Ah, those pesky chess engines. Once upon a time they were toys, then good tools for warming up, then equal competitors, and then superior opponents with whom we could at least compete. Now? Fuhgedaboutit. Even the best players have no chance against them--worse, they can't even hold the balance when receiving odds.
But they do come close - at least the best humans do. Hikaru Nakamura braved a four-game odds match against the latest and greatest engine at the top of the heap, Komodo 9.3, and the match came down to the wire.
In game 1 Nakamura had White, and Komodo played without the pawn on f7. That game was drawn, as was game 2, in which Komodo took White and started without the pawn on f2. In the third game the odds were a bit heftier: Komodo had White and played without the rook on a1, in return for which Nakamura played without the N@b8 and started with the rook on that square. That game was also drawn.
Finally, Nakamura received no extra material at the start of the final game, but if the old adage that a pawn is worth three tempi is true he received its equivalent. Playing White, he was given the moves e4, d4, and Nf3 for free, and then started the game from that point with the move. The engine managed to gradually extinguish White's advantage in a sort of King's Indian, and went on to win a very impressive game culminating in a fine ending.
Nakamura was in the match all the way, and I wouldn't be shocked if he managed to draw or even win a rematch. Will there be any further contests? Let's hope so, and let's hope that humanity can keep up and not let the quantity of the odds grow any bigger (or at least not much bigger).
The games can be replayed here.