A while ago, I took Jeff Attwood to task about his analysis of the current state of chess and computers. I claimed that the chess machines such as Hydra and chess programs such as Deep Fritz are now starting to crush all human opposition. Brute-force searching and clever tricks such as null-move pruning have finally won the day.
As I said in my previous entry, Hydra recently terminated English GM Michael Adams with 5 wins and just 1 draw against the world's number 7. I also made the bold prediction that human world chess champion Vladimir Kramnik was going to suffer in his November 2006 match against Deep Fritz. At the time, many knowledgeable and strong players disagreed with me. For example, Susan Polgar, the second strongest female player ever, predicted a 3-3 draw. Many other strong grandmasters thought that Kramnik had good chances based on his recent tournament results. And back in 2002, Kramnik managed a 4-4 draw against an older version of Deep Fritz.
So what happened?
Kramnik did indeed suffer, and eventually succumbed - Deep Fritz won 4-2, with 2 wins and 4 draws. The intense pressure obviously made for some interesting chess - Kramnik's first loss was caused by missing a mate in one, almost unprecedented at this level. But in the final game, Fritz played some deep and brilliant lines, fooling most of the GMs present who thought the monster was finally going down.
Hydra is significantly stronger than Deep Fritz, and I think the result of a match between Hydra and Kramnik would be almost a foregone conclusion. I for one welcome our new chess overlords.