When I first opened this book I laughed my black humour laugh. I don’t play chess, but I’m the kinda guy who attracts such gifts. I like them. Thanks Peter & Christina for a great Christmas gift 😎
The first book review I found for this book started the same way as my experience,
When I got this book, my wife took one look at the title and laughed. “A history of chess? Have fun with that.” A lot of people will think that about this book, and that’s a shame. The Immortal Game is far more than a history of chess.
Such is life 😦 This is an interesting, accessible, and fun book about a game that I’ve never really got into. I’ve tried, but the game is tough & seems so big. The author shares many of my experiences and provides some background on why it is so tough and has limitless complexity. On page 69 he lays it on the table:
- 1st move white ➡ 20 options.
- 1st move black ➡ 20*20 = 400 options.
- 2nd move each ➡ = 71,852 options.
- 3rd move each ➡ ~ 9,000,000 options
- 4th move each ➡ > 315,000,000,000 options
- estimated total of moves possible in a game ~ 10^120! (more than a google)
- for comparison — estimated total electrons in the universe ~ 10^79.
That kinda sheds some light on why it’s been so tough for programs to beat chess masters
Another great fact is the sheer age of chess
- Gameboy 15 years old.
- Monopoly 75 years old.
- Baseball 150 years old.
- Chess 1,400 years old.
Verdict: This is a great book. I highly recommend it. I’m making a pact with myself to start playing the game with my children like the book notes.
Here are some links —
- YouTube short of author discussing book.
- The Immortal Game
- History of Chess
- Wikipedia Chess Portal
- Detailed book review