Did IBM Cheat Kasparov?

If you are familiar with Gary Kasparov's match against Deep Blue in 1997 then you may know about the controversy that ensued from Kasparov’s suspicion of IBM’s foul play. Recently, the “Great Recession” that has struck the world’s economy has dragged many businesses’ corrupt dealings into the light, revealing that monetary success is all that matters to them. Should IBM be included in this group?

After Kasparov lost the second game of his tournament match against Deep Blue, he was surprised by the computer’s human-like playing style and requested copies of Deep Blue’s previous chess games, but was denied. The following is an explanation of these events taken from Wikipedia:

“Kasparov claimed that several factors weighed against him in this match. In particular, he was denied access to Deep Blue's recent games, in contrast to the computer's team that could study hundreds of Kasparov's.

After the loss Kasparov said that he sometimes saw deep intelligence and creativity in the machine's moves, suggesting that during the second game, human chess players, in contravention of the rules, intervened. IBM denied that it cheated, saying the only human intervention occurred between games. The rules provided for the developers to modify the program between games, an opportunity they said they used to shore up weaknesses in the computer's play revealed during the course of the match. Kasparov requested printouts of the machine's log files but IBM refused, although the company later published the logs on the Internet.[58] Kasparov demanded a rematch, but IBM declined and retired Deep Blue, which has been viewed by Kasparov as covering up evidence of tampering during the game.”

The video “Kasparov vs. The Machine” explains the theory that IBM’s chess team illegally aided Deep Blue in defeating Kasparov to impress the computer world. The video states that IBM’s stock rose 20% after Deep Blue’s victory! And isn’t it suspicious that, once accused of cheating, IBM did not initially allow the computer’s log files to be released? Even though IBM eventually released the log files, those could have been fabricated. In addition to that, IBM retired Deep Blue after achieving one of the biggest computer accomplishments ever. IBM shut down the program and never opened it again. Shouldn’t this success be modeled, improved, and researched further?

So what do you think? Was IBM a money hungry corporation that corrupted the match in order to increase profits, or did Kasparov just have a case of the old-fashioned “sour grapes?”


  • 10 months ago


    When I hear some of Kasparov's allegations, some of them make sense to me. The behavior by IBM was "unsportmanslike", though quite "businesslike". In some senses, they were not fair to Kasparov. 

    However, as for any breaking of the rules, or use of a chess grandmaster... I am still waiting for a smoking gun. A whistleblower, if possible (I assume so many of those guys retired or left IBM by now). If not a whistleblower, some computer chess whiz who examined the logs released in 2000 and can show precisely how DP's process of decision was beyond the engines of the time.

    Until then, it's all unsupported conspiracy theory.

  • 18 months ago


    Dirty corporations. That machine would have lost against any other playing style. They refused to show anything about Deep Blue yet know everything about Kasparov. They modified the machine between rounds. Is that fair. I see where Kasparov is coming from. The move has never been  played by a computer before...

  • 3 years ago


    Its always speculative with these corperations till its to late. Innocent till proven guilty If your rich! Surf dont have rights, you have already signed them away when you took your job, you think im BSing? well im not, remember all those paper the HR director had you sign, well one of those said you can not sue your employer and matters will have to be resolved outside of the courts (law). Of course this is not exactly pertaining to this article but its not suprising that a corperation would cheat at a game its sole purpose it profit driven. In the end whats gonna happen? anyone going to go to jail over a chess game? International Buissness Machiens key word here is international.

  • 7 years ago


    Yea, which is why it never went to court. But it's not an issue of the law anyway.

  • 7 years ago


    Innocent until proven guilty =) All the listed evidence here is speculative, it would never hold in court.

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