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Number of possible chess games

The number of legal chess positions is 10^40, the number of different possible games, 10^120. Authors have attempted various ways to convey this immensity, usually based on one of the few fields to regularly employ such exponents, astronomy. In his book Chess Metaphors, Diego Rasskin-Gutman points out that a player looking eight moves ahead is already presented with as many possible games as there are stars in the galaxy. Another staple, a variation of which is also used by Rasskin-Gutman, is to say there are more possible chess games than the number of atoms in the universe. All of these comparisons impress upon the casual observer why brute-force computer calculation can't solve this ancient board game. They are also handy, and I am not above doing this myself, for impressing people with how complicated chess is, if only in a largely irrelevant mathematical way.

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/23592

Comments


  • 3 weeks ago

    ackyou

    How about the number of plausable games? starting with the basic really terrible moves, and maybe even eliminating openings and positions that have been proven conclusivly to be inferior. 

  • 13 months ago

    DORAEMONCHESS

    So, the amount of chess games is pretty hihg. I will suggest you to take a look at weiqi( go, baduk).It's even higher!

  • 18 months ago

    Bemular

    I believe there are "only" 10^80 elementary particles in the universe. That should put the number of possible chess games into perspective!

  • 2 years ago

    bulletheadbilly

    Heya Billy Junior...life is prophetic...i just posted in a group about there being more different possable chess postions on a board than stars in the sky...and went to Google it and here I am, Finding your Post...

    Prophetic thing about it,is my name is william john rogers junior, and thats Billy Junior to you...

  • 3 years ago

    thecalculator

    It stands to reason, 64! (64*63*63...*1) all the sequences one could select 68 unique objects (chess squares for example) is already in the order of the number of electrons in the understood universe.

  • 5 years ago

    moise

    whoa, that's like thinking about thinking!

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