Geek Trivia

Which Classic Boardgame Has Been Solved For All Possible Outcomes?

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Answer: Checkers

When it comes to classic board games like Chess, Go, Backgammon, and Checkers, there are a staggering number of potential moves in the game. On a standard competition size Go board, for example, there are potentially 10^48 moves which puts solving the game beyond the reach of our current computing capabilities.

Among such cerebral and classic games, one has been completely solved: Checkers. In 2007 computer scientist Jonathan Schaeffer completed an 18 year quest to solve all the possible moves in the game of checkers–10^20 potential legal positions possible. Unlike IBM’s computing system Deep Blue that uses enormous amounts of computing horse power to analyze future moves on the fly (as completely solving the chess board is still out of reach), Shaeffer’s system Chinook evolved over years of slowly crunching through the positions and potential endgames until it had learned every pontential outcome. By the late 1990s it was consistently beating talented players including the world champion Marion Tinsley.