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# How Hard Is Chess, Really?

• #21
JoseO wrote:

just curious about one silly thing. let us suppose that parallel universes exist and you find a way to play one of your alternate selves. Do you think that the majority of your matches will result in draws? i almost never get a draw game. Nearly all games i play wind up with a result of some kind both good or bad.

Sinceits a hyphotethical question, i gues one of my other self will win coz there are times when i select simpoe positions and sometimes i like combinative attacks.

• #22
waffllemaster wrote:

But then you could easily imagine an unnecessarily complicated game that would be impossible to play well at all.  Say a board with 10^100 squares and 10^99 different types of pieces, add other dimensions and lots of rules etc.  So capacity for error is not a useful metric either.

So maybe a better measure of difficulty would be, in a practical sense, the difference between the extremes of how well and how poorly we can expect decisions/plays to be made in the game.  Games that are commonly held as difficult, like chess or golf, would be considered difficult under this definition.

"Say a board with 10^100 squares and 10^99 different types of pieces, add other dimensions and lots of rules etc. " That comment got me thinking about the picture above.

Reading Wikipedia, it seems like rules were established for three dimensional chess as seen in Star Trek. I didn't know that. Has anyone played this chess variant? Did Captain Kirk ever beat Spock?

"The complete Standard Rules for the game were originally developed in 1976 by Andrew Bartmess (with encouragement from Joseph) and were subsequently expanded by him into a commercially-available booklet." - Wiki

---

Capacity for error is not a useful metric?

I'm not sure if I follow. I like to play openings where both sides are given plenty of opportunities to make mistakes, where there are plenty of natural looking moves that are either mistakes or big blunders. Perhaps these openings would be considered sharp? To me, sharp openings make chess much harder, and more fun, unlike playing some system opening, like the Colle, where it is unlikely for White to hang a piece in the first few moves.

• #23
JoseO wrote:

do you feel that your other self knowing this as well will try to steer the game along a more simple path or instead enjoy the challenge of getting into a game of combative attacks?

Maybe. SOmetimes when i re-anotate my games i see variations that i should have chosen rather than those that i have jotted down before.

• #24

I am hearing other stuff mentioned like lottery (which is so easy I can play it drunk with just as much skill as when I am sober) and computer games which pale beside Assassins Creed and some others.  These are not, however, board games which I believe was the point of the thread.  If we are allowed to go off topic I would say chess is harder than adamantium and not as hard as Chuck Norris's six pack.  In terms of board games they might be right about Go, I am not a player so cannot say; no board game I have ever played, from wargames to Catan to anything comes close to Chess.

• #25

I also saw sheldon cooper beat his friend in 3d chess. big bang theory

• #26

I've played a few 3d chess games via that board from star trek.  As you notice in post #27, the picture has the satellite boards on the bottom start floating above.  And this is how the rules we found online said to do it too... but when you pay attention to the initial position, those boards should start floating below that bottom board.  (When you read the rules on how these board work, and how pieces move off of them, it makes sense).

• #27
Musikamole wrote:
waffllemaster wrote:

But then you could easily imagine an unnecessarily complicated game that would be impossible to play well at all.  Say a board with 10^100 squares and 10^99 different types of pieces, add other dimensions and lots of rules etc.  So capacity for error is not a useful metric either.

So maybe a better measure of difficulty would be, in a practical sense, the difference between the extremes of how well and how poorly we can expect decisions/plays to be made in the game.  Games that are commonly held as difficult, like chess or golf, would be considered difficult under this definition.

"Say a board with 10^100 squares and 10^99 different types of pieces, add other dimensions and lots of rules etc. " That comment got me thinking about the picture above.

Reading Wikipedia, it seems like rules were established for three dimensional chess as seen in Star Trek. I didn't know that. Has anyone played this chess variant? Did Captain Kirk ever beat Spock?

"The complete Standard Rules for the game were originally developed in 1976 by Andrew Bartmess (with encouragement from Joseph) and were subsequently expanded by him into a commercially-available booklet." - Wiki

---

Capacity for error is not a useful metric?

I'm not sure if I follow. I like to play openings where both sides are given plenty of opportunities to make mistakes, where there are plenty of natural looking moves that are either mistakes or big blunders. Perhaps these openings would be considered sharp? To me, sharp openings make chess much harder, and more fun, unlike playing some system opening, like the Colle, where it is unlikely for White to hang a piece in the first few moves.

I'm not sure, but I think Kirk usually won against Spock.  Kirk was supposed to be a master strategist and tactician.

An interesting thing in that article is that the board and set up changed throughout the series, even within the same episode, I think.

"Queen to queen's level 1."  I remember this from an episode, but I don't remember the answer.  Do you?  It was the challenge that they had to answer right in order for the Enterprise to beam them up in that episode where they go to the mental hospital.

• #28

It's one of the most mental games there is others are mostly of luck

• #29
Musikamole wrote:
waffllemaster wrote:

But then you could easily imagine an unnecessarily complicated game that would be impossible to play well at all.  Say a board with 10^100 squares and 10^99 different types of pieces, add other dimensions and lots of rules etc.  So capacity for error is not a useful metric either.

So maybe a better measure of difficulty would be, in a practical sense, the difference between the extremes of how well and how poorly we can expect decisions/plays to be made in the game.  Games that are commonly held as difficult, like chess or golf, would be considered difficult under this definition.

"Say a board with 10^100 squares and 10^99 different types of pieces, add other dimensions and lots of rules etc. " That comment got me thinking about the picture above.

Reading Wikipedia, it seems like rules were established for three dimensional chess as seen in Star Trek. I didn't know that. Has anyone played this chess variant? Did Captain Kirk ever beat Spock?

"The complete Standard Rules for the game were originally developed in 1976 by Andrew Bartmess (with encouragement from Joseph) and were subsequently expanded by him into a commercially-available booklet." - Wiki

---

Capacity for error is not a useful metric?

I'm not sure if I follow. I like to play openings where both sides are given plenty of opportunities to make mistakes, where there are plenty of natural looking moves that are either mistakes or big blunders. Perhaps these openings would be considered sharp? To me, sharp openings make chess much harder, and more fun, unlike playing some system opening, like the Colle, where it is unlikely for White to hang a piece in the first few moves.

I guess that I was tryign to say it, while capacity for error has to be part of it, it can't be the only consideration.  The wonderful thing about chess is seeing very strong players enter these weird looking positions, and play weird looking moves, and it all works out.  So as long as someone can play it well and we can recognize it, then we can say it's hard.

Obviously a multi-demensional board game would be very hard, but I was trying for a more useful/practical definition.

• #30
ClavierCavalier wrote:

I'm not sure, but I think Kirk usually won against Spock.  Kirk was supposed to be a master strategist and tactician.

An interesting thing in that article is that the board and set up changed throughout the series, even within the same episode, I think.

"Queen to queen's level 1."  I remember this from an episode, but I don't remember the answer.  Do you?  It was the challenge that they had to answer right in order for the Enterprise to beam them up in that episode where they go to the mental hospital.

Really?  I thought spock always won... someone has to know this ;)

• #31

Shogi is harder than chess

• #32
waffllemaster wrote:
ClavierCavalier wrote:

I'm not sure, but I think Kirk usually won against Spock.  Kirk was supposed to be a master strategist and tactician.

An interesting thing in that article is that the board and set up changed throughout the series, even within the same episode, I think.

"Queen to queen's level 1."  I remember this from an episode, but I don't remember the answer.  Do you?  It was the challenge that they had to answer right in order for the Enterprise to beam them up in that episode where they go to the mental hospital.

Really?  I thought spock always won... someone has to know this ;)

"In the 2260s, Kirk and Commander Spock played many games of three-dimensional chess together aboard the USS Enterprise. It was a fascinating experience for Spock as Captain Kirk beat him on many occassions, defying Spock's own logic. (TOS episodes: "Where No Man Has Gone Before", "Court Martial")"

• #33
JoseO wrote:

do you feel that your other self knowing this as well will try to steer the game along a more simple path or instead enjoy the challenge of getting into a game of combative attacks?

If I have a choice between a solid move or a less solid move that gives my opponent, for example, an opportunity to hang a piece due to an absolute pin to his king, I will pick the less solid, more risky move.

Said another way, if I am playing an opening where I could play a move that sets a trap, and not the most popular choice by game explorer, I will pick the less popular move.

Here's a simple example of picking a less popular move, one that everyone on this forum knows, that gives Black a chance to make a mistake early on. It serves as a good teaching tool with my elementary students.

• #34
ClavierCavalier wrote:
waffllemaster wrote:
ClavierCavalier wrote:

I'm not sure, but I think Kirk usually won against Spock.  Kirk was supposed to be a master strategist and tactician.

An interesting thing in that article is that the board and set up changed throughout the series, even within the same episode, I think.

"Queen to queen's level 1."  I remember this from an episode, but I don't remember the answer.  Do you?  It was the challenge that they had to answer right in order for the Enterprise to beam them up in that episode where they go to the mental hospital.

Really?  I thought spock always won... someone has to know this ;)

"In the 2260s, Kirk and Commander Spock played many games of three-dimensional chess together aboard the USS Enterprise. It was a fascinating experience for Spock as Captain Kirk beat him on many occassions, defying Spock's own logic. (TOS episodes: "Where No Man Has Gone Before", "Court Martial")"

Thx

• #35

I am almost a master at checkers, and it is an excellently beautiful game.  There are no cards to draw, dice to roll, random factors involved.  Sheer calculation and study will result in a win or draw almost every time.  That being said though, the scope of the game compared to chess is no comparison.  In checkers the pieces only move 1 way (Until you make a king), and all jumps are forced, leading to many less positions to think about and learn.  In chess just because I attack a piece, doesn't force it to do anything many times.  And all pieces except pawns can move back and forth.  In chess there are 6 different types of piece to contend with all with different rules, whereas in checkers there are only 2, and they all can only move 1 square at a time.  So while both games are 100% skill and strategy, the difference is so vast you cannot even compare the two.  And just for a little info about the scope of checkers.  It took the chinook computer at the University of Alberta, Canada, 18 years to solve the game, over 500 billion billion positions.

• #36
DimebagDerek wrote:

I am almost a master at checkers, and it is an excellently beautiful game.  There are no cards to draw, dice to roll, random factors involved.  Sheer calculation and study will result in a win or draw almost every time.  That being said though, the scope of the game compared to chess is no comparison.  In checkers the pieces only move 1 way (Until you make a king), and all jumps are forced, leading to many less positions to think about and learn.  In chess just because I attack a piece, doesn't force it to do anything many times.  And all pieces except pawns can move back and forth.  In chess there are 6 different types of piece to contend with all with different rules, whereas in checkers there are only 2, and they all can only move 1 square at a time.  So while both games are 100% skill and strategy, the difference is so vast you cannot even compare the two.  And just for a little info about the scope of checkers.  It took the chinook computer at the University of Alberta, Canada, 18 years to solve the game, over 500 billion billion positions.

And jsut for a little info about the scope of chess, it hasn't been solved yet! :-p

• #37

With the amount of positions, it might not be for quite some time.

• #38
DimebagDerek wrote:

With the amount of positions, it might not be for quite some time.

That's why they built the Large Hadron Collider.

• #39

I only know that once I mastered 'the opposable feather', it was an end to all those 'touch move' blunders.

• #40

A good way to measure hardness is indeed to use the number of possible moves as a factor, how difficult it is for a computer to play it (computational complexity, using measures such as P, NP, etc.) and also how likely it is for a human to beat a computer.

These days, the best chess computers are far better than any human alive today, they have exceeded us in skill (>3000 ELO rating). In some (non-chess) games, the computer always wins, in other games, the human has a fair chance to mostly win. As far as computational complexity goes, I've heard that Go is by far the hardest.

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