So I guess I read this long time ago -most probably in the 2000s, when engines started to beat humans. I just have no idea who said it, but I guess it was not a top player at that moment (say Kasparov or Kramnik), but more like some veteran GM.

Just to add more context: the date in which this GM made this statement is very important. I'm sure it was before 2010. On those times engines were stronger than humans (Fritz beat Kramnik on a classical match in 2006), but mainly because of being way superior in tactics. But their evaluation wasn't that good yet. For example, they were very materialistic, and their strategical understanding had some flaws. I guess this GM made the statement based on the idea that he'd need more time to prevent blunders, but that his understanding of the game was way stronger than that of engines.

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    Nowadays, Stockfish with only a day to think could probably beat an average GM with a lifetime to think. Jun 16 at 10:55
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    @InertialIgnorance Surely a massive understatement. Giving an average GM (or even Carlsen) a lifetime to think would be not much different from giving them an hour or two per move. And already around 2017, the Stockfish team estimated the engine could give Carlsen 1000:1 time-odds. Jun 16 at 21:44

1 Answer 1


GM Larry Kaufman said something along those lines in a 2019 interview: (emphasis added)

The main reason Komodo is a thousand or more Elo stronger than I am is that it searches so much further ahead in nearly every line than I could possibly do. Perhaps if I spent 24 hours per move on a game (moving pieces around freely, but not consulting any engine) I could play as well as Komodo plays a blitz game, but that's just a guess. Note that this does not apply to NN engines, which (in pure form) don't have any human knowledge input.

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    That's quite interesting coming from Mr Kaufman, but I'm pretty sure the comment I read was way before 2019. My guess is someone alike Ljubojevic.
    – emdio
    Jun 16 at 13:20
  • Kaufman is of course a tremendous authority on engines and Komodo in particular, but I wonder if this is really true (or if he would even repeat the statement in 2022). Komodo can play blitz well enough to give Knight odds to 2650 GMs (Kaufman himself says so in Chess Board Options). It's hard to imagine any human doing that, no matter how much time they have to think. Jun 16 at 21:47

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