So, what if Deep Blue’s mysterious “44th move” which baffled Garry Kasparov in the chess grand master’s groundbreaking “man versus machine” match was, in fact just the genius of the elusive “IBM Employee” who was publicly just moving the pieces for the computer? I know! We’ve all pondered it at some point, so I thought I’d look in to it, see if I can’t put this age old question ‘to bed’.
My research points to a lowly former university caretaker, William Hunting, who had baffled the mathS department at MIT by anonymously solving two advanced Fourier systems set for linear algebra students, instead of actually keeping the institute clean. Hunting, a troubled soul, (the result of a difficult childhood) was immediately spotted and groomed by predatory Professor Stellan Skarsgärd. Over the months that followed Skarsgärd and Hunting became inseparable, doing lots of unnecessarily big sums without using a calculator, despite them now being allowed in to exams, essentially flirting by numbers. Around this time, Skarsgärd introduced Hunting to his former college flatmate, 90’s heart-throb and physcologist Sean Maguire. Over the months that followed Maguire became a bearded but steady influence on the young caretaker.
With the help of Maguire, Hunting’s genius lead to an opportunity with Amstrad, although this was lost due to his insistence on going to see about a girl (who remains relatively unknown, which you have to assume means he didn’t find her)(or quite possibly did find her, only to be greeted somewhat uncomfortably with “Will?… Errrrm…. What are you doing here?… No really why are you here?… How did you get in?…. Listen, I’m a clichéd posh English bird and I just sort of had to have a bit of rough at college… it’s not you it’s just what society expects… I’m sorry, things might have been different if you worked for a high level, top secret CIA department and didn’t have a weird run but… well, you’re a bright chap you know how it is?”).
Following his reappearance, Hunting took up a lowly role at IBM continuing to hide his maths genius in plain view. During this period he began working on a screenplay of his time growing up in Boston with hollywood star Ben Affleck(not that hiding anything from the vacant Ben Affleck can really be classed as genius), in the end producers decided that, due to a lack of interest in Affleck, they would instead focus on an unspecified 6 month period of the unknown cleaners life. It appears that around this stage Hunting came to the attention of the Deep Blue developers, apparently by scrawling all over their research at night when he was meant to be cleaning the labs. After months of begging him to stop ruining their work the Deep Blue programmers eventually struck a deal with Hunting, promising him the role of ‘IBM Employee’ on the TV(something which Hunting was apparently desperate to do to “show her”) if he’d just stop doodling all over their research.
In reality the move was actually a dream for the IBM programmers, who knew the whole Deep Blue project was massively flawed and having tried to pull out of the ‘Man vs Machine’ match they were only too happy to let Hunting take the fall when the computer program inevitably crashed live on TV, which it secretly did on move 42 of the first game. At this point Hunting took over and eventually beat Kasparov. Later baffled IBM programmers would take credit for victory, while the IBM employee who (publicly at least) had merely relayed the computer’s moves disappeared, apparently to see about a girl.
So where is this mysterious IBM employee now? Well, following his trouncing of Kasparov in the rematch of 1997(the same year he was rebuked for a second time by “the girl”) Hunting continued his work for IBM, specialising in the development of carbon nanotube transistors (technically he was in charge of maintaining the photocopiers, but later reports suggest he conducted much of the research and development himself, when the labs were closed).
Whilst on holiday in 2002, Hunting was saved from a near fatal accident by French trawlermen. Tragically, the accident left Hunting suffering from acute amnesia and multiple personality disorders. In the years following the accident Hunting lead a troubled life, having turned his back on IBM, chess and photocopiers, he lived in a bizarre fantasy world believing himself to be four different people – John Michael Kane, Dr Martin Harris, Gilberto de Piento and most notably Jason Bourne. Hunting resisted attempts to monitor and help with his condition and was last seen jumping in to New York’s East River in 2007, perhaps still trying to solve the mysteries of Project Treadstone or possibly just to see about a girl.
Hunting’s story forms the basis of the 2011 film “Unknown”, starring Liam Neeson as the forgetful central character, I wouldn’t bother personally, it’s rubbish.
- Some reports suggest it was ‘anonymous’ although if it was anonymous you’d have thought he’d have waited until the students went home at 3.30 or done it in the holidays(they have enough of them) and not in front of the staff.
- Obviously I know what they are and I could definitely explain them, in fact I could probably have solved them myself, but you probably won’t understand anyway.
- The relationship between the ageing Professor and Hunting forced the Professor’s “assistant” Tom out of the picture. From then on Tom led a tragic life trawling Ivy League universities before turning his back on academia forever. In 2005, Tom surfaced in Wyoming taking a summer job herding sheep, although the season was cut short Tom did develop a strong bond with fellow sheep ‘cowboy’ Ennis Del Mar and the pair returned the following year, but failed to get work amid allegations of homosexuality.
- Deep Blue won the first game but Kasparov came back to narrowly win the match 4-2.
- Deep Blue battered Kasparov 3½-2½
- Hunting believed Project Treadstone hid the truth behind his identities, from the time of his accident he continued to search for its mysteries. In 2004, CIA Deputy Director Ward Abbot dismissed any reference to ‘Treadstone’ as anything other than an experimental gaming program, a theoretical-exercise that had been terminated due to high cost.
As if you read all that?!? You must be a worse sleeper than me… I can recommend “Unknown”(Neeson, 2011) for extreme cases of insomnia or if that doesn’t work you could try “Salt”(Jolie, 2010), but be very careful, it is a genuinely appalling film and will almost certainly destroy your faith in humanity, potentially forever(assuming of course you are not an idiot)(if you are, or if you have no issues with the idea of a middle aged anorexic woman as an action hero then give it a go, you deserve everything you get).