Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Poole-HAL, 2001

I was watching the movie 2010 this weekend, and I got curious about the famous game between Poole and HAL in 2001. I had heard that it was based on a real game. Here's what I found at the ChessGames website.

Roesch - Schlage, Hamburg 1910
Ruy Lopez, Worrall Attack [C86]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.Qe2 b5 6.Bb3 Be7 7.c3 0-0 8.0-0 d5 9.exd5 Nxd5 10.Nxe5 Nf4 11.Qe4 Nxe5 12.Qxa8 Qd3 13.Bd1 Bh3

This is the initial position shown on the screen in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

14.Qxa6 Bxg2 15.Re1 Qf3 (0-1)

In the film, this move was incorrectly given by HAL9000 as "Queen to Bishop Three" instead of the correct "Queen to Bishop Six." Apparently some fans of the film believe that this error was intentional and meant to let the alert (and chess-savvy) viewer know that something was wrong with HAL.

I seriously doubt this! My evidence: the fact that there are several other sloppy oversights in the film. The most grotesque is that they refer to the monolith's dimensions as 1x4x9, bringing to film what was an important element of the book. However, if you look at the monolith on the screen it is nowhere near 1x4x9, not even close. If they weren't going to take the care to make the monolith the right size, then it would have been better just to avoid any mention of the 1x4x9 dimensions.

The forced mate sequence is 16.Qc8 Rxc8 17.h3 Nxh3+ 18.Kh2 Ng4#

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