM cheated or that Kasparov is just paranoid this is an entertaining documentary and well worth the look. For those who think that conspiracies don’t exist they conveniently forget or are unaware of Microsoft, Enron, big sugar and big tobacco.

Give yourself a treat and watch this one.

Denis Bernicky

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