How strong are the most powerful chess machines

Are the best engines better than the best people?

I think the title asks everything.

In playing conditions, would the best chess machines routinely beat the best grandmasters?

If you say yes, under tournament conditions, have enough games been played to provide credible evidence?


The engine alone is only one factor; The number of CPUs used, the memory, etc. make the engine more powerful. The same engine on an Intel 286 is not nearly as powerful as, for example, the Cray Titan supercomputer.

The number of cores also makes a difference. For example, Houdini 3 can use 32 cores if available. However, the list below, which gives the PC configuration along with the Elo rating, shows that the best engine on these PCs is much more powerful than the best chess players.

  1. Houdini 3 64-bit 4CPU, 3254 Elo
  2. Critter 1.6a 64-bit 4CPU, 3177 Elo
  3. Rybka 4 64-bit 4CPU, 3168 Elo
  4. Stockfish 2.2.2 64-bit 4CPU, 3167 Elo


Because of this, you no longer see GM's game against computer (no GM wants to get a 12-0 result, even against a computer).

So, yes, we humans can no longer keep up with computers in chess, it is a lost cause. But we still have the game GO, where people are (still) much stronger than computers. So all is not lost.

PS: I sat in the theater in London and watched the game in which Kasparov lost to the computer in a 25-minute chess game. I think it was 1996 or something. Kasparov was very upset after the game. He hurried out of the theater, surrounded by about ten of his followers, and he didn't look happy at all. Fifteen years ago, I took a lot of photos of the game because it was the first time I saw Kasparov in person. Here are 2 pictures from my personal collection:

To update:

I found 3 more images that are of better quality. Thought to post them. I think this event was the first time Kasparov lost to a computer in an official game. It was 1994, not 1996. I found a newspaper reference to this event

So these pictures are from the game above!

Engines only use brute force to find the best move. The better the hardware, the better the performance. They also use huge databases that contain the best games that people play.

However, the current hardware is not sufficient for one engine to create the entire game tree (and thus play perfect chess).

Hence, there is still the possibility (albeit small and progressively smaller) that the best human mind can beat an engine.

Of course, the last big event - Kramnik - Deep Fritz (2006) - ended and Kramnik lost 2 games and drew 4 (and won 0).

I think if the opening book is removed the GMs have a good chance.

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