Invented by the German mathematician [Ernst Beck]? in 1956, Beck's Coefficient is a calculated reference number which gives a rough indication of the probability of there being a possible route to the endgame within a set number of moves.

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The constant can only be used as a guideline, since the coefficient works on the assumption that line velocities are constant (Chalfont's Hypothesis suggests a coefficient that accounts for line velocities, but is incalculable on standard equipment within any reasonable amount of time), and unless stated otherwise is calculated for a 25 move limit.

When Mornington Crescent has been played, Beck's reaches a value of one.

The formula for the coefficient is rather too complex and cumbersome to explain here, but is available in any modern book on the game.

[JH]

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