10
Feb
09

On This Day, February 10: Deep Blue

February 10, 1996

Kasparov loses chess game to computer

On this day in 1996, after three hours, world chess champion Gary Kasparov loses the first game of a six-game match against Deep Blue, an IBM computer capable of evaluating 200 million moves per second.  Man was ultimately victorious over machine, however, as Kasparov bested Deep Blue in the match with three wins and two ties and took home the $400,000 prize. An estimated 6 million people worldwide followed the action on the Internet.

Kasparov had previously defeated Deep Thought, the prototype for Deep Blue developed by IBM researchers in 1989, but he and other chess grandmasters had, on occasion, lost to computers in games that lasted an hour or less. The February 1996 contest was significant in that it represented the first time a human and a computer had duked it out in a regulation, six-game match, in which each player had two hours to make 40 moves, two hours to finish the next 20 moves and then another 60 minutes to wrap up the game.

Kasparov, who was born in 1963 in Baku, Azerbaijan, became the Soviet Union’s junior chess champion at age 13 and in 1985, at age 22, the youngest world champ ever when he beat legendary Soviet player Anatoly Karpov. Considered by many to be the greatest chess player in the history of the game, Kasparov was known for his swashbuckling style of play and his ability to switch tactics mid-game.

In 1997, a rematch took place between Kasparov and an enhanced Deep Blue. Kasparov won the first game, the computer the second, with the next three games a draw. On May 11, 1997, Deep Blue came out on top with a surprising sixth game win–and the $700,000 match prize.In 2003, Kasparov battled another computer program, “Deep Junior.” The match ended in a tie.

Kasparov retired from professional chess in 2005.

“Kasparov loses chess game to computer.” 2009. The History Channel website. 10 Feb 2009, 07:04 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=52362.

 

Mississippi Fred McDowell:

 John Henry

On This Day

1763 – The Treaty of Paris ended the French and Indian War. In the treaty France ceded Canada to England.

1846 – Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints began their exodus to the west from Illinois.

1934 – The first imperforated, ungummed sheets of postage stamps were issued by the U.S. Postal Service in New York City.

1967 – The 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified. The amendment required the appointment of a vice-president when that office became vacant and instituted new measures in the event of presidential disability.

1989 – Ron Brown became the first African American to head a major U.S. political party when he was elected chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

2005 – North Korea publicly announced for the first time that it had nuclear arms. The country also rejected attempts to restart disarmament talks in the near future saying that it needed the weapons as protection against an increasingly hostile United States.February 10, 1962

Soviets exchange American for captured Russian spy

Francis Gary Powers, an American who was shot down over the Soviet Union while flying a CIA spy plane in 1960, is released by the Soviets in exchange for the U.S. release of a Russian spy. The exchange concluded one of the most dramatic episodes of the Cold War.

Powers had been a pilot of one of the high altitude U-2 spy planes developed by the United States in the late-1950s. Supposedly invulnerable to any Soviet antiaircraft defense, the U-2s flew numerous missions over Russia, photographing military installations. On May 1, 1960, Powers’ U-2 was shot down by a Soviet missile. Although Powers was supposed to engage the plane’s self-destruct system (and commit suicide with poison furnished by the CIA), he and much of the plane were captured. The United States at first denied involvement with the flight, but had to admit that Powers was working for the U.S. government when the Soviets presented incontrovertible evidence. In retaliation, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev called off a scheduled summit with President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Powers was put on trial, convicted of espionage, and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. In February 1962, the Soviet Union announced that it was freeing Powers because of a petition from the prisoner’s family. American officials made it quite clear, however, that Abel was being exchanged for Powers-a spy-for-a-spy trade, not a humanitarian gesture on the part of the Soviet Union. The U.S. government announced that in exchange for Powers, it would release Col. Rudolf Abel, a Russian convicted of espionage in the United States. On February 10, Abel and Powers were brought to the Gilenicker Bridge that linked East and West Berlin for the exchange. After the men were successfully exchanged, Powers was flown back to the United States.

In an announcement, the Soviet Union declared that its release of Powers was partially motivated by “a desire to improve relations between the Soviet Union and the United States.” U.S. officials were cautious in evaluating the Soviet overture, but did note that the action could certainly help lessen Cold War tensions. The exchange was part of the ongoing diplomatic dance between Khrushchev and President John F. Kennedy. Both men seemed earnestly to desire better relations, and the February 1962 exchange was no doubt part of their efforts. Just a few months later, however, the Cuban Missile Crisis, in which the Soviets helped construct missile bases in Cuba, erased the memory of these diplomatic overtures and brought the two powers to the brink of nuclear conflict.

“Soviets exchange American for captured Russian spy.” 2009. The History Channel website. 10 Feb 2009, 07:04 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2573.

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