No game occupies the same position in our culture as chess. It’s at once an intellectual and competitive pursuit, one embraced by scholars and everyday people alike. It’s a deceptively simple game that requires thousands of hours of practice to master. And even the best in the world aren’t immune to a challenge from a brilliant newcomer, whether man or machine. It’s no coincidence that when developing a generation of “intelligent” supercomputers, IBM engineers tested their work out by teaching it chess.

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