## An Inconvenient Chessic Coincidence? |

In the August 2008 NWC magazine, business manager Eric Holcomb published a mathematically-oriented article, "So How Many Chess Board Positions Are There?" which discussed various calculations of the number of possible chess board positions, and promised an interesting coincidence involving one of the calculations! Readers were challenged to identify the coincidence before the second article was published. One response was received, however the respondent's guess was incorrect. Download the article "So How Many Chess Board Positions Are There?" (PDF format). Download the chess board position calculation spreadsheet (XLS format w. macros).
In the September 2008 NWC magazine, Eric published his
second article, "An Inconvenient Chessic Coincidence?" in which it's
revealed that "the number of carbon dioxide molecules in the Earth’s
atmosphere is nearly equal to a reasonable upper limit on the number of
chess board positions that can be constructed without resorting to pawn
promotion to gain extra pieces! The 'magic number' is about
4.1529 x 10 -
Download the article "An Inconvenient Chessic Coincidence?" (PDF format). -
Download the details of the carbon dioxide calculation (XLS format).
Eric's "Chess Carbon Limit" graphic! (Click on image for full-size version.) |