"There are, as chess players and George Steiner are fond of remarking, more possible positions in chess than there are atoms in the universe. The chances of dropping a tray full of ball-bearings on the floor and their falling in such a way as to spell the phrase 'Little Scrotely welcomes careful drivers' are greater by far than those of two identical chess games ever being played."
I came across this passage while I was clearing out a bunch of old books to take to the charity shop on the High Road.
Mr. Fry's getting himself a bit carried away there don't you think? I mean, I know chess is supposed to be pretty inexhaustable but that doesn't mean there aren't countless short draws that finish in the same way. The 10. ... Re8, 11. Ng5 Rf8, 12. Nf3 Re8 line in the Zaitsev played many times by A. Karpov and even once by myself springs to mind.
Anyhoo, it got me wondering if we were to limit our search only to games between grandmasters, what would be the longest pair of identical games that we could find? I don't mean doubles like these two that are kinda, sorta alike but a pair that are exactly the same.
Does anybody know? Like Justin's puzzle yesterday, I haven't a clue.