I played chess for many years before trying Go and since exploring the game I have noticed one point that Go enthusiasts love to go on about time and time and time again. The game tree complexity is estimated to be 10^700 (10 to the power 700 that is) possible games, while chess is estimated to be about 10^120. Thus, according to many Go players, Go is a far more complex game than chess
Stop. The number 10^120 is an unimaginably huge number, it’s 10 followed by 120 zeroes, or a trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion (etc…) In fact not even current super computers have been able to accurately say how many possible games of chess there are.
To try to imagine the numbers involved, look at the tip of your little finger. It has trillions of atoms, and a trillion is far more games of chess anyone would play in their lifetime. And the tip of your little finger is only a tiny fraction of you as a person. And you are only a small part of the room you’re in. And the room is only a small part of the whole building. And the building is only a small part of the street.
And the street is only a small part of the local neighborhood. And the neighborhood is only a small part of your town or city. And your city is only a small part of your state/ province. And your province is only a small part of your country, and your country is only a small part of the planet.
Already, the tip of your little finger is an absolutely tiny part of the planet. If you go outside and look at your little and compare it to the rest of what you can see you can appreciate the numbers involved.
That’s the small part. Now take into account that the Earths’ place in the solar system, it’s a tiny fraction. And the solar system is a tiny fraction of our galaxy.
And there are billions of galaxies in the universe. The trillions of atoms in your little finger are looking very small indeed in the grand scheme of things.
The current estimate of umber of atoms in the observable universe is about 10^82, which is much smaller than the game tree complexity of chess, which is 10^120.
That’s why I feel that people who are so enamored of Go’s game tree complexity are missing the point.
In fact I don’t even know why Go players are continually comparing Go to chess. Apart from being very old strategy board games, they have no real similarities. What does chess have to do with Go?
That’s my point made. I happen to enjoy Go very much, but I get annoyed with the hardcore Go players who love to boast about Go’s complexity- they’re totally missing the point.