And you thought 3-D chess was hard.
Have you ever played chess? I have. I'm not really very good at it. I know how to play, but I have problems seeing the entire board and all the possibilities of every move. It's the same reason I fail at video games like, Age of Empires, Warcraft 3, Starcraft 2, and Romance of the Three Kingdoms.
It's not that I don't understand how to play, and the strategy needed to win. I just have a hard time focusing my attention of multiple things at once. I can either build up my army, or I can attack, or I can gather resources. I just can't do all of them at once.
And that's why I suck at chess. I decide on what I'm going to do, and I have problems seeing other possibilities on the board.
As a result, I don't play chess too often.
The fact that chess stymies my ability to think clearly enough to win isn't a legitimate reason to mock me, though. It's the same for most people. They can learn the rules, but never master the skill of thinking about all the possible moves and their outcomes.
And, that shouldn't come to a surprise to anyone.
And that's because, there are 1x10^120 different ways a game of chess can be played.
That's a big number. To put it into plain english, that number is:
One Thousand Trillion, Trillion, Trillion, Trillion, Trillion, Trillion, Trillion, Trillion, Trillion.
Let's put that number into some perspective, and compare it to the universe.
The universe is big. Super-duper big. And, there's a lot of stuff in the universe. And that stuff is all made up of atoms.
We all know about atoms. And one thing most people know about atoms is, they are smaller than tiny. So tiny, in fact, there are 2,500,000,000,000,000,000,000 of them in the lead of a pencil.
The amount of atoms in the universe is 1x10^82. That's One Thousand Trillion, Trillion, Trillion, Trillion, Trillion, Trillion. (give or take a few billion)
So if we compare those numbers, we see that the number of possible ways of playing a game of chess is several magnitudes larger than the number of atoms in the observable universe.
In comparison, my impending 45th birthday doesn't look so bad.
You'll notice at the end, I emphasized the word 'observable' when referring to the universe. That's because the universe I was talking about in this post is only the observable one. The entire universe might be larger. How large? Who knows. It also might be smaller. Again, who knows. When talking about the size of the universe, while there is much that we know, there is also much we don't know. How much don't we know? We don't know. We can't know what we don't know. If we knew what we didn't know, we'd know it, therefore we couldn't count it as something we didn't know. Know what I mean?