How many possible moves in chess are there?

8 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    There are 318,979,564,000 possible ways to play the first four moves of chess.

    In addition, America's Foundation for Chess found that there were

    169,518,829,100,544,000,000,000,000,000 ways to play the first ten moves of chess.

    The Shannon number, 10 to the 120 power, is an estimated lower bound on the game-tree complexity of chess.

    As a comparison, the number of atoms in the observable Universe, to which it is often compared, is estimated to be between 4 × 10 to the 79 power and 10 to the 81 power.

    There are 400 different positions after each player makes one move apiece.

    There are 72,084 positions after two moves apiece.

    There are 9+ million positions after three moves apiece.

    There are 288+ billion different possible positions after four moves apiece.

    There are more 40-move games than the number of electrons in our universe.

    There are more game-trees of chess than the number of galaxies (100+ billion), and

    more openings, defences, gambits, etc. than the number of quarks in our universe!


    The longest chess game theoretically possible is 5,949 moves.

    The first chessboard with alternating light & dark squares appeared in Europe in 1090.

    The record of moves without capture is of 100 moves during the Match between Thorton and M. Walker in 1992.

  • dahm
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    How Many Moves In Chess

  • Nancy
    Lv 4
    4 years ago


  • 5 years ago

    This Site Might Help You.


    How many possible moves in chess are there?

    Source(s): moves chess there:
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  • Anonymous
    6 years ago

    According to a youtube video i watched there are more moves that can be perfirmed in chess than all of the atoms in the known universe

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Pawn: 2 forward move opener (optional), standard 1 move forward, standard diagonal capture (1 space diagonally front, either way - NOTE: pawns cannot capture by moving straight ahead, even though this is their standard move, so if something is directly in front of them and their is nothing diagonally in front of them to capture, the pawn can no longer move). Special Move: En Passant (see special moves)

    Knight: 2 spaces front, back, left, or right follwed by an additional space in a perpendicular direction the the previous to (think "L" shape - total possible destinations, 8)

    Bishop: Diagonally in either direction, forward or backwards until it runs into a piece, thereby capturing it, or the player places at his choosing any time before.

    Rook: Directly forward, back, left or right in a straight line until capturing a piece or reaches destination chosen by player any time before capturing a piece. Special move: Castling (see Special moves)

    Queen: Any direction in a straight line any number of spaces until capturing a piece or player chooses a destination short of another piece.

    King: Any direction 1 space. Special move: Castling.

    Special Moves

    CASTLING - Castling can only be done prior to both the King's first move and the corresponding rooks first move, and the direction the castling is taking place must be clear (meaning, for kings side, the knight and bishop must be out of the way, for the queen's side, the same + the queen also must be moved). No matter which way the castling takes place, the king moves two spaces in the chosen direction, and the corresponding rook is placed on the square directly next to the king on the inside of the board. NOTES - Castling cannot be done 1) if the king is currently "checked" (in danger of being captured immediately by the opponent's next move.) 2) if the castling would place the King in Check. 3) If the King would be passing through a square that would have placed him in Check.

    En Passant - This move is rather difficult to explain without visuals to someone unfamiliar with chess. Here is the text information, though this is useless unless you are familiar with Chess

    - the pawn making the en passant capture must be on its fifth rank (Clarification: 1 more space forward than it could have been placed from the two-space start, must be on the same "file" [front to back row] that it started on)

    - an opposing pawn on an adjacent file must move two squares from its initial position in a single move (Clarification: this move can only be used to capture an opponent's pawn, and only if they used the optional two-space opening move)

    - the pawn can be captured as if it moved only one square (Clarification: you don't go to the square of the captured piece, but rather once space in front of it)

    - the capture can only be made at its first opportunity (Clarification: you must do this immediately after your opponent places his pawn next to yours - if you make another move first, you give up the right to En Passant, even if the position is still there on subsequent turns).

    Total possible move types: 3 standard pawn moves +1 x 5 standard moves for Knight, Bishop, Rook, Queen, and King + 2 Special moves = 10 possible move types.

    As for total number of moves, the game last until one opponent is checkmated (one player is threatening to capture his/her opponent's king on his/her next move and the opponent has no play to make his King safe), one player surrenders (allowed at any time, typically signaled by tipping the King down onto the board), or a draw is reached by default (only kings remain, a player cannot move without placing himself in Check [but is not currently in Check], the same situation is reached three times in a in a repeatable pattern, or a situation is reached where it is impossible for the game to continue) or a draw is reached by consensus (any player on his/her turn may offer a draw. If the opponent accepts, the game is over).

    Hope this helps =)

    Source(s): Myself - I have played chess since I was 7 years old, was in clubs throughout K-12 and played competitively in high school and in USCF tournaments. Basic En Passant rules copied from with Clarificatiions added by myself.
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    a billion trillion zillion killion faffillion

  • 5 years ago


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