# How complex is the game of chess?

10.08.2009
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What is chess? According to the Oxford dictionary “a board game for two players, the object of which is to put the opponent’s king under a direct attack, leading to checkmate”.

In other words chess is a board game in which the main idea is to destroy your opponents army and finally to checkmate the king. If you are completely new to chess I recommend reading Basic Chess Rules: Easy Guide to Learn Chess article first.What makes chess so unique from the rest of the board games is the fact that there are almost infinite number of positions that can arise.

After each player makes just one move there 400 different positions possible! After 2 moves – about 72,000 positions possible. After 3 moves – 9 million. After 4 moves – 288 billion (yes, billion with a “b”) positions can arise on a chess boards. There are about 10^50 legal positions in chess possible! Basically, you’ve got the idea of chess complexity.

This is the path a chess knight has to complete in order to visit every single squre of a chess board just once (on your right).The enormous number of chess positions, combinations and moves makes it a very good “memory” and “calculation” sport. This is one of the reasons why computers perform so greatly on chess scene. Modern chess programs can easily calculate 20 moves ahead, which is almost impossible for human being. How is than humans are able to play against these computer monsters? The answer lays in the difference between computer processor and human brain. Processor just calculated all the variations in certain chess position. Millions of which are just so ridiculously stupid that human player don’t even bother looking at them. But there are maybe about 10 good variations, and 3 great ones. This way computer checks millions and millions of moves to find the one it plays. Human’s brain cannot work the same way since it just does not have enough capacity to carry that many operations in given amount of time. Here is where logic comes into play: human players just do not analyze naturally ridiculous looking moves, saving huge amount of time. Humans only concentrate on certain lines which make sense to them. Sometimes computers afford pays off and machine finds a good move which human overlooked. Is there way to fight the machines? Well, that’s another story

Another feature that differentiates chess from most board games is that the game outcome mostly depends on a player’s skill. In contrast in board games like monopoly rolling the dice plays a major role. This is why chess is not a game of chance. There is such thing in chess as luck. For example if your opponent blunders a queen for nothing on 5th moves, you are most likely to win. But there is no random factor in chess that tells a player where to go like in monopoly-like games. Expert player in chess will win almost all games against a beginner. It means that chess training is the key factor to winning these games.
The more time player dedicate to chess the better he usually plays. Here are some instructions How to Get Better at Chess.

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Updated 04.07.2023