# Number of games ever played in history?

Obviously, an exact answer can't be given, but we can't count all electrons in the universe either and physicists still gave an answer probably correct by an order of magnitude.

Let's specify: Only OTB (postal can be neglected, online is probably too young yet to contribute a significant amount), only under tournament conditions (free games like Blitz surely give a factor of 10 more).

I did a very quick "Fermi" and got 10^9. (Argued for 10^13 here) Can you do a more detailed calculation? You could base it simultaneously on the number of players worldwide (as in the link), the number of tournaments or the number of games recorded in Megabase etc., and if all these values agree to an order of magnitude, this would make a convincing argument.

• The linked articles argues for 10^13: "That means that around 10 million million games of chess have been played" Jul 10, 2021 at 8:00
• @IanBush "only under tournament conditions" eliminates most of the online games anyway, though. Lichess's ratings distribution page says "54,974 Classical players this week" but "666,794 Blitz players this week".
– D M
Jul 10, 2021 at 15:06
• @IanBush: Corrected (it was the old billion-milliard problem - only different :-) Jul 11, 2021 at 8:11
• You have some problems here. You exclude online games when in reality most of the chess games in history have been online. I just looked at lichess and they have 16000 games going on right now. The chessgames.com database is only 1.2m. Which means it would only take a day or two for lichess to eclipse the 500 years or so that chessgames.com has in their database Jul 3, 2022 at 4:15
• Online chess has been around for 25+ years now. But, in Morphy's day a chess game was something that took up most of a day. Nowadays, I can play 100 blitz games in the same period and still not worry about missing dinner. Jul 3, 2022 at 4:26