Chess is an antique, about 1,500 years old, according to most historians. As a result, its evolution seems essentially complete, a hoary game now largely trudging along. That's not to say that there haven't been milestones. In medieval Europe, for example, they made the squares on the board alternate black and white. In the 15th century, the queen got her modern powers.1
News of a specialized computer program beating human champions at games like chess and Go might not surprise people as much as it might have before, as it did when Deep Blue beat world chess champ Garry Kasparov back in 1997, or even more recently when Google DeepMind's AI AlphaGo beat Lee Sedol in a stunning upset back in 2016.
Chess has captured the imagination of humans for centuries due to its strategic beauty--an objective, board-based testament to the power of mortal intuition. Twenty-five years ago Wednesday, though, human superiority on a chessboard was seriously threatened for the first time. At a nondescript convention center in Philadelphia, a meticulously constructed supercomputer called Deep Blue faced off against Garry Kasparov for the first in a series of six games. Kasparov was world chess champion at the time and widely considered to be one of the greatest players in the history of chess. He did not expect to lose.