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Capablanca-Fan
14-04-2020, 02:14 PM
Smerdon Beats Komodo 5-1 With Knight Odds (https://www.chess.com/news/view/smerdon-beats-komodo-5-1-with-knight-odds)
Peter Doggers, chess.com, 13 Apr 2020

GM David Smerdon (@smurfo) defeated chess engine Komodo (@PlayKomodo), playing with knight odds, 5-1. The Man vs. Machine rapid match was played on Chess.com on April 10 and 11 and provided more insight into the effect of material imbalance in human vs engine play.

A knight is a knight—even for Komodo.

While many experts, including grandmasters, predicted Smerdon to lose the match with big numbers, the Australian grandmaster was right when he noted on his website before the match:


Still, Komodo may be Komodo, but a knight is a knight (to paraphrase Mikhail Tal). A rapid game is nowhere near as long as a classical game, but neither is it the tactical lottery of a blitz match, so in theory, I should be able to avoid outrageous blunders.

Smerdon on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/dsmerdon/posts/10157436106988667):


My odds match against Komodo is over, with me prevailing by five wins to one. It turns out that "the knight is just too strong" (Evgenij Miroshnichenko), even though about 75 percent of the pre-game predictions were for a computer victory (including by many grandmasters, correspondence players, computer experts—and my wife). It turns out that the trade-off between chess strength and chess odds is really difficult to estimate. But others had a better sense (Peter Svidler).

This Man vs. Machine match was held in conjunction with a special anniversary issue of the "ICGA Journal" (International Computer Games Association). It consisted of six games with a time control of 15 minutes and a 10-second increment per move.

Smerdon played Black in every game; Komodo was missing a knight in the starting positions, alternating from removing it from b1 and from g1. It was the first formal match on record in which a grandmaster takes knight odds in rapid (as opposed to blitz) chess from any opponent.

[Games at this link]

Capablanca-Fan
14-04-2020, 02:23 PM
This was played in two days of three games each. After a blunder in the first game, Dr Smerdon won the next two—Game 2 with a little work in the endgame, and Game 3 straightforwardly by reaching an endgame with just a clear extra piece. So he had worked out how to handle the engine, which really had little chance for the next 3. Games 4 and 6 seemed one-sided, solid play swapping into an endgame again. Game 5 required some fine technique—look at that march of the Black K along the enemy back rank. He would often repeat moves to gain time on the clock

Zelgiusfan5000
15-04-2020, 04:49 PM
While many experts, including grandmasters, predicted Smerdon to lose the match with big numbers



I surely can’t be the only one surprised by this. A whole knight! Did they expect a grandmaster to blunder a piece or get smashed by a huge attack in the majority of his games? To get relaxed and make so many errors that his winning advantage evaporates completely?

Desmond
15-04-2020, 05:23 PM
Thanks for the link and well done to GM Smerdon. Unfortunately listening to commentary by GM Miro is a bridge too far for me so I'll just play through the games.

Patrick Byrom
15-04-2020, 07:40 PM
I surely can’t be the only one surprised by this. A whole knight! Did they expect a grandmaster to blunder a piece or get smashed by a huge attack in the majority of his games? To get relaxed and make so many errors that his winning advantage evaporates completely?Also, I would have thought that a human player can modify his play (to take advantage of having an extra piece) - unlike the computer.

Capablanca-Fan
16-04-2020, 02:47 AM
Also, I would have thought that a human player can modify his play (to take advantage of having an extra piece) - unlike the computer.

Yes, and GM Smerdon planned this very cleverly, and had the strength to pull it off. Many times, the computer was in a position where the objectively best move was exchanging, whereas a human might have tried hard to keep pieces on for swindling chances.

MichaelBaron
16-04-2020, 09:08 AM
The most impressive part is how David was able to adjust his playing style to the task and kept on adjusting it throughout the match. Great example of self-programming.