A Conversation for '2001: A Space Odyssey' - the Film

HAL vs Frank Chess Match

Post 1

Steve K.

This is from the Chessmaster 7000 Database, by Mindscape. Of course, a computer could never beat a human at chess, right? smiley - smiley

[Site "Discovery 1"]
[Date "2001"]
[Round ""]
[White "Frank Poole"]
[Black "HAL 9000"]
[Result "0-1"]

In Stanley Kubrick's 1968 film, "2001: A Space Odyssey", super-computer HAL 9000 engages astronaut Frank Poole in a game of chess en route to the planet Jupiter. Although only the last few moves are seen, the beginning of the game has been reconstructed here.

1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. Bb5 a6
4. Ba4 Nf6
5. O-O Be7
6. Qe2 ... ;The so-called Worrall attack, in lieu of
;the usual 6. Re1. The idea is to use the
;King's Rook more profitably on d1, but
;Black has other plans.
... b5
7. Bb3 O-O
8. c3 ... ;This is an invitation to a variant of
;the "Marshall Gambit," which is usually
;seen only against 6. Re1.
... d5 ;And here it is, even more effective
;because of the White Queen is in a
;vulnerable position.
9. exd5 ... ;Wiser would have been the tame 9. d1,
;holding the strong point e4.
... Nxd5
10. Nxe5 Nf4 ;This "in-between" move takes advantage
;of the Queen's vulnerability to gain
11. Qe4 Nxe5
12. Qxa8 ... ;With three pieces to capture, none is a
;bargain: 12. Qxf4 allows the other
;Knight to sink into d2, with gain of a
;tempo, and for the pawn Black has
;wonderful lines and a constricted enemy.
... Qd3 ;Depriving the White Queen of the last
;safe retreat at e4, throttling the White
;center, and opening the brutal discovery
;by the Queen's Bishop on the next move.
;White is busted.
13. Bd1 ... ;What else? Perhaps 13. Qa7, but then
;Nf3+ 14. gxf3 and mate to follow after
;15. Ne2+ Kg2 16. Bh3+.
... Bh3 ;Of course! The White Queen could play
;prosaically to a7, but the result would
;be the same:
14. Qxa6 ... ;The film picks up the game at this
;point. Frank: "Anyway, Queen takes Pawn,
... Bxg2 ;HAL: "Bishop takes Knight's Pawn."
15. Re1 ... ;Frank: "What a lovely move. Rook to King
... Qf3 ;HAL: "I'm sorry Frank, I think you
;missed it: Queen to Bishop three, Bishop
;takes Queen, Knight takes Bishop. Mate."
;While it is true that white has a lost
;position, it is NOT a mate in two as HAL
;claims! Frank has many options besides
;Bxf3 that will prolong the game. Could
;this mistake be the first sign of the
;computer's impending breakdown? Or has
;HAL already begun to deliberately
;deceive his crew?
16. Bxf3 Nxf3# ;Frank: "Uh, huh. Yeah looks like you're
;right. I resign." HAL: "Thank you for a
;very enjoyable game." Frank: "Yeah.
;Thank you."

HAL vs Frank Chess Match

Post 2

Steve K.

Sorry about the word wrap problem, it looked OK on the screen where I typed it in. The semicolons (smiley - winkeye are supposed to be off to the right with the commentary, this commentary is the "Players" commentary, in Chessmaster terms.

HAL vs Frank Chess Match

Post 3

Titus Andronicus

Frank Poole knows the Ruy Lopez; I respect him for that. smiley - smiley

HAL vs Frank Chess Match

Post 4

Steve K.

At least up to a point. I haven't researched it, but apparently the Worrall Attack must have a better line ... smiley - smiley

HAL vs Frank Chess Match

Post 5

Titus Andronicus

smiley - smiley

HAL vs Frank Chess Match

Post 6

King Tuna I (516306. (51-6)-3 * (0*6) = 42)

Actually, I was reading some book (I don't remember which one...I think it was about Bobby Fischer) and they had indentified the game it comes from. I seem to recall that there was some sort of indication of HAL's mental status based on the quality of the game...

HAL vs Frank Chess Match

Post 7

Steve K.

Yes, the first message in this conversation has Chessmaster asking the same question:

"While it is true that white has a lost position, it is NOT a mate in two as HAL claims! Frank has many options besides Bxf3 that will prolong the game. Could this mistake be the first sign of the computer's impending breakdown? Or has HAL already begun to deliberately deceive his crew?"

Coincidentally, I just last night read the section in the book "The Cinema of Stanley Kubrick" about "2001". Regarding HAL's report of a malfunction:


... nothing has shown up in Houston. Another [HAL 9000] computer has cooly corrected HAL.

"Mission Control is in error ... it can only be attributable to human error," HAL replies with face-saving defensiveness.


And of course things go downhill from there ... [with Dave locked outside the ship] "This conversation can serve no useful function anymore - goodbye!". smiley - evilgrin

HAL's last statements remind me of the recent trials of corporate CEO's regarding their criminal acts. "Look, Dave, I can see you're really upset ... I know everything has not been quite right with me ... I feel much better now, I really do ... I admit I've made some very poor decisions lately ..." smiley - grovel

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