BACK in the summer of 1972, as chess fever hit the world with Bobby Fischer wresting the world championship crown from Boris Spassky, a Edinburgh University expert on artificial intelligence suggested a new form of the game, “consultation chess”.
Donald Michie, who worked alongside Alan Turing, as one of the Second World War’s celebrated code breakers at Bletchely Park, proposed in New Scientist the “interesting possibility” of man-plus-computer teams opposing one another in tournaments.
Now fast-forward 25 years: Garry Kasparov renamed it “advanced chess” and, using a Fritz 5 engine and Chessbase 7, played a match in Leon, Spain, with Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria. Kasparov claimed the match would “take a very big and prestigious place in the history of chess.” However, it didn’t live up to the hype; and indeed, despite a few more edition of advanced chess in Leon, the concept ‘byte’ the dust, so to speak.
The City of Leon continued the tradition, though, of holding an annual chess match (contested over various speed time controls) with leading players. The latest in the series, the 26th Leon Masters, took place earlier this month between Vassily Ivanchuk, of Ukraine, and Anish Giri, of The Netherlands, who battled it out over 16 games: 2 x 45 minutes+15 seconds per move; 4 x 20min+10sec; and 10 x 5min+3sec.
The young Dutch star won both of the longer time control rubbers (1.5-0.5 and 3.5-0.5) to take the match 2-1, although he did lose heavily in the blitz (7.5-2.5).
V Ivanchuk – A Giri
26th Leon Masters, Rapid (4)
1 b4 e5 2 Bb2 Bxb4 3 Bxe5 Nf6 4 e3 0–0 5 Nf3 Re8 6 Be2 d5 7 0–0 c5 8 Bb2 Nc6 9 d3 Bg4 10 h3 Bh5 11 Nbd2 Ba5 12 c4 dxc4 13 Nxc4 Bc7 14 Rc1 b6 15 Ncd2 Ne5 16 d4 Nxf3+ 17 Nxf3 Ne4 18 dxc5 Nxc5 19 Nd4 Qd6 20 f4 Bxe2 21 Qxe2 Qg6 22 Ba3 Qe4 23 Rc4 Qxe3+ 24 Qxe3 Rxe3 25 Bxc5 bxc5 26 Nb3 Bb6 27 Rf2 Rd8 28 Rfc2 f5 29 Kh2 Re4 30 Rxe4 fxe4 31 Rc4 e3! 32 Kg3 Re8 33 Rc1 c4 0–1