With the increasing playing strength of chess engines the draw rate of matches also increases. Between top engines this often goes up to 80-90%, see for instance the TCEC super final of 2021.
Does this mean progress becomes harder and harder? Certainly. Does this mean progress sooner or later will become hard to measure because the law of Diminishing Returns and the draw rate between engines will reach 95% or worse? In the 90's it was said by some that all games will be a draw when top engines would reach a search depth of 14 plies. We (now) know that is not true, in fact the end is nowhere near in sight as we will demonstrate playing time-odds matches with the current 2 top engines Stockfish 14 and Komodo Dragon 2.5
About 2 years ago we already demonstrated with time-odds matches how strong Stockfish 11 is and how much time factors it needed before its nearest competitors could beat it. We now do it the other way around, we play SF14 vs SF14 matches with time-odds of factor 2, 4, 8 and 16 and measure the elo progress as an indication how much space there is for improvement and how much the draw rate will lower.
So now we roughly know at which elo Komodo and Stockfish play at one second average and so we could calculate an imaginary elo(imaginary because the results are based on self-play) for both engines with ORDO as listed above.
Observations - which is not the same as conclusions :-)
1. The sharp fall in elo gain (green vs red) (8 vs 16 seconds) seems to indicate that for top engines the road to further progress NNUE evaluation becomes more and more important, perhaps even more important than search improvements, although of course they always go hand in hand.
2. There is a clear pattern (with a few exceptions) that after each doubling of the time odds time control the elo gain lowers while the draw rate increases.
3. Stockfish 11 is interesting, it's a HCE engine, while the orange are NNUE, and it seems to profit more from the doubling of the time control.
4. For the lower rated engines counts they profit the most, search seems to be the dominant factor.