Here are some interesting facts relating to chess.
1. Did you know the number of possible ways of playing the first four moves for both sides in a game of chess is 318,979,564,000?
2. The longest game of chess that is theoretically possible is 5,949 moves.
3. The first chessboard with alternating light and dark squares (as it appears today) was made in Europe in 1090.
4. According to the America’s Foundation for Chess, there are 169,518,829,100,544,000,000,000,000,000 (approximately 1.70×1029) ways to play the first 10 moves of a game of chess. And they thought a computer would solve chess!
5. The word “checkmate” in chess comes from the Persian phrase “Shah Mat,” which is often translated to “the king is dead”, although more accurate may be “the king is trapped” or ” the king is without escape” (Treadwell).
6. The longest chess game ever was I.Nikolic – Arsovic, Belgrade 1989, which ended in 269 moves. The game was a draw.
7. There are 400 different possible positions after one move each. There are 72,084 different possible positions after two moves each. There are over 9 million different possible positions after three moves each. There are over 318 billion different possible positions after four moves each. The number of distinct 40-move games in chess is far greater than the number of electrons in the observable universe. The number of electrons is approximately 1079, while the number of unique chess games is 10120.
8. The new pawn move, where pawns were allowed to advance two squares on its first move instead of one, was first introduced in Spain in 1280.
9. An old puzzle: If you put one grain of wheat on the first square of the chessboard, two on the second, four on the third, eight on the fourth, and so on, how many grains of wheat do you need to put on the 64th square? The answer is 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 (approximately 9.22×1018) grains of wheat. That’s a lot of nutrition.