- 10 Sep '16 23:37

Maybe it's a font thing:*Originally posted by ParShooter***http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2010-12/fyi-how-many-different-ways-can-chess-game-unfold**

'There are only 1015 total hairs on all the human heads in the world, 1023 grains of sand on Earth, and about 1081 atoms in the universe.'

I'm guessing there's a 'to the power of' sign missing there somewhere! - 11 Sep '16 19:56

It's probably calculable but you'd need a very powerful computer to do it.*Originally posted by Jerrard***Assuming rules prescribing draws, wouldn't there be an actual finite number of possible variations of a single chess game? Has this number ever been determined, or is it actually incalculable?**

There's 20 possible moves available to white on move 1 and an equal number of replies for black and the number of available moves increases by a lot on move 2 assuming a central pawn or knight move.

Chess has been played for hundreds of years and you still see "this move hasn't been seen before" in Gm game analysis. - 11 Sep '16 21:16

Presumably they should all be "ten to the power of...".*Originally posted by aquatabby***Maybe it's a font thing:**

'There are only 1015 total hairs on all the human heads in the world, 1023 grains of sand on Earth, and about 1081 atoms in the universe.'

I'm guessing there's a 'to the power of' sign missing there somewhere!

So it should read:

'There are only 10^15 total hairs on all the human heads in the world, 10^23 grains of sand on Earth, and about 10^81 atoms in the universe.' - 17 Sep '16 05:41

It may be a finite number but it's safe to say it's a really big finite number.*Originally posted by Jerrard***Assuming rules prescribing draws, wouldn't there be an actual finite number of possible variations of a single chess game? Has this number ever been determined, or is it actually incalculable?** - 17 Sep '16 12:47You can get an incredible amount of different positions after 10 moves.

but "Assuming rules prescribing draws." are in progress.

There will be a set number of possible captures (both sides can

only make 15) and a set number of possible pawn moves before they dry up.

A game, in theory, could go, both players move their Knight 49

times, then push a pawn one square. Do the same again

If you stick to the 50 moves a draw rules then the total number of

moves (the last time I looked) was calculated as 5899.

It may have changed since then. - 20 Sep '16 18:50 / 1 editYes, I think there must be a finite number of possible variations of a
*single game,*given that if no pawns are taken after 50 moves, or if a position is thrice repeated, it is a draw. The deeper one goes into a single game, the lower the number of possible variations, since some moves are irreversible (castling, pawn moves, captures, etc.).