Watch: In 1997, a game of chess changed the face of artificial intelligence forever

Garry Kasparov's defeat to IBM's supercomputer Deep Blue made artificial intelligence an uncomfortable reality.

Garry Kasparov is a chess prodigy from Azerbaijan and a five-time world champion. On May 11, 1997, the world’s (then) greatest chess player in history was defeated by the IBM supercomputer, Deep Blue.

At that moment, artificial intelligence became an uncomfortable and yet ground-breaking reality.

Computers that could play chess had existed since the 1950s, but until 1985, they had little luck playing against humans. Feng-hsing Hsu, a student at Carnegie Mellon, developed a computer called Chiptest in 1985, which was designed to play chess at a more advanced level. In 1989, Hsu and a classmate went on to join a team of scientists led by CJ Tan at IBM that was working on developing Deep Blue, the supercomputer.

The scientists at IBM wanted to imitate the kind of thought patterns, the strong calculation and intuition that chess players rely on and develop over time. Kasparov, at the same time, became the youngest world champion at the age of 22.

In 1996, an arrogant Kasparov scoffed at the idea of a machine beating him, and defeated Deep Blue in their first chess series, declaring the superiority of human intelligence over artificial. He did, however, lose the first game before winning three and drawing two.

IBM then went back to work on Deep Blue, this time incorporating algorithms that could learn from older moves, thus bringing artificial intelligence even closer to resembling the human mind. By now, the supercomputer could calculate as many as 100 to 200 billion moves in the time a player got at the time to make a move.

In May, 1997, IBM challenged Kasparov once again with the new and improved Deep Blue. After six games, from May 3 to May 11, artificial intelligence won over human intelligence, marking one of the ground-breaking moments in the history of computer science, and of mankind.

Kasparov blamed his defeat on a single move by the computer, which, fifteen years later, turned out to be a bug in the computer’s software. This was pointed out in a book titled The Signal and the Noise published by New York Times journalist Nate Silver.

That single move, he said, was so sophisticated that it unsettled him. The move turned out to be completely random, caused by the bug. However, there is no saying that Kasparov would have won the match otherwise.

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From Indian pizzas in San Francisco to bhangra competitions in Boston

A guide to the Indian heart of these American cities.

The United States of America has for long been more than a tourist destination for Indians. With Indians making up the second largest immigrant group in the USA, North American cities have a lot to offer to the travel weary Indian tourist. There are umpteen reasons for an Indian to visit vibrant education and cultural hubs like Boston and San Francisco. But if you don’t have a well-adjusted cousin to guide you through the well-kept Indian secrets, this guide to the Indian heart of Boston and San Francisco should suffice for when you crave your fix.


If you aren’t easily spooked, Boston is the best place to be at in October due to its proximity to Salem. You can visit the Salem Witch Village to learn about present-day wiccans and authentic witchcraft, or attend séances and Halloween parades with ghosts, ghouls and other frightening creatures giving you a true glimpse of America during Halloween. But the macabre spirit soon gives way to a dazzling array of Christmas lighting for the next two months. The famed big Christmas trees are accompanied by festive celebrations and traditions. Don’t miss The Nutcracker, the sugar-laced Christmas adventure.

While it upholds its traditions, Boston is a highly inclusive and experimental university town. It welcomes scores of Indian students every year. Its inclusiveness can be gauged from the fact that Berklee College of Music released a well-received cover of AR Rahman’s Jiya Jale. The group, called the Berklee Indian Ensemble, creates compositions inspired by Indian musical styles like the Carnatic thillana and qawwali.

Boston’s Bollywood craze is quite widespread beyond the campuses too. Apple Cinemas in Cambridge and Regal Fenway Cinemas in Fenway can be your weekly fix as they screen all the major upcoming Bollywood movies. Boston tends to be the fighting ground for South Asian Showdowns in which teams from all over the North-Eastern coast gather for Bollywood-themed dance offs. The Bhangra competitions, especially, are held with the same energy and vigour as back home and are open to locals and tourists alike. If nothing else, there are always Bollywood flash mob projects you can take part in to feel proudly desi in a foreign land.

While travellers love to experiment with food, most Indian travellers will agree that they need their spice fix in the middle of any foreign trip. In that respect, Boston has enough to satisfy cravings for Indian food. North Indian cuisine is popular and widely available, but delicious South Indian fare can also be found at Udupi Bhavan. At Punjab Palace, you can dig into a typical North Indian meal while catching a Bollywood flick on one of their TVs. Head to Barbecue International for cross-continental fusion experiments, like fire-roasted Punjabi-style wings with mint and chilli sauce.

Boston is prominent on the radar of Indian parents scouting for universities abroad and the admission season especially sees a lot of prospective students and parents looking for campus tours and visits. To plan your visit, click here.

San Francisco

San Francisco is an art lover’s delight. The admission-free Trolley Dances, performed in October, focus on engaging with the communities via site-specific choreographies that reflect the city’s cultural diversity. Literature lovers can experience a Dickensian Christmas and a Victorian holiday party at The Great Dickens Christmas Fair, a month-long gala affair starting in November.

As an Indian, you’ll be spoilt for choice in San Francisco, especially with regards to food. San Francisco’s sizeable Indian population, for example, has several aces hidden up its sleeve. Take this video by Eater, which claims that the ‘Indian’ pizza at Zante’s Restaurant is the city’s best kept secret that needs outing. Desi citizens of San Francisco are big on culinary innovation, as is evident from the popularity of the food truck Curry Up Now. With a vibrant menu featuring Itsy Bitsy Naan Bits and Bunty Burrito and more, it’s not hard to see why it is a favourite among locals. Sunnyvale, with its large concentration of Indians also has quirky food on offer. If you wish to sample Veer Zaara Pizza, Dabangg Pizza or Agneepath Pizza, head to Tasty Subs & Pizza.

There are several Indian temples in Sunnyvale, Fremont and San Jose that also act as effective community spaces for gatherings. Apart from cultural events, they even hold free-for-all feasts that you can attend. A little-known haven of peace is the Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple. Their Anjaneya World Cafe serves delicious mango lassi; the beverage is a big hit among the local population.

If you’re looking for an Indian movie fix during your travels, the San Francisco International South Asian Film Festival’s theme this year is Bollywood and Beyond. Indian film enthusiasts are in for a treat with indie projects, art-house classics, documentaries and other notable films from the subcontinent being screened.

San Francisco’s autumn has been described as ‘Indian summer’ by the locals and is another good season to consider while planning a trip. The weather lends more vigour to an already vibrant cultural scene. To plan your trip, click here.

An Indian traveller is indeed spoilt for choice in Boston and San Francisco as an Indian fix is usually available just around the corner. Offering connectivity to both these cities, Lufthansa too provides a rich experience of Indian hospitality to all flyers on board its India-bound flights and flights departing from India. You can expect a greeting of Namaste by an all-Indian crew, Indian food, and popular Indian in-flight entertainment options, making the airline More Indian than You Think. And as the video shows, India’s culture and hospitality have been internalized by Lufthansa to the extent that they now offer a definitive Indian flying experience.


This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Lufthansa as part of their More Indian Than You Think initiative and not by the Scroll editorial team.