Of the more than 1,000 readers who voted in the most recent NEWS.COM Poll, 675 said that Kasparov--who is considered by many experts to be the best player in the history of chess--would emerge victorious. Thirty-four percent, or 355 readers, believed that Deep Blue would take the match.
Kasparov last faced the wily computer in 1996. He lost one game to Deep Blue--an IBM RS/6000 SP parallel processor with specialized microchips that can calculate hundreds of millions of chess moves per second--but came back to win the round overall. Since then, IBM has reprogrammed Deep Blue to better exploit the champion's weaknesses.
So far in this match, the computer has proven a worthy opponent: After four games, Kasparov and Big Blue are tied. Kasparov won the first game, but Deep Blue defeated him in the second. The last two games ended in draws. (See special animated graphics depicting the winning moves of the first four games.)
The match lasts through Sunday. The victor will take home a $700,000 purse, and the loser $400,000.