Chess Celebrities vs. Celebrity Bots

Chess Celebrities vs. Celebrity Bots

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Welcome to the final instalment of the three-part series on chess.com bots. Previously, I’ve written about both the chess.com bots and adaptive bots. Now, I will discuss the final topic in this series – Chess Celebrities vs Celebrity Bots.

As the name suggests, celebrity bots are designed to simulate the moves and play styles of renowned chess personalities. To put the realism of these bots to the test, I will analyse games between them and their human counterparts. Here, you can expect to see an array of examples, ranging from top players such as Hikaru and Vishy, to Twitch streamers like Andrea Botez.

Hikaru Nakamura (2750)

The man needs no introduction. Hikaru is known as the highest rated blitz player on chess.com. I've selected two games played between the chess supremo and his bot. Let's see how they compare in a 5+0 time control.

Original Video

Game 1

Game 2

 Assessment:

In the first game, the bot clearly outclassed Hikaru and maintained persistent dominance. The cold and calculating 2750-rated machine was never in serious trouble and struck a lethal blow whenever an opportunity arose.

In the second game, however, the clone was not as precise. It lost a pawn on move 9 and struggled to equalise for a while. Unfortunately for Hikaru, the bot put up a tough fight and the game ended in a draw by repetition after almost 60 moves.

The bot used its human master’s pet openings and played aggressively. All in all, while its style represented Hikaru fairly well, it is a tad stronger than the Super-GM in a blitz game. Not only did the bot take a mere 3 seconds for the first game and 7 for the next, it beat Hikaru overall with a score of 1.5 – 0.5.

“And it’s playing my freakin’ openings! Why is it playing my openings against me too?” - Hikaru Nakamura

If you’d like to use the bot for a realistic game with the real deal, I recommend slowing the time control down to 10 to 15 minutes per side.

Anna Rudolf (2400)

Anna was a professional chess player from 2000-2017 and has launched her own Youtube and Twitch channels. Known for her positional play, she attained the Woman Grandmaster title in 2008 and the International Master title later in 2015. We shall look at two untimed games between Anna and her bot.

Original Video

Game 1

Game 2

Assessment:

With a win and a loss, Anna and her bot appear to be evenly matched. But they have different strengths. The first game was quick and decisive, showcasing the bot’s tactical superiority. The second game, which was slower, accentuated Anna’s stronger positional sense over her droid. From a losing position, she was able to make an impressive comeback to score the full point.

If you would like to pit yourself against the real Anna Rudolf, I recommend playing Anna bot with a time control of about 30 minutes per side.

Viswanathan Anand (2800)

Viswanathan Anand is a five-time world champion. Rated at 2800, Vishy bot is among the strongest in chess.com’s line-up. Let’s see if this bot is befitting of its world-class standing from the blitz game between the man and the machine.

Original Video

Game 1

 Assessment:

This game initially went well for the bot. By the middlegame, it secured a one- or two-pawn advantage with only major pieces left. However, Anand put up a formidable defence and exploited the bot’s poor technique. When the dust settled, the game ended peacefully in a R vs R endgame.

To be fair, the bot displayed aggressive, attacking flair, reminiscent of Anand’s style in his youth. For instance, it was sharp enough to snatch the b-pawn for free on move 13 and held onto the extra material. Nonetheless, as the battle wore on, Anand demonstrated far superior endgame intuition and equalised against the machine. For a good match, I recommend a 15-minute time control.

Eric Hansen (2600)

Eric Hansen is a Canadian Grandmaster and chess streamer best known for his Chessbrah Twitch and Youtube channels. At 2600, this bot is not for the faint-hearted. Let’s look at two blitz games between Eric and his bot.

Original Video

Game 1

Game 2

Assessment:

In the first game, unlike Eric’s preference for 1. e4, the bot opted to play 1. Nf3. Throughout the opening and middlegame, the machine’s execution was flawless. It accurately used the open files and diagonals to bring the best out of its pieces. Eric defended well but eventually caved with a subtle but decisive mistake, 25…Rc4, which cost a piece. Instead of throwing in the towel, Eric created strong counterplay with his a-pawn. At one point, he even had a chance to draw the game when the bot made a surprising blunder with 43. Rh1??. Unfortunately, Eric could not find the way to punish his robotic twin. As the game continued, he was left with little choice but to concede defeat. Under such tight time controls, it must have been psychologically tough for Eric to even imagine that the 2600-rated bot could mess up such a winning position.

In the second game, the bot’s play was likewise close to perfection. However, Eric managed to step up his game to earn a more propitious position. But as pieces were traded to an equal endgame, the bot’s incredible speed gave it a distinct edge. Due to time trouble, Eric made a few costly blunders and lost the game.

In sum, while the opening choice of the bot may not be reflective of Eric’s preference, the man and machine pair are not too far off in skill. Both games were largely even until Eric was faced with serious time trouble. This bot appears to outplay Eric consistently in fast games. For a better taste of the man’s strength, I would recommend playing the bot at a 10-minute time control.

Andrea Botez (1800)

A popular Twitch streamer and Youtuber, Andrea Botez boasts a following base in excess of 300,000 on Youtube. I included the analysis of her bot if you wish to play at this rating range.

Original Video

Game 1

Game 2
Assessment:

In the first game, the bot’s play was inconsistent, making clearly dubious decisions such as Bc8-e6-f5 but also finding stellar moves like 19…e4!. Both sides had their chances in this back-and-forth tussle, but the bot eventually picked up the full point.

In the second game, Andrea managed to convert her advantage and beat her bot - a rare occurrence we have seen thus far! Again, the human and machine pair seem closely matched, but their styles are very different. The bot played a mix of poor and excellent moves whereas Andrea’s play was more consistent. All in all, this bot largely resembles its human twin’s actual strength, and the 1-1 score corroborates with my assessment.

If you’d like to see how you’d fare against Andrea, I recommend playing the bot in a 5-minute time control.

Levy Rozman (2500)

Finally, you may be familiar with IM Levy Rozman. As an active content creator, he runs one of the most popular Youtube chess channels with nearly 900,000 subscribers! Let’s view this game which is sure to pique your interest.

Original Video

 

Game 1

Assessment:

This was a spicy battle that ended in a draw. While Levy’s superior opening gave him an edge, the bot found enough counterplay to keep him from realising the advantage. Other than the opening choice, the bot matched both Levy’s strength and style of finding active moves.

For a good match with Levy, I recommend playing the bot in a 5 to 10 minute time control.


In conclusion, almost all the bots proved stronger than the celebrities they were programmed after. Flesh and blood only managed to come on top in two games, thanks to Anna and Andrea. The decisive factor in the man-machine battle was down to speed. After all, it is for good reason that an engine’s raw processing power is expressed in terms of million instructions per second (MIPS). If you wish to have a fair match with other celebrity bots, I estimate the best time control is about 10 minutes per side.

If you enjoyed this article, feel free to follow my account for more. Also, be sure to show check out the original Youtube videos of these celebrities playing their bots and show some love. Have a good one and I will see you again