# How many chess positions do you think there are in chess

• #1

I would have to say 1,500,000 what do you think? Or do you think it is infinite.

• #2

Hmmmmm thats a tough one, since there are so many positions from so MANY games!

• #3

It can't be infinite since the number of pieces and squares are both finite. But it's much more than 1,500,000.

If you want to simplify, all the pieces but the kings, the bishops and the pawns can be on any of the 64 squares provided there is no mutual check. (The bishops can only be on their color, the pawns can't be on the first and last rows and some other squares are unreachable for them, the kings can't touch each other).

Take one Queen on a board: 64 positions

Two queens, different colors: 64²= 4096

Two queens, Two rooks, Two knights, different colors every time: 64^6= 68 719 476 736 already

That was the easy part. Now you can't do the same for same pieces from the same colors since they are equivalent (not the bishops) nor for the pieces I talked about before.

Then you have to take into account castling, promotions...

Not infinite but pretty high and impossible to calculate. I wonder if someone ever managed to do the maths...

• #4

Seems the current upper bound is "2^155, which is less than 10^46.7"

• #5

I know the possible number of games is 10 to the 120th power, but I don't know about positions.

• #6
Maroon5fan wrote:

I know the possible number of games is 10 to the 120th power, but I don't know about positions.

I think I gave the correct answer, so now you know.

• #7
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• #8

OVER 9000!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

• #9

This article states that there is a "Shannon Number" of possible chess games. Which is 10 raised to the 120th.

I would venture there are fewer stars in the universe, than there are games on the chess board.

• #10

Wow than I take it that it has to be infinite. The universe goes on forever

• #11

I think there are more than 25 positions in chess.

• #12
varelse1 wrote:

This article states that there is a "Shannon Number" of possible chess games. Which is 10 raised to the 120th.

I would venture there are fewer stars in the universe, than there are games on the chess board.

Fewer stars!!??!!??   There are only about10 to the 79th power atoms in the observable universe, so there are far less electrons in the universe than there are possible chess games.

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