Do human-machine combinations still beat the best computer chess players, or have computer players gotten good enough to beat even the best computer-human duos?

  • Answers will be speculation unless the OP gives more information, such as the strengths of the computers. – Tony Ennis Nov 4 '16 at 23:54
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    @TonyEnnis The state-of-the-art best ones out there. – WBT Nov 5 '16 at 4:22
  • Given that the best chess player (Magnus) has no chance, statistically, against the best chess program, what benefit do you expect a human to bring? – Tony Ennis Nov 5 '16 at 13:40
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    Intuition, pattern recognition, etc...human-machine teams have apparently beat computers alone for a while. Has that changed? – WBT Nov 5 '16 at 13:53

Two years ago, top GM Nakamura played a match against one of the top engines, Stockfish. In the first two games, he was assisted by a very strong engine, rating about 200 points lower than Stockfish. Still, this wasn't enough to win, he even lost this part of the match 1,5 - 0,5. More details, including games, can be found here.

Of course, a human assisting a computer player will be stronger than the same computer player alone, but this gives you an idea of how little we (human players) are able to add at the moment.

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    "Of course, a human assisting a computer player will be stronger than the same computer player alone," I don't think that's necessarily true, and certainly not "of course." There could exist a computer using a strategy that a human cannot understand/guide and any exercise of independent human judgment would violate the strategy, reduce its effectiveness, and hurt performance, in which case the lone computer would beat the one teaming with a human. – WBT Nov 4 '16 at 21:57
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    @WBT if we knew that to be the case, the strategy of the human could be 'just follow the computer' and the game would be a draw. – Glorfindel Nov 4 '16 at 21:59
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    I ask this question based on not knowing the skill difference between them, but your comment assumes rational humans who also know confidently that the machine is better, and that is not something one should absolutely rely on. Thanks for posting the answer, BTW. – WBT Nov 4 '16 at 22:05
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    @WBT It's 100% knowledge computer+human easily defeat the most powerful machines. Look at the TCEC games, both Komodo and Stockfish has been consistently making long-term strategic errors. A skilled human who has access to engine evaluation would win the games. – SmallChess Nov 5 '16 at 0:47

First and foremost:

The centaur should get at least 50% of the points.

As the centaur is not obliged to intervene at all, he could just let the software do the job, so it's best computer - best computer... with an expected result of .5.

How much better the centaur will perform depends on his ability (not necessarily chess skills alone) and rules. If he's allowed to to change engines and knows about strengths and weaknesses in the programs for certain kind of positions, choosing the right engine for the given type of position might gain an advantage. Also, the human might be better at time management.

Generally speaking I think the better the engines get (compared to the operator), the less advantage they have. And of course it's easy to ruin the game by bad decisions.

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