02 June 2011

Audemars Piguet & Class-parov

In this continuing series on Top eBay Chess Items by Price, I once featured a watch (Time Is on My Side) and I've often featured chess sets (the most recent was Political Chess), but I've never featured a watch plus a chess set. An item described as 'AUDEMARS PIGUET - RARE KASPAROV CHESS SET / WATCH PRESENTATION BOX' received 1 bid and sold for GBP 999.99 ('approximately US $1,640.18'). Note that the description says 'chess set' and 'watch presentation box'. The watch itself was not included in the auction.

Audemars Piguet • Kasparov Presentation Box & 18K Gold Watch

The photo above is *not* from the eBay auction. It's from Info Request of Kasparov Audemars (WatchProSite.com), where you can also find a few scans of the box and watch as shown in the original catalog. It's not obvious from the photo, but the watch face features a number of circular chessboard patterns and two dials, so you can track two different time zones. The only price I could find on the web was an offer of the watch for $17K.

Kasparov has (or had, I'm not sure if it's still in effect) a long commercial relationship with Audemars Piguet of Switzerland. From KASPAROV v DEEP BLUE by Jason Luchan (ChessScotland.com, June 1997):-

Thursday May 1 - Opening Press Conference: After the press conference was over, I heard some details about the prematch negotiations which had taken place the prior day. Four hours of the five hour meeting were devoted to a discussion of the controversial new clock that Kasparov wanted to use for the match. Per the match rules, Kasparov was permitted to choose the chess clock.

Under Kasparov's direction, the Audemars Piguet company of Switzerland developed a special digital clock with an LCD display. (Audemars Piguet also made Kasparov's wristwatch.) Kasparov wanted to use the clock's time delay feature for the last minute of each time control. IBM refused to yield on this point because Deep Blue was not programmed to play with a time delay. So the clock was in, but time delay was out.

The clock itself was elegant, but somewhat awkward for use in a chess match. Arbiter Carol Jarecki told me the clock looks "like an old RCA radio." It was easily the biggest chess clock I have ever seen. To operate properly, the clock had to be connected to a laptop computer sitting on top of the arbiter's desk; the only way to start or stop the clock was with the laptop. There was some uncertainty how the clock would perform in its competitive debut.

For a picture of the clock, see Chess Notes, July 2006 (ChessHistory.com, C.N. 4444):-

4444. Front-page headline news: How often has chess been the main front-page story in a newspaper? Here is one instance, from the Journal de Genève et Gazette de Lausanne of 10 April 1997: [photo of top half of front page showing top half of clock] The news report concerned Kasparov’s involvement with the Swiss company Audemars Piguet in the development of a clock for use in his upcoming match against Deep Blue.

For more about the clock used in that milestone match, see the Google Books copy of Deep Blue: An Artificial Intelligence Milestone by Monty (Monroe) Newborn and use search to find the references.

No comments: