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Chess/Will we ever run out of chess moves?


I read that one chess position was reached over 50 times by grandmasters. It seems that moves become more forcing as analysis progresses. Will we one day run out of chess moves considering that we always start with analysed openings? Also, is it against competition rules to copy moves from previous games? For example, both players make moves exactly based on Kasparov's Immortal Game.

Given the fact that the number of possible chess games exceeds the number of atoms

on earth (no exaggeration !), the scenario of the number of chess moves "running out" is

virtually impossible.

Granted, however, there's always been the problem of certain well-known chess openings being

more and more extensively analyzed, thus leading to increased complexity.  In other words,

there was once a time about, say, 30 years ago when only a small percentage of openings were analyzed past, say, the 25th move.  Now those same openings are often analyzed--with the

help of computers--past the 30th move !

So, yes, keeping up with the latest trends in opening theory is more and more difficult these days---but the notion of our running out of chess moves, is hardly possible.

As for the question of "copying" previous games, that is an EXTREMELY common practice, especially in professional play.  There is certainly nothing illegal about it, as long
as the two players are going strictly by memory.  In other words, they obviously

can't consult written notes during the game !



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Howard S Sample


First, I can't answer analytical questions on chess because my United States Chess Federation (USCF) rating is definitely below average. However, I am very knowledgeable about chess history and general chess trivia. I've been a chess trivia buff for 35 years! Furthermore, my research and writing skills are far above average! I've been researching chess questions on the Internet for over 10 years and pretty much know where to look for answers to them. My strong devotion to chess will show in many of the questions I can answer for your website. In other words, I can give specific, detailed answers if the need may be.


I have been a USCF member for 35 years (as of next month) and also have a very substantial collection of back issues of chess magazines, not to mention a lot of chess books. I am also familiar with many chess websites, such as ChessCafe and Chessbase. To be quite frank, chess (playing, studying, researching, and so on) has been somewhat of an obsession to me ever since I was about 12. I just can't seem to get enough of it.

United States Chess Federation (since 1975)

Interesting question! If you Google my full name (Howard S Sample) you will see that I have made many contributions to chess websites. I send in questions and comments very regularly although they don't always get printed. Admittedly, I can be a bit picky when writing to correct errors but I've submitted corrections many times (and not just to chess websites). Incidentally, I am also entering the field of freelance writing though, admittedly, I plan to write mainly about issues such as investments, federal taxation, and accounting/finance topics. But freelance writing on chess topics is also a field I'm exploring.

I have two degrees in business, of which one is an MBA (from the University of Toledo).

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