Chess is one of those activities where the child prodigy can shine. Years of worldly experience count for less than sheer ability to work with patterns. The only caveat is that the patterns are somewhat removed from natural by the complexity of the rules (I much prefer patterns in Go).
The chess computer learning without ever studying human games is basically taking that principle to the extreme. If it's winning, that kind-of makes it the ultimate child prodigy: deep pattern awareness, no worldly experience.