Disclaimer: I know very little about chess: basically, how to put pieces on the board, how to move them, and how to lose (I'm a pro at this). I have no idea about my Elo rating, but I guess it's in the two digits range. Thus, please be forgiving of possible blunders in my question.
One of the few things I thought to know was that today computers are stronger than humans at chess. Programs such as Stockfish, Komodo and Leela Chess Zero should be able to regularly beat GrandMasters, and even give the World Champion a hard time. However, an acquaintance who is a way better player than me,, told me that you can draw against any computer chess program just by using threefold repetition. In other words, you make your move, the chess program makes its own, you go back, the chess program does the same (??), repeat three times and voilà, you get your draw. He said he used this strategy against chess engines you can play with on the Internet, and it works.
This seems unbelievable:
Even I could write a program which doesn't fall in such a trap. Just compare the current move with the preceding one: if they're the same, increase a counter, otherwise set it to 0. When the counter gets to 2, remove this move from the list of candidate moves. In other words, never perform the same move three times. Of course, there may be cases where actually performing the same move three times could be the best strategy: in that case, just offer a draw to the human opponent. But on the average, just avoid making the same move three times consecutively.
Different chess engines also use very different algorithms (e.g., Leela Chess Zero is based on neural networks, RL, and MCTS, while Stockfish and Komodo use other approaches, including opening databases, list of hard-coded heuristics, etc.), so it seems highly unlikely that a single approach could exist which can force a draw against all existing chess engines.
A chess engine's next move doesn't obviously depend only on my (the human opponent's) current move. I guess it depends on the full move history of the current game, as well as on the estimation, done by the chess engine, of which moves are more likely to lead to victory further down the game. Why should my current move be so important for the chess engine, that it would keep repeating the same move just because I do so?
I conclude that this is "fake news", or at most a silly bug in the chess engines this acquaintance played against (maybe not a major bug, because people who play chess on the Internet probably are not interested in a cheap trick to draw against the computer, but still a bug). But definitely not something that happens when playing against the major chess engines, such as the three I mentioned initially. Am I right?