It Wasn't Trained To
A learning system performs best on the task for which it is given explicit feedback. That is the only time the parameters are updated and they are updated explicitly to maximize performance on that task. At no time did OpenAI, Google, or any other purveyor of LLMs admit to training their models on 20 Questions. The fact that it can play such games at all is a nice but unintended side effect of the model pre-training.
A human who is good at the game understands that optimal play involves bisecting the space of likely answers with each question. Without this insight, it is difficult to formulate an effective strategy that doesn't devolve to linear search. It's literally an exponential speedup. Humans who don't have this insight are also particularly bad at the game, and are likely to never reach your actual goal. So in some respects, we hold LLMs to an unreasonably high standard.
You Can Train It
On the other hand, one of the remarkable emergent behaviors is "in-context learning", meaning, you can teach the LLM something without updating any weights. Simply by describing something new, you can make it follow rules within a single "conversation" (the entire set of prompts and responses constitutes the "context"). For instance, you can teach it that a "snorglepof" is a sentence with an odd number of words that make reference to a gnome. Then you can ask it whether various sentences are a snorglepof or not, as well as ask it to produce sentences which are or are not snorglepofs (make up your own unique term/rules).
The fact that it is able to do this at all suggests to me that it has some kind of intelligence. An interesting task for you is to see if you can make it better at 20 Questions. The free ChatGPT runs on GPT 3.5 and has a context of 2048 tokens, which is a bit more or less than 1000 words (for both you and ChatGPT). If you explain the optimal strategy to it first, you might find that its performance improves relative to the naive play. For instance, you should start a new chat with something like this:
The optimal strategy for the game 20 Questions is divide and conquer. Each question should divide the space of possible answers in half. Questions which limit the size, material, and liveness of the target are typically effective. Now, let's play a game. I have thought of an object.
Even with this short prompt, I suspect that you will get better results. You can simply replay your former tests, using the exact same responses (where appropriate). If you give it example questions, it should also improve its play.
While GPT and other LLMs appear to be super-human in their ability to manipulate language, one of their weakest areas appears to be reasoning. This is not surprising. Reasoning often requires search, which requires a potentially large amount of working memory. Unfortunately, LLMs have very little working memory (which might seem like a fantastical claim given that they consume upwards of 800 GB of RAM). The main problem is that they are almost all feed-forward architectures. Data gets a single pass through the system, and then they have to produce an answer with whatever they have.
GPT-3 has 96 transformer layers, which allows it to "unroll" a significant number of search steps that might be performed in a loop in a traditional algorithm. Even so, 96 loop iterations is pathetically small compared to something like AlphaZero, which can evaluate upwards of 80,000 board positions per second. I think it is safe to say that no amount of training will make GPT-3 competitive with AlphaZero in any game that it can play. In general, GPT-3 does poorly when it has to process something that requires a large number of operations (like adding up a long list of numbers). It is almost certainly because of this architectural choice.
Interestingly, language models prior to transformer architectures did use recurrence, which would theoretically give such models the open-ended performance horizon of systems like AlphaZero. However, they were mostly abandoned because researchers wanted the system to respond in a deterministic time, and recurrence limits the amount of parallelism which can be achieved. Perhaps future models will incorporate recurrence and get us closer to AGI. Some systems like AutoGPT attempt to add the recurrence externally to GPT, by putting it in a loop and feeding the output back into it, but they have met with quite limited (IMO, disappointing) success.