Former world chess champion Garry Kasparov is coming out of retirement to play in a US tournament next month, organisers have said.
Kasparov, who dominated chess for more than 15 years, will compete against nine top players in St Louis, Missouri.
“Ready to see if I remember how to move the pieces! Will I be able to announce my re-retirement afterwards if not?!,” Kasparov tweeted sardonically.
Kasparov left chess in 2005 for politics and founded an opposition movement called The Other Russia that accused President Vladimir Putin of returning the country to its dictatorial past. He became a powerful political voice and and even tried to run against Putin in the 2008 Russian presidential election, leaving the country in 2013 and taking Croatian citizenship.
At 54, Kasparov will be the oldest player competing for the Sinquefield Cup. “Looks like I’m going to raise the average age of the field and lower the average rating!” he added.
Born Garry Weinstein in Azerbaijan to an Armenian mother and Jewish father, Kasparov has been described as “a monster with 100 eyes, who sees all”.
He quickly understood the interest in combining computers with chess and in 1996 agreed to play against IBM’s “Deep Blue” supercomputer. Kasparov won that match but lost a second a year later.
Sharp-worded criticism, such as likening Putin to Hitler, made him a target and he risked arrest after being accused of biting a police officer’s hand at a protest in 2012. The opposition news website he founded, Kasparov.ru, has been blocked in Russia since 2014.
In another battle, Kasparov attempted in 2014 to dethrone the eccentric head of the World Chess Federation, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, but lost after securing only 61 federation delegates votes out of 175.
Kasparov was given a wild card entry to the tournament. The current world No 1, Magnus Carlsen of Norway, will also play, as will Hikaru Nakamura, world No 2.
While he will not face Carlsen, Kasparov, who is in the Rapid and Blitz competition, may go against number two Hikaru Nakamura or the up-and-coming 26-year-old Russian Sergey Karyakin.
Published on Jun 14, 2017
Garry Kasparov and DeepMind’s CEO Demis Hassabis discuss Garry’s new book “Deep Thinking”, his match with Deep Blue and his thoughts on the future of AI in the world of chess.
Get the book here: https://goo.gl/OwuOcW
Event moderated by Demis Hassabis, CEO, DeepMind.
** About the book, Deep Thinking: Where Machine Intelligence Ends and Human Creativity Begins **
In May 1997, the world watched as Garry Kasparov, the greatest chess player in the world, was defeated for the first time by the IBM supercomputer Deep Blue. It was a watershed moment in the history of technology: machine intelligence had arrived at the point where it could best human intellect.
It wasn’t a coincidence that Kasparov became the symbol of man’s fight against the machines. Chess has long been the fulcrum in development of machine intelligence; the hoax automaton ‘The Turk’ in the 18th century and Alan Turing’s first chess program in 1952 were two early examples of the quest for machines to think like humans — a talent we measured by their ability to beat their creators at chess. As the pre-eminent chessmaster of the 80s and 90s, it was Kasparov’s blessing and his curse to play against each generation’s strongest computer champions, contributing to their development and advancing the field.
Like all passionate competitors, Kasparov has taken his defeat and learned from it. He has devoted much energy to devising ways in which humans can partner with machines in order to produce results better than either can achieve alone. During the twenty years since playing Deep Blue, he’s played both with and against machines, learning a great deal about our vital relationship with our most remarkable creations. Ultimately, he’s become convinced that by embracing the competition between human and machine intelligence, we can spend less time worrying about being replaced and more thinking of new challenges to conquer.
In this breakthrough book, Kasparov tells his side of the story of Deep Blue for the first time — what it was like to strategize against an implacable, untiring opponent — the mistakes he made and the reasons the odds were against him. But more than that, he tells his story of AI more generally, and how he’s evolved to embrace it, taking part in an urgent debate with philosophers worried about human values, programmers creating self-learning neural networks, and engineers of cutting edge robotics.