Are There More Chess Moves Than Atoms?

Question And Answers
Fallen black king and standing white pawn with mathematical background

This article might possibly contain affiliate links. If you decide to click on any of these links and make a purchase, we may receive a commission at no additional cost to you. Thanks for your support.

You’ve probably heard the mind-bending fact that there are more possible chess moves than atoms in the known universe.

At first, this seems utterly impossible. After all, the universe is unfathomably vast, containing billions of galaxies, each with billions of stars.

How could the finite confines of a chessboard possibly contain more possibilities?

Well, believe it or not, it’s true. The math is irrefutable.

A single chess game contains an almost infinite array of possible moves and positions.

When you consider all the possible paths a chess game could take from start to finish, the numbers become astronomical. The possibilities are endless.

According to a source, the number of possible move variations in the game of chess is estimated to be between 10^111 and 10^123 positions, including moves that are against the rules.

This is known as the Shannon Number, named after Claude Shannon, the inventor of Information Theory.

On the other hand, the number of atoms in the observable universe is estimated to be around 10^80.

Therefore, there are more possible variations of chess games than there are atoms in the observable universe.

You may also want to read:

Was this helpful?   Share it with a friend :)
Chessforsharks Editorial Team

hello@chessforsharks.com

Our team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers and chess experts with combined 28 years of experience.

Follow ChessForSharks on social media
  • 7 reasons you lose at chess

    This is just placeholder text. It's just here to fill up space until we have real copy.

    Download
  • join the conversation

    Leave the first comment


    Work With Us

    We help chess brands create engaging and converting content
    We help innovative Chess brands and influencers create content that sparks engagement and drives revenue
    Content WritingContent PromotionContent StrategyContent Optimization

    Subscribe to our Newsletter

    Google reCaptcha: Invalid site key.

    Call to action

    You may also like...

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.

    Unlock your chess potential:

    Discover the '7 Reasons You Lose Your Chess Games' in this ebook and elevate your game!

    Google reCaptcha: Invalid site key.

    No spam, ever.

    Once we have your content finalized, we’ll replace this placeholder text with your real content.

    Or Call(123) 456-7890

    Unlock your chess potential:

    Discover the '7 Reasons You Lose Your Chess Games' in this ebook and elevate your game!

    Google reCaptcha: Invalid site key.

    No spam, ever.

    Once we have your content finalized, we’ll replace this placeholder text with your real content.

    Or Call(123) 456-7890