Which side in chess would win if both players played “perfectly”?


Isn’t chess a “finite” game where no luck is involved? Are computers able to calculate perfect strategies for both players?

And if yes, then which side is at the advantage?

In: 11

If both sides played nothing but perfect moves then it’s quite likely the game would end in a draw. Which is also how most games at a very high level end.

But there’s so many possibilities in Chess that there’s always the chance of a win even with perfect moves.

Stockfish is currently regarded as the best Chess engine and the draw rate for Stockfish on Stockfish games is roughly about 60% – 70%

But there have also been University papers written about first move advantage in Chess. Contrary to popular belief Chess does not have equal odds for the players, White (having the first turn) has an ever so slight advantage.

But to answer you other question, Chess has little luck involved (other than the human factor of making a mistake) but it’s not Tic Tac Toe. There are so many possible outcomes in a Chess match that no 2 Chess games at a high level are identical.

There are so many possible outcomes in a Chess game that mathematicians haven’t bothered to try to figure out home many possible games there are.

So it’s not simply a matter of having a database of every single possible outcome and picking “the right move” because there are so many possibilities that if your opponent plays “the wrong move” after your “correct move” it can change the outcome of the game in either players favor.

It’s a case of collapsing probabilities

Player A plays the move that gives them the highest statistic chance of winning, but then their opponent does the same thing, which in turn reduces player A’s possibility of winning even if by a slight amount.

While chess is finite the number of possible chess games are so many that there are not enough material in the observable universe to store the outcome of all of them. So it is impossible for a computer to calculate all the possible moves. But from what we can calculate it does appear as if white have the advantage from the opening because they go first. This advantage is worth roughly half a pawn. But this is far from a winning advantage and just a slight skew in the win rate statistics. But it is enough that tournaments make sure that players get to play equally many games with each color. And often make sure that each pair of players face each other twice in the tournament with the colors reversed.

Yes it’s finite, but the number of potential games is too big for us to know all of them. Tic tac toe is solved because the number of games is small enough that you can look up the best response to any game. Solving chess would require evaluating every possible board state which there are too many of for that to be doable on current technology. I think we’ve gotten as far as solving every possible combinations of seven pieces though.

You’re correct that a definite answer must exist, because chess is a deterministic game. But the answer is not known.

It is generally believed that a perfect game of chess ends in a draw, since the best chess computers usually draw against one another, and highly skilled human players usually draw as well. But so far, chess is not a [(weakly) solved game](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solved_game), so we don’t know for sure what the outcome of optimal play is.

Chess is not solved, but the consensus is that white has an advantage, winning just over 50% of all games.