FOM: chess "theorems"

Julio Gonzalez Cabillon jgc at
Thu Mar 19 23:45:11 EST 1998

JGC wrote:
: Some chess propositions *are* THEOREMS (in the math sense) within
: the theory of the game, some are plausible CONJECTURES, some are,
: up to now, unclearly valued propositions (uncertain positions).
: Professional chessplayers (say Shirov, Anand, ..., Deep Blue!)
: possess an extraordinary "intuition" (whatever this means) in so
: far they "know" when the "plausible conjectures" are theorems
: (= winning positions) even though there were no (formal) proofs
: yet available for them. These professionals are capable of showing
: how these conjectures can be turned into chess theorems just
: actually playing the proper moves against any defense chosen.

On Thu, 19 Mar 1998 22:24:20 +0100, Harvey Friedman wrote:

| The chess professionals are not turning these conjectures into chess
| theorems merely by playing (even absolutely) correct moves against
| particular defenses, unless you mean something unusual by "chess theorems."

"chess theorems" = "winning positions".

| I conjecture that "the original chess position is a draw" is not decidable
| in ZFC using at most 2^100 symbols, even if ZFC is augmented in standard
| ways to support abbreviations (which is required in order to make ZFC
| capable of actual formalization).

Incidentally, "the original chess position is a draw" is not a "plausible


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