The claim that a game of chess has more possible iterations than atoms in the known universe is valid. While the number of atoms in the universe is incomprehensibly large, the possibilities in a game of chess are even more remarkable. By understanding this fact, we can appreciate the depth and complexity of the chess game and feel empowered by the knowledge that such a seemingly simple board game can surpass even the vastness of the universe in terms of possibilities.

# There are more possible iterations of a game of chess than there are atoms in the known universe fact

One claim has caught our attention in a world full of facts and mind-boggling comparisons: “There are more possible iterations of a game of chess than atoms in the known universe.” This statement may seem unfathomable, so let’s do the math.

## The Claim

The claim states that the number of potential games of chess, or unique sequences of moves, exceeds the number of atoms in the known universe.

## Let us examine the number of atoms in the known universe.

According to a 2013 study by the European Space Agency’s Planck mission, the observable universe contains around 10^80 atoms (Planck Collaboration, 2013). This number is already staggering and challenging to comprehend.

## Now let us turn our attention to chess.

In 1950, mathematician Claude Shannon calculated an estimate for the game-tree complexity of chess, which he placed at around 10^120 (Shannon, 1950). This figure represents the number of possible iterations or unique game move sequences.

## Comparing the Numbers

When we put the numbers side by side, we can see that there are indeed more possible iterations of a game of chess (10^120) than atoms in the known universe (10^80). This comparison is astonishing and demonstrates the incredible complexity and depth of the chess game.

Planck Collaboration. (2013). Planck 2013 results. I. Overview of products and scientific results. Astronomy & Astrophysics, 571, A1. https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/201321529

Shannon, C. E. (1950). Programming a computer for playing chess. Philosophical Magazine, 41(314), 256-275.