You know, both for entertainment and to analyze what moves he made were blunders/sub-optimal?

Like, the handicap thing is not a real game, and also humiliating for the grandmaster.

Like how would a fair game between nakamura and AlphaZero go anyways? Would he even get to the endgame? What if we gave him takebacks? As well as more time?


4 Answers 4


If you'd be willing to sponsor such an event, I'm sure Nakamura will do it.


Not directly an answer to your question, but I suspect you'd be interested.

If Nakamura were trying, he'd probably get a draw (at least as White). That's because AlphaZero does not have contempt and will happily enter drawing lines if it believes it has the worse position.

Check out what happened when a few other humans tried it. The humans had White, played the Ruy Lopez, and lo and behold AlphaZero went into the Berlin Defence, accepted mass simplifications, and a draw. I'll just quote IM Malcolm Pein:

We were so lucky in game one. It was pretty much miraculous, as in we didn't just park the bus in the Berlin Defence, more like we were so lucky we even guessed exactly beforehand where in the car park we'd park it.

Edit: actually, he might even win most games. That's because AlphaZero is nearly deterministic, so all Nakamura has to do is memorize the games which AlphaZero lost and keep repeating them.

  • 1
    It is true that most engines are pretty deterministic, so by memorization you can probably beat them pretty consistently. That's not really in the spirit of the question though. The lack of contempt is interesting though. I think if you randomize it's openings TCEC style then it would crush, but maybe you could indeed play some deep theoretical Berlin and hold on.
    – koedem
    Commented Mar 29, 2021 at 6:25

A fair match without any handicap is just pretty pointless. You wouldn't ask Usain Bolt to race against a car, simply because "What is the point?".

The reason handicap matches are done is because there the result is in doubt. Will Nakamura beat Leela when starting up two pawns? Maybe, we don't know. That makes it interesting. Will he beat Leela or Stockfish with equal material in the normal starting position? No, he won't.

What if we give him takebacks or more time? Well, that is a handicap. Time odds are not that unusual for a handicap match. And sure enough, if you take away enough time from the engine's thinking time it would be an interesting contest once again. But that then is a handicap match.

  • It's worse than Usain Bolt vs a car, Bolt might win a 20-foot dash. Nakamura would lose any fair match
    – Ryan_L
    Commented Mar 28, 2021 at 22:02

AlphaZero is Google owned. There is no way anybody but Google can run it. It's not designed for standard PCs.

AlphaZero will beat Nakamura easily. It's like running a match between myself and Magnus Carlsen for the world title. Nobody wants to see it.

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