In a variation on the man-bites-dog story, world chess champion Garry Kasparov has decided to play a six-game, full-length, regulation match against Deep Blue, a computer designed by IBM scientists specifically for this task.
"It's going to be a serious contest, and I strongly believe it could become a very important event for the end of the century," Kasparov told Reuters in a telephone interview. "It is important for the study of relations between humans and computers."
The Deep Blue system is a scalable, parallel computing system with hundreds of special accelerator chips custom-designed by the computer-chess group and attached to a powerful IBM host computer.
While there have been other man vs. machine chess battles, this match will be the first contest between a world champion and a computer in a classical chess format. The match starts this Saturday and could go through Feb 17.