Published Mar 01, 2005In 1997, chess super-genius Garry Kasparov famously sat down for a match against IBM supercomputer Deep Blue. It was the second time Kasparov had faced the machine and it would be the first instance of a computer defeating a World Chess Champion. Jayanti's paranoid documentary explores the six-game match and the conspiracy theories surrounding it.
The possibility that IBM cheated, be it via human intervention or some sort of fancy techno wizardry, is the prime focus of the film. Kasparov's supporters are convinced that the match was just a marketing ploy, a set-up intended to increase IBM stock (it went up 15-percent after the win) and regain corporate footing against those dirty hippies at Apple.
While there is certainly cause for speculation (Deep Blue was dismantled and retired immediately following the match), it would have been nice if Jayanti didn't so obviously align himself with the conspiratorial moaning of Kasparov and his gang. IBM reps are hardly given the chance to offer a rebuttal without being made to look shifty. All the hyperbole is stupidly entertaining though, with a whispered voice-over narrative hiding identities, a musical score straight out of an America's Most Wanted dramatisation and a news anchor proclaiming that, come dawn of game three, "the future of humanity is on the line."
Thankfully, Kasparov and the Machine has more to offer than he said/she said circle-talking. Garry Kasparov is a charismatic dude with a lot of insight into the psychology of his game. The film serves as a summary of his life and achievements, as well as a testament to the strange draw of man versus machine-type contests.
As an exposé, it's fascinating enough, but it could have been better had Jayanti backed off and allowed viewers some space for their own conclusions. Face it, Kasparov, you were trounced by R2D2. (Th!nk)