The True Story of the Chess-Playing Machine that Fooled the World
The Mechanical Turk
During the eighteenth century, Europe went crazy over the rise of automata, newfangled machines that seemed to mimic life.
Wolfgang von Kempelen, a senior official at Viennese court of Maria Therese unveiled in the spring of 1770 the Turk, a life-sized figure, carved from wood, adorned with an ermine-trimmed robe and a turban. The Turk was seated behind a cabinet that was four feet long, three feet high and two and a half feet deep. On top of the cabinet was a chess set. (see here)
Gavin Turk: The Mechanical Turk
Gavin Turk, "The Mechanical Turk" (2008) (01:02)
Push play or go to YouTube.
The basement at Sebastian Guinness Gallery features the premiere of the newest “Art of Chess” commission, a film by Gavin Turk, in which the artist plays a life-size chess-playing automaton that toured Europe and America in the 18th and 19th centuries, often outwitting grandmasters, and, legend has it, Napoleon and Benjamin Franklin. The Mechanical Turk was eventually revealed to be a hoax, with a human being cunningly hidden inside the machine. Nowadays grandmasters can face a nearly opposite problem: human opponents cheating with the aid of a concealed machine (computer).
Game Over: Kasparov and the Machine
Game Over: Kasparov and the Machine - Vikram Jayanti 2003 (24:41)
Push play or go to Google.
In his murky documentary, Game Over: Kasparov and the Machine, Vikram Jayanti reassesses this epic contest with a cool objectivity. The story unfolds like a Cold War conspiracy. The number-crunching capabilities of Kasparov and the spooks from IBM, who invented Deep Blue, are weighed and measured like potatoes. Newsreel of the former champion in his belligerent prime is shuffled with illustrations of chess machines down the ages. For no perceptible reason, there are shots of ice floes sluggishly moving down rivers, and limp Russian street signs screaming “Girls Girls Girls”.
Playing Chess With Kubrick
I wrote a Talk of the Town on my meeting with Kubrick, which he liked. I was thus emboldened to ask if I could write a full scale profile of him. He agreed but said that he was about to leave for London to begin production of what became 2001: A Space Odyssey. Still better, I thought: I could watch the making of the film. Our first meeting was at the Hotel Dorchester in London where he was temporarily living with his family. Kubrick brought out a chess set and beat me promptly. Then we played three more games and he beat me less promptly. But I won the fifth game!
source: Jeremy Bernstein - nybooks