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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


  • 8 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!

  • 13 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!

  • 21 months 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...

  • 2 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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