Poole versus HAL 9000
Poole versus HAL 9000 is a fictional chess game in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. Astronaut Dr. Frank Poole is seen playing a recreational game of chess with the HAL 9000 supercomputer. Poole views the board on a computer screen and dictates his moves orally to HAL using descriptive notation. Poole is not surprised when the presumed infallible supercomputer soundly defeats him.
In the novel, no particular chess game is depicted, although it is mentioned that the astronauts can play chess and other games with HAL, and that, for the purpose of morale, the computer is programmed to temper its superiority by winning only 50% of games.
The film's director Stanley Kubrick was a passionate chess player, so unlike many chess scenes shown in other films, the position and analysis make sense. The actual game seems to come from a tournament game between A. Roesch and W. Schlage, Hamburg 1910.
|This article uses algebraic notation to describe chess moves.|
Schlage (HAL 9000)
The depicted game seems to be based on the moves of the following tournament game played in Hamburg, 1910:
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!
- The opening is the Ruy Lopez, Worrall Attack, followed by a pawn sacrifice by Black. Black capitalizes on an error by White on move 12 (12.d4 leads to a slight plus for White). The film shows the game from the position illustrated, with Poole (White) contemplating his 14th move.
- White abandons the long diagonal and moves into a forced checkmate. Even after 14.Qb7 c6 15.Qxe7 Bxg2 16.Re1 Nf3+ 17.Bxf3 Qxf3, mate is not far off.
14... Bxg2 15. Re1 Qf3
- Here HAL says: "I'm sorry Frank, I think you missed it: queen to bishop three, bishop takes queen, knight takes bishop, mate." But HAL's description of the queen move is not technically accurate—the move is correctly described in descriptive chess notation as "queen to bishop six". Also, while HAL describes a checkmate in two moves, Poole could forestall the mate an additional two moves by playing 16.Qc8 Rxc8 17.h3 Nxh3+ 18.Kh2 Ng4#.
- Poole resigns without questioning HAL's analysis.
- Roesch vs Willi Schlage, Hamburg 1910, DSB-Congress, Hauptturnier-B, Ruy Lopez, Worrall Attack (C86) 0–1 at Chessgames.com
- Matanović, Aleksandar, ed. (1981), Encyclopaedia of Chess Openings C (2nd ed.), Yugoslavia: Chess Informant, p. 412, n. 81
- Wall, Bill (22 June 2007). "2001: A Chess Space Odyssey". Chess.com. Retrieved 14 January 2014.