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Is the Chess Game Solved?

Is the Chess Game Solved?

Chess has always been a captivating game that challenges our intellect and strategic thinking. As we delve into the intricate world of chess, a thought arises: Is chess a puzzle waiting to be solved, or does it possess predetermined outcomes?  Can chess truly be solved?

Understanding Solved Games

To begin our exploration, let’s define what a solved game actually means. A solved game refers to a game where every possible move and outcome is known, either through mathematical analysis or exhaustive computation. While some games, such as tic-tac-toe and Connect Four, have been solved, the solvability of chess remains an enigma.

Let’s take a closer look at the characteristics of a solved game and examine examples of other games that have reached this status.

Chess as a Complex Game

Chess, with its intricate board and limitless possibilities, stands as one of the most complex games ever created. The decision tree in chess branches out exponentially with each move, leading to a staggering number of possible positions and moves. It is this complexity that presents a monumental challenge when it comes to solving chess. The sheer magnitude of variations and strategies makes the task of finding a definitive solution seem insurmountable.

Chess Move Permutations

At the beginning of a chess game, each player has 20 possible moves to choose from, consisting of 16 pawn moves and 4 knight moves. This results in a total of 400 possible move combinations for both players. However, as the game progresses, the number of options rapidly multiplies, presenting players with an ever-expanding web of choices.

After just two moves by each player, the number of possible positions jumps to around 72,000, and by the end of the third move, it skyrockets to over 9 million. This exponential growth is due to the fact that each move opens up new possibilities for both players, creating a vast tree of potential positions.

By the time both players have made five moves each, the number of possible positions soars to an astonishing 69 billion. This mind-boggling figure illustrates the immense complexity and depth of the game, as players must navigate this vast decision space to find the best moves and formulate winning strategies.

The Role of Chess Engines

Powerful chess engines, fueled by advanced algorithms and immense computational power, have revolutionized chess analysis and game play. These engines, such as Stockfish, AlphaZero, and Leela Chess Zero, can evaluate positions, calculate millions of moves per second, and offer valuable insights.

While they have reached extraordinary levels of play, they have not provided an unequivocal solution to the game.


The question of whether chess is a solved game remains open to debate. While chess shares connections with game theory and has witnessed remarkable advancements through artificial intelligence, its complexity and infinite possibilities continue to defy full solvability.

Chess is an art, a science, and a test of human intellect, with each move and decision carrying strategic implications. As we navigate the rich world of chess, let us appreciate its intricacies and embrace the ongoing exploration and discussion surrounding its solvability.

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.

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