Inevitable checkmate or Another Criminal Minds blog post

Jan 19, 2010, 6:10 PM |

Something about the opening of last week's Criminal Minds show bugged me. 

You can watch it here at this link -


Here is the relevant dialogue. 

I used to play with a coworker friend of mine. Probably the best mind I ever went up against. One day he decided that he didn't want to play anymore. 

So you gave up too? 


Just the opposite. I attempted to play through every permutation of moves on a chess board. 


That's an infinite number of games? 


It's not infinite, it's just, it's exponentially large. 



You couldn't have played through them all?


There's an average of 40 moves per chess game and I'll tell you something, the more I played, the more I realized that every single match, every single chess game.  It's really just a simple variation on the exact same theme. You know, it's aggressive opening, patient mid-game,  inevitable check mate.  And I realized why my friend quit. He was tired of repeating the exact same patterns and expecting a different outcome. .... 


My problem with this dialogue is the whole bit about "inevitable checkmate." This is not my experience of playing chess or practicing against the computer. 


I can remember several times when I thought I was winning against someone only to wind up with a draw instead of checkmate. 


I also believe that I read somewhere that the majority played at a very high level result in draws. 


It would seem to me that if two people played a perfect game of chess, would it not result in a draw instead of one person winning and the other losing? 


Isn't a result of a draw or a stalemate just as much a part of chess as checkmate? And if this is so, than checkmate isn't always inevitable, right? 


I would love to hear your thoughts.