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Is chess a futile game?

  1. Feb 9, 2006 #1
    Is chess a futile game?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 9, 2006 #2

    arildno

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    Nope, the answer is, in fact, 42. :smile:
     
  4. Feb 9, 2006 #3

    matt grime

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    Define futile for us.
     
  5. Feb 9, 2006 #4

    arildno

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    It isn't tic-tac-toe, treadstone, if that's what you're asking.
    (or, at least, we don't know if it is).
     
  6. Feb 9, 2006 #5
    Futile game = game that always results in a draw if all players play properly. Kinda like tic-tac-toe. I was wondering if chess was the same.

    :rofl: I knew it.
     
  7. Feb 9, 2006 #6
    The question you ask is a good one. I have spent quite a bit of time thinking about it, and well got almost nowhere. I believe that the fact that white goes first does give white some advantage. Statistically speaking I think white wins slightly more often. So I belive that if white plays "perfectly" then black is bound to lose. I ofcourse have no proof of this, this is just an opinion. I think the only way to check that I'm right or wrong is by going through all possbile combinations, where white plays the "best" move and seeing what happens to differnt responses from black. Of course finding the "best" move isnt easy, so a few different combinations will have to be tried each time. However, This will WAY to long even for the fastest computers.
     
  8. Feb 9, 2006 #7

    Tide

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    That depends on what you mean by "properly." I think you're being somewhat circular by implying that "properly" equates to "stalemate."
     
  9. Feb 9, 2006 #8
    Properly does equate to stalemate in some games, such as tic-tac-toe.
     
  10. Feb 9, 2006 #9
    draw out the strategy tree and find out...might take you several pieces of paper or you could code it. I doubt white has an advantage given the # of permutations a board could have at the start phase of a game.
     
  11. Feb 10, 2006 #10
    The modern players of chess always think of their rating and afraid of loss, so a lot of games nowadays end with draw by agreement. But in the past, untill 1950's, The players were more enthusiatic and they played to win only and draw by agreement was so rare .
    the best move in chess is something relative. Some players make very good sacrifices in the game which , by human mind, are regarded as great moves. When analyzing these moves by computer engines, the engine regard these moves as bad moves.so the game depends mainly on the sense of players and my opinion there is no " PERFECT MOVE",i.e., any move coul be to some extent good and to another extent bad.
     
  12. Feb 10, 2006 #11

    quasar987

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    For the anecdote:

    Draws by agreement were indeed more rare, but they were quite common amongst the players of the soviet union. In fact, young Bobby Fisher once throwed a tantrum about it and left the qualification cycle for the place of challenger to the world champion (Botvinik at that time), accusing the ruskies of cheating.

    The fact that white plays first give them a slight initiative. This is recognized by the chess players as an advantage, and reading the analysis of Grand Masters (GM) about a game, you'll encounter at some point in the game, probably around the 12th move or so, the commetary "Black has equalized", meaning the slight advantage of white has disapeared. However, even if black never quite equalizes, it is believed by GMs that this slight advantage of white is insufficient to win.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2006
  13. Feb 10, 2006 #12

    HallsofIvy

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    Indeed, the FIDE established a rule that players could NOT agree to a draw until they had played at least 30 moves each in order to placate Fisher. During the next championship round, Fisher himself offered a draw after only 10 moves! When he was told he couldn't do that, Fisher protested "that rule is for the Russians, not me!"
     
  14. Feb 10, 2006 #13
    I have something to say here. An indian book for undergrad physics starts with such an explanation. The name of the book is concepts of physics by H C Verma. I will try to say a bit of what he mean.
    He starts the book with the explanation of basic idea of physics. He says that the scientist's mind is like a good chess player. He tries to make more and more perfect guesses seeing or observing the surounding. But how much perfect is it depends on how much experienced he is. When we once start seeing chess games played between two players without knowing the rules, after a lot of games we slowly understand mmany rules by guessing at instants and then neglecting the once which are wrong when we see the opposite thing happenning. And thus soon we start getting more and more accustomed with the rules. So a perfect move in chess is very difficult to guess.
     
  15. Feb 10, 2006 #14

    JasonRox

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    Now, this is just the opinion of the author and how he visualizes how physics is done. That doesn't imply that it's useless.

    I don't think Albert Einstein had lots of experience when he made his "perfect move".
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2006
  16. Feb 10, 2006 #15
    My opinion is that chess is not a futile game because a "perfect" game cannot be played. As someone posted above, there is no perfect move, because the strength of a move is largely dependent on so many factors, especially in OTB games. Thus, there cannot be a perfect game. Some openings such as Alekhines Defense laugh at whites pawn center after e4, Nf6, e5, Nd5, c4, etc. in hopes that whites over-extended pawn structure becomes weak. Others focus on the pawn structure in the center and consider that the most important thing to establish in the opening. Even world-renowned grandmasters may disagree about which openings are better because they have had different experiences and have different opinions.

    I'm curious, does anybody have a USCF rating in here? Mine's 1429.
     
  17. Feb 10, 2006 #16

    Hurkyl

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    Chess is a deterministic, turn-based game of complete information. Thus, it can (in principle) be completely analyzed with game theory, and it could be classified into one of three cases:

    (1) White has a strategy with which he will always win.
    (2) Black has a strategy with which he will always win.
    (3) Both players have a strategy with which they will never lose.

    The only problem is that we don't yet have enough theoretical and computational power to figure out which case is correct.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2006
  18. Feb 11, 2006 #17
    That's what I wanted to know. Thanks.
     
  19. Feb 11, 2006 #18
    Define perfect...

    Chess is on a 10x10 board with the moves designed so that there is a possible counter. So technically, if both players play their best and are able to counter each other's moves, then yes it will end in a draw. Yet at the highest levels of play, draws are rare.
     
  20. Feb 11, 2006 #19

    Hurkyl

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    8x8.

    If you have a proof that perfectly played chess will end in a draw, then please share. Otherwise, let me refer you to my previous post. :grumpy:
     
  21. Feb 11, 2006 #20

    George Jones

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    And we'll never have enough.

    I seem to remember reading in Scientific American about 10 or 15 years ago (around the time of either Deep Thought or Deep Blue) that the number of possible chess games is about the same as the number of particles in the universe.

    Regards,
    George
     
  22. Feb 11, 2006 #21
    Im sorry, Ive been playing too much Martian chess...


    I was saying that theoretically, if the two players knew every single move and counter to the moves, then it would end in a draw
     
  23. Feb 11, 2006 #22
    are we trying to proof NPvP by chess?
     
  24. Feb 11, 2006 #23

    siddharth

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    That's not right. As Hurkyl pointed out, there are 3 possible cases, and the game need not end in a draw.

    Let me give you an example. If black has a position such that, even if black knew every possible legal move, white has a sequence of moves which assures him victory (such examples are easy to construct. For example, a forced mate). There is no "counter" in this example.

    There are only a finite(but very large) number of legal moves possible in chess. So, is it possible for white to find a strategy that assures him of victory, no matter what black plays (Like in the previous example)? The answer to that question, is not known as of now. But it is known that the answer will be one of the 3 possible cases which Hurkyl pointed out.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2006
  25. Feb 12, 2006 #24
    doesn't this mean that if we get the best computer for chess possible and make a copy and get the two computers to play each other they will never win (only draws)
     
  26. Feb 12, 2006 #25

    arildno

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    Not necessarily, no.
    Again:
    We do not know which of the three cases hold:
    1. That there exist a first move for white, so that irrespective of black's moves, there will always exist at least one move for white so that victory for white is a possibility.

    2. that irrespective white's moves, there will always exist at least one move for black so that victory for black remains a possibility.

    3. That irrespective of white's moves, there will always exist at least one move for black so that draw is a possibility.
     
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