World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov Makes First Move Against World Team on MSN.com

NEW YORK CITY, June 21, 1999 — World chess champion Garry Kasparov today kicked off the Kasparov vs. the World chess tournament on the MSN TM network of Internet services ( http://www.MSN.com/ ) by making his first move against the world team. At a press conference in New York City’s Bryant Park, Kasparov simulated his online move – Pawn to E4 – on a life-size chess board before hundreds of chess fans and journalists. Kasparov achieved widespread notoriety in 1997 when IBM Corp. challenged him to play its supercomputer, Deep Blue, in the match known as Man vs. Machine.

“I invite people from all over the world to play me in the ultimate chess match on MSN.com,” Kasparov said. “This match will be fun for everyone from grandmasters to casual players, no matter who they are or where they live. Where else but on the Internet can you play the world champion?”

The Kasparov vs. the World tournament on MSN.com is expected to be the largest interactive competition in history. Open to everyone around the world, of any skill level, players and spectators can log on to MSN.com, click on “games,” and consult in the next move against Kasparov.

“MSN and the Internet will make it possible to play the world chess champion from your own living room,” said Yusuf Mehdi, director of marketing, Consumer and Commerce Group at Microsoft. “The collective power of the world team should prove to be quite a match for Garry Kasparov.”

Over the course of the match, the world team will be guided by the World Team Coaches, who will suggest moves and strategies to counter Kasparov’s. Players can vote for one of the suggested moves or for their own recommended move. The move with the most votes will be chosen as the world team’s move. The four select World Team Coaches are next-generation chess champions who have already gained recognition in the international chess community:

  • Etienne Bacrot, 16, became the youngest grandmaster in history at age 14.

  • Florin Felecan, 19, is the highest-rated American chess player under the age of 21.

  • Irina Krush, 15, is the U.S. women’s chess champion and the youngest member of the U.S. Olympiad team.

  • Elisabeth P
    ä
    htz, 14, is ranked eighth in the World Championship of youngsters and is a member of the female German National Chess Team.

Danny King, international grandmaster and expert commentator for the 1997 Kasparov vs. Deep Blue match, will act as moderator throughout the tournament, providing commentary on the match and hosting tournament-related activities. “This event takes chess in an exciting, new direction by allowing the world to participate in a game against one of the greatest players in history,” said King, who will conduct live chats after each of Kasparov’s moves to discuss the coaches’ strategies and the world’s move options.

Tonight at 8 p.m. EDT, MSNBC will host a live chat with Kasparov, who will talk about the tournament on MSN.com and answer questions from fans around the world. Other tournament activities include a sweepstakes to meet Garry Kasparov, chats and strategy sessions with chess experts, and daily updates on the tournament available by e-mail.

About MSN

MSN is the network of Internet services from Microsoft that helps people better organize the Web around what’s important to them. The network of MSN services, located on the Web at MSN.com ( http://MSN.com/ ), helps people easily stay in touch with friends and colleagues, make smart and secure purchasing decisions, and get more done. MSN offers award-winning e-mail functionality; personal communications services; customizable access to news; popular sites for travel, investing, automotive services, shopping and more; an online community; a Web search engine and directories; and top-rated Internet access.

About the MSN Gaming Zone

With more than 6.6 million registered users from around the world and up to 450,000 unique visitors per day, the Zone is the most popular gaming community on the Internet. The Zone offers free* membership and a wide variety of games including free* card, board and puzzle games; free* matchmaking for popular CD-ROM games; and premium games designed specifically for “massively multiplayer” gaming on the Internet. In addition, the MSN Gaming Zone has teamed with others to offer its members expanded gaming services such as industry news, product reviews, downloadable demos, online shopping and a broader range of online games.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

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World chess champion Garry Kasparov made the first move against a “world team” on the MSN Gaming Zone, in an online chess match expected to last all summer.