Chairman of the Chess Board vs. Everybody

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Two years after getting booted by IBM supercomputer Deep Blue, Garry Kasparov is taking on the Great Unwashed. Through the magic of the Internet and the money of Bill Gates, the Russian grandmaster will play a one-move-a-day, summer-long match against all comers, who will vote for strategies and moves on a Microsoft web site. Four chess experts will "suggest" strategies on the site as soon as Kasparov plays white, starting June 21, but Microsoft claims the most popular choice will out, no exceptions.

Can several million chess fans be wrong? Logic would seem to dictate that if Kasparov is the world's best chess player, he shouldn't have any trouble whipping the rest of us slobs -- and you can bet he'll be hungry to regain his novelty-chess-circuit manhood after the IBM whipping. In addition, because of its straw poll format, the black moves will inevitably be dumbed down, with a brilliant move or two doubtless lost in the shuffle. The last match was a triumph of machine over man; in this case, democracy is unlikely to topple the genius dictator.