It is estimated that 300 million TV
viewers watched Garry Kasparov lose to IBM's Deep
Blue in 1997*. The audience was a lot smaller when
Wolfgang von Kempelen unveiled his Mechanical Turk
to The Empress Maria Theresia and her court in 1770,
but they were no less surprised to witness a machine
beat a man at chess. Little did they know that the
Turk was a very clever fraud, one of the most
elaborate hoaxes in history.
Although a fair amount is known about the life of Wolfgang von Kempelen, nothing is known about the chess player(s) who hid inside the machine, so Lohr has liberally played with the known facts to create the central character of Tibor, a deeply religious and honest dwarf who, through circumstances beyond his control finds himself in ...
*Kasparov vs. Deep Blue: Former World Chess
Champion Garry Kasparov defeated IBM's Deep Thought
easily in 1989. Seven years later, a new improved
computer, Deep Blue, won the first of six games
against Kasparov but Kasparov fought back to win
overall with three wins and two draws.
A year later, in May 1997, Kasparov took on an enhanced Deep Blue in a six game match; Deep Blue won with two wins to one against, with 3 draws. After the loss, Kasparov said that he saw signs of deep intelligence and creativity in the machine's moves, indicating human intervention during the match. IBM denied any intervention during the games so Kasparov requested printouts of the machine's logs, which IBM refused to provide at the time (they were later ...
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