Yes.

Or possibly no.

Depends who you ask.

But really yes.

It's probably close to a googol.

Think how many atoms are in a pencil - millions. Think how many in a samurai sword - billions, maybe trillions. Think how many in the earth - quardrillion to the guadrillion'th power.(10 x10 to the 30th power) Then think how many atoms in all the planets and solar systems we can see with our powerful telescopes (the observable universe) - it's been estimated 10 x 10 to the 80th power. A googol is 10 x10 to the 100th power.

check this out:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shannon_number

edit: don't forget that we're talking bout the observable universe of course. the whole thing could be and probably is n times bigger

Yes, but that includes all the stupid silly messing around games to, where each player just does the kind of moves to stretch out the game and make various variations of the game, instead of making logical beneficial moves.

Sort of like how you can have a whole bunch of monkeys typing on typewritters for infinity and they will eventually write the complete works of Shakespeare. (Unless they run out of ink... or starve...)

Take this for instance. Just completely pointless random moves, but that and every variation of every bit of that would count as possible games. (Even though you'd never see them played.)

There are 26,830 plausible games of naughts and crosses (excluding symetrically identical games). But against a smart player you'll probably only ever see 10 or 20 different games. (All resulting in a tie).

Oh and DavyWilliams, there would something like 50,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 atoms in a pencil. Molecules are much bigger though.

Estimated lower bound on the game-tree complexity of chess - **10 to the 120th power**

Number of atoms in the observable Universe - **10 to the 81st power [estimate]**

=> more chess moves than atoms in the observable universe

I thought there were sources though that indeed suggested that there were more chess positions than atoms in the universe.

If that turns out to be true (even though, of course, stupid positions are counted), it's still kind of a cute fact, don't you think? It's not easy to be bigger than a universe even if you cheat

*chess moves *and *chess positions *the same in terms of these comparisons?

robertpetersen wrote:
it can be much simpler if one could agree the answer is infinite to both solutions in counting even mathematically

Well, we could agree on that, but we'd still be wrong.

Okay, there is a quote I read somewhere a long time ago about how the number of molecules in the universe (or earth, something along those lines) and how that number is equvalent or less than the number of different chess moves or positions. Does anyone know? If you do please post it.