# How much of a game of luck is chess?

1. May 22, 2010

### magpies

I have friends that say chess doesn't have any luck aspect to it. I see where they are coming from but I don't really agree with them. So for me it's not a matter of if chess is a game of luck it's more a question of how much? I personally would guess that chess is very much a game of luck so much I have problems finding where skill plays a role. So for you is chess a game of luck or skill and if so how much?

2. May 22, 2010

### mgb_phys

It's not a game of chance in the game sense, there is no random element in each move (no dice).
The only chance element is who goes first - which does give you a slight advantage.

3. May 22, 2010

### magpies

Well I could say the same about poker really. The only random element in that game is what color viser you put on right?

Many aspects of poker might seem random to thouse that don't understand it is what I ment.

4. May 22, 2010

### flashprogram

Or it may seem to give an advantage, but until the game is solved it is unknown if a perfect game from both sides would give the win to the player with the first turn.

5. May 22, 2010

### mgb_phys

The cards you are dealt are random.
This doesn't mean there is no skill, there is obviously a skill to making the best of your set of hands. I suppose for a professional poker player the actual cards are of less significance if they can bluff another player into folding - but in a strict game theory sense it is a game with a chance element.

6. May 22, 2010

### Mu naught

In poker you are dealt 5 random cards from a stack of 52. Where is the random element in chess? If you can't find one (because there isn't one) then you have to conclude there is no "luck" involved - because after all luck can be roughly defined as a favorable outcome which is unlikely to happen.

7. May 22, 2010

### mgb_phys

True but statistically it seems to help in the imperfect games played so far!

8. May 22, 2010

### magpies

I personally can see many aspects of chess that require luck I find it odd that most people say they do not. Like suppose your wife leaves you for your best friend the day before the tournament? Is that not considered luck? Wouldn't something like that possibly play a roll in your games?

9. May 22, 2010

### Mu naught

ugh... if you want to scrutinize how ever little event in someone's life can affect their game then there's no point even trying to debate this (although it was pointless from the start). The fact is there are no elements of chance in chess - you simply have to decide what move you want to make. Good or bad decisions are not "luck" so there is no luck in chess.

10. May 22, 2010

### magpies

Well I do agree with you that chess is not a game of luck just like poker is not a game of luck.

11. May 22, 2010

### mgb_phys

When you are talking about games chance has a specific technical meaning, yes in 'real life' other personnel factors also intrude.
But for example:
Roulette is a game of pure chance, there is nothing you can do to change the outcome by your skill.
Pontoon is mostly chance with a little skill (don't twist on 17)
Poker is a little chance with a greater deal of skill.
Chess is (almost) pure skill with no chance (other than the white going first advantage)
Go is purely a game of skill

12. May 22, 2010

### magpies

I don't know if I agree... I think all of thouse games you pointed out are games of skill with no chance.

13. May 22, 2010

### mgb_phys

Then I recommend you don't visit Vegas

14. May 22, 2010

### magpies

If only you could play chess on a machine at vegas for money that would be awsome.

15. May 22, 2010

### DaveC426913

Sorry, magpie, your idea of luck versus skill needs some tweaking.

Luck does not mean whether you had a bad day. The events unfold in a game of chess exactly how you control them to. There are no aspects of the game that are out of the control of the players. The game is wholly deterministic.

In a game of poker, the cards that are dealt to the players are not in the players' control. That is the element of chance.

Think of it this way:

A game of chess could be duplicated exactly every time by any two players both playing by the rules. All they need is a notepad to record the moves.

A game of poker (which, in following the rules, uses a shuffled (i.e randomized) deck each time) can not be duplicated.

16. May 22, 2010

### magpies

Actually if you play enough poker games you will find many things get duplicated all the time. Also in games of chess you generally dont have a notepad with all your old moves recorded. If you did however why would you follow the same moves if it results in your loss?

17. May 23, 2010

### DaveC426913

None of these comments changes anything I said.

There are no elements of chess that are outside the players' control.
There is a significant element of poker that is outside the players' control and, in fact, anyone else's control i.e. chance.

18. May 23, 2010

### Staff: Mentor

No. Just no. This is too obvious to even comment further on.