Man or Machine?

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. c3 Nc6 5. Nf3 Bd7 6. Be2 Nh6 7. O-O cxd4 8. cxd4 Nf5 9. Nc3 a6 10. Be3 Be7 11. Bd3 Nxe3 12. fxe3 O-O 13. Rc1 Rc8 14. Bb1 f5 15. exf6 Bxf6 16. Qd2 Na5 17. b3 Be7 18. Ne2 Rxc1 19. Rxc1 Nc6 20. Nf4 Bd6 21. h4 g6 22. g3 Qf6 23. Rf1 Ne7 24. Rf2 Nf5 25. Bxf5 gxf5 26. Qa5 Rc8 27. Rg2 Be8 28. Qd2 h6 29. Kh2 Qe7 30. Kh3 Kh7 31. Rg1 Qg7 32. Kh2 Bf7 33. Rc1 Rg8 34. Qf2 Bb8 35. a4 Bd6 36. Ne1 Be8 37. Ned3 b6 38. Rg1 Qf6 39. Qb2 Rg7 40. Rc1 Rg8 41. Rc2 Qg7 42. Rg2 Qf6 43. Ne5 Rg7 44. Rc2 a5 45. Qa1 Rc7 46. Rxc7+ Bxc7 47. Qc3 Qe7 48. Kg2 Kg8 49. Qc2 Bxe5 50. dxe5 Qd7 51. Kf2 Kh8 52. Kf1 Kg8 53. Ke1 Kf8 54. Kd2 Kg8 55. Ne2 Qc6 56. Qd3 Qc7 57. Qd4 Bg6 58. Nc3 Qc6 59. Qf4 Kg7 60. Nb5 Qc5 61. Qd4 Qxd4+ 62. exd4 Kf7 63. Nd6+ Ke7 64. Kc3 Kd7 65. Nb5 Kc6 66. Kd2 Bh5 67. Nd6 Bg6 68. Kd1 Kc7 69. Ke1 Kd7 70. Ke2 Bh5+ 71. Kd2 Bg6 72. Nb5 Kc6 73. Nc3 Bh5 74. Na2 Bf3 75. b4 axb4 76. Nxb4+ Kb7 77. Nd3 Bh5 78. Nf4 Bf7 79. Kc3 Ka7 80. Kb4 Ka6 81. a5 bxa5+ 82. Kc5 a4 83. Kb4 a3 84. Kxa3 Kb5 85. Kb3 Bg8 86. Nh5 Bf7 87. Nf6 Ka5 88. Nd7 Kb5 89. Nc5 Ka5 90. Nb7+ Kb6 91. Nd6 Bg6 92. Kb4 Kc6 93. Nc8 Kb7 94. Ne7 Bf7 95. Kb5 Kc7 96. Kc5 h5 97. Nc6 Be8 98. Nb4 Bf7 99. Kb5 Be8+ 100. Ka6 Bg6 101. Nd3 Kc6 102. Ka5 Bf7 103. Nf4 Kc7 104. Kb5 Kb7 105. Nd3 Be8+ 106. Ka5 Bf7 107. Nc5+ Kc6 108. Ka6 Kc7 109. Nd3 Kc6 110. Nf4 Kc7 111. Nh3

It has been a long game. Yet you feel plugged in; wired. In other circumstances you would consider offering a draw, but in this tournament a draw offer is not allowed. After much deliberation you decide upon 111…Kc6 and the game continues… 112. Ng5 Bg8 113. Ka5 Kc7 114. Kb5 Kb7 115. Kc5 Kc7 116. Nh3 Kd7 117. Nf4 Bf7 118. Kb6 Be8 119. Kb7 Bf7 120. Nd3 Be8 121. Nc5+ Ke7 122. Kc7 Bb5 123. Nb7 Be2 124. Nd8 Bg4 125. Nc6+ Ke8 126. Kd6 Bh3 127. Na5 Bg4 128. Nb7 f4 129. gxf4 Bh3 1-0

It is not possible to wonder where you went wrong because you are not conscious, but a program in a machine. Other entities will determine where and why you went wrong. The name used to separate you from other programs is Critter 1.6a, and you are one of the elite 8 playing in stage 3 of the Thoresen Chess Engines Competition. Your opponent was a program named Houdini 4.

Humans have come to think of chess playing programs as infallible, and any move provided by the highly rated engine is the best move in the position. Such is not the case. Every move played by an engine should be scrutinized just as all moves played by the best human players are questioned and examined. Was the above endgame lost or did Critter 1.6a lose a drawn game?

Chess programs use an opening “book” which consists of many games played by humans. Programs also incorporate endgame tablebases.

An idea to consider in any human versus chess engine battle would be to not allow the program to use either an opening book, or an endgame tablebase. This could possibly even the odds. If this is not enough, another idea to consider would be to cut the power a certain amount, say 10% per hour. As a last resort, the plug can be pulled.

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