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How Many Ways Are There to Play the First Four Moves in a Chess Game?

Chess is one of the most popular and perhaps one of the oldest board games in the world. Although experts have not reached a consensus on the origins of chess, its predecessor is believed to have most likely emerged as a war game in India in the 6th century.

Enthusiasts of the game often wonder the number of possibilities there are within the game of chess. Analysis of chess and the possibilities of each move have long been of interest for mathematicians and others. Although the number of possibilities for an entire game of chess are too many to count, it is calculated that there are 318,979,564,000 possible combinations for just the first four moves. The possibilities after the first four moves are estimated to be about 71,852.

More about chess:

  • The predecessor of chess, "chaturanga", is also the predecessor of other Asian strategy games like xiangqi, shogi, and makruk.

  • "Deep Blue" was the first computer to defeat a human chess champion in a chess tournament in 1997.

  • Conel Hugh O'Donel Alexander, who helped break the German Enigma code during World War II, was a chess player.

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