A few years ago, in a post titled Operators and Things (February 2010), I put together the following table 'Success Factors in Correspondence Chess'.
Although the meaning of the different categories and cells is nearly self-explanatory, there is further discussion of them in the 'Operators' post. I concluded with the thought,
As stronger chess engines become commercially available, the playing strength of operators is constantly on the rise. Will they eventually occupy the highest tier? This would mean that chess knowledge and work capacity will ultimately count for little to nothing.
In the five years since writing the post, the engines have become noticeably stronger and the engine operators have achieved a corresponding success. While it was once true that
Operators currently fall in the band between Master/Expert and Average Player, overlapping both. This means that it is possible to defeat them with good chess knowledge and some concentrated work on that specific game.
the boundary has shifted. The operators now occupy the band between Titled Player and Master/Expert (where I am). In other words, they are capable of playing equally with very good players and sometimes capable of defeating them.
What techniques, if any, can be used against the operators? Over the next weeks I'll devote a few posts to look at this question.