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I read up on Stockfish NNUE and as far as I understand it, Stockfish NNUE was (at least in early stages) trained by positions which were evaluated by the hand-crafted eval. function by stockfish. The question I have is, why the NNUE is stronger than the hand-crafted eval? Since the ANN was trained using the hand-crafted function, it only represents it using an ANN? Is that correct, or is my understanding wrong?

From what I've read, the search speed with the hand-crafted eval. was around 100 Million Positions. Search speed using the NNUE was around 60. Million. Therefore, the hand-crafted eval should be stronger.

What am I missing?

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    IIRC it wasn't train on plain eval but rather a search result from strong SF. The old SF eval is how good SF plays at depth 1 (or 0 if you will). But if you train a NN to play like old SF at depth 10 that would be way way stronger. (and then of course you still use that search on top of NNue)
    – koedem
    Feb 24 at 12:19

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NNUE was originally trained on depth 8 to 10 handcrafted eval. This is significantly stronger than a single node evaluation.

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as far as I understand it, Stockfish NNUE was (at least in early stages) trained by positions which were evaluated by the hand-crafted eval. function by stockfish

And after the early stages the neural network was built up by continual training.

The question I have is, why the NNUE is stronger than the hand-crafted eval?

Because it is more than the hand-crafted eval which was only used to speed up the initial training process.

Since the ANN was trained using the hand-crafted function, it only represents it using an ANN?

No. The finished product is much more than the had crafted evaluation. It incorporates additional evaluations which it "discovered" during training.

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  • Okay, thank you. How did the training then continue? I'm guessing that supervised learning wasn't used, because backpropagation couldn't be applied, right? So the ANN was then trained using reinforcement learning?
    – Phil3453
    Feb 26 at 20:14

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