Are you writing an article about chess or do you want to impress friends with chess statistics?
You’ve come to the right place! I’ve gathered the most interesting chess statistics below:
What’s the number of potential chess moves?
The number of potential chess moves is higher than the number of atoms in the universe (which is 1080).
How many people know how to play chess?
600,000,000 people know how to play chess worldwide.
What’s the longest chess game possible?
The longest chess game that’s theoretically possible is 5,949 moves long.
How many ways of starting a chess game are there?
There are 318,979,564,000 ways of starting the first four moves in a game of chess.
Until 1886, there was no official world chess champion title.
The fastest way to checkmate an opponent is in two moves with the black side: 1. g4 e6 2. f4 Qh4#.
The record for the number of moves without any captures is 100 moves in the game Thorton vs. Walker (1992).
The 2nd book ever in the English language was a chess book. It was called “The Game of Chess“.
An average chess game is 38 moves long.
The longest chess game in history was 269 moves long.
Over 250 grandmasters have the Russian nationality.
The longest tournament match in chess history went on for 20 hours and 15 minutes – a long time considering that the game ended in a draw!
The move “en passant” was introduced as a rule to the game of chess in 1280.
The first recorded game was played in 1475 in Valencia, Italy, between Francesc de Castellví and Narcís Vinyoles and features the Scandinavian Defense. This game was published as a poem. It used chess as an analogy for love.
The youngest world chess champion was Garry Kasparov, who was 22 years old when he became the champion in 1985.
The game of chess had multiple iterations. The original version of chess was invented in India and called “Chaturanga”. The version that we play today was invented in Europe around 1090.
Chess jargon uses a lot of German words such as “Zugzwang” or “Zeitnot” – simply because an adequate translation for those terms in English doesn’t exist.
The chessboard that folds, which is often used in scholastic tournaments, was invented by a priest in 1125.
Emanuel Lasker held the world chess champion title for the longest time in history. He was the chess champion for 26 years and 337 days.
Grandmaster Bernstein played a game for his life. He was sentenced to death in Russia in 1918, but an officier challenged him to a game before he got shot. Bernstein won the game and was released.
In 1779, before Turing invented the first chess computer, a man invented a machine and claimed that it could play against a human. It was famously called “The Turk” and it indeed played on the strength of a human player. In 1857, it was revealed that the Turk was a scam that worked because a human was placed inside the machine.
Because the game of chess went through so many iterations, there existed rules that enabled a player to win without checkmate. Before 1600, a rule existed that a player would win when all the opponent’s pieces were captured, except for the king of course. However, it was considered to be not noble to win like this. This caused the abandonment of the rule. This is fortunate, otherwise the beauty of some endgames would have been hidden from us!
When was the chess computer invented?
The first working chess computer was invented by Alan Turing in 1951.
I hope that these chess statistics are insightful to you! I read through them with amazement, as they illustrate the richness and complexity of the game that we all love so much.
Chess statistics and fun facts help me to remind myself of why I play and allows me to appreciate the legacy that the great players and researchers of this game have left behind. For me, it’s calming to not only have to think about my ELO rating when we talk about numbers in chess.
If you’re interested in this chess statistics article, you might also enjoy our selection of chess quotes.