February 10: Deep Blue

deep-blueIt was on this day in 1996 that the humanity suffered its first great defeat at the hand of a computer when chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov was defeated by IBM’s chess playing computer Deep Blue.

Since the 1970s, computer scientists had attempted to create a computer program that could beat a human player. Why? Because chess is a game of strategy and critical thinking, which makes it an excellent way to test a computer’s grasp of these traits. As computer technology advanced and computers started to beat average chess players, the question became “Could a computer beat a chess grandmaster?”

After IBM’s Deep Blue won a few computer chess tournaments and beaten a few humans, IBM decided to challenge Garry Kasparov, the Russian chess grandmaster. Kasparov agreed to a six game series against the computer system. On February 10, 1996, the grandmaster and the computer faced off for the first time and much to the surprise of everyone except the IBM team, Deep Blue won the first match. However, Kasparov went on to win three of the following five matches, with the other two ending in a draw.

A rematch was held a year later; and in that six match series, a slightly reprogrammed Deep Blue won two games, lost one and drew in the remaining three. Upon the end of the 1997 series, Kasparov commented that he saw cleverness and intelligence in Deep Blue’s moves. Deep Blue was dismantled soon after the 1997 series, presumably to keep it from trying to emulate Hal 9000 or Skynet.

So, while we wait for the robotic uprising, let’s raise a glass to our future overlords with a cocktail named after the father of their revolution. The Deep Blue is a tasty blue champagne cocktail that makes for a great after dinner drink.

Deep Blue

  • 1 ounce Vodka
  • 1/3 ounce Blue Curacao
  • Champagne

Stir the vodka and blue curacao together with ice and strain into a champagne flute. Top with champagne and garnish with a blueberry.

Tomorrow: A golden record.

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