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[ Chess Notations ]


Keyword Query: Chess Notations
Interpretation:
You want to know more about the system for recording moves, captures, etc., which is also referred to as Annotated Chess, Chess Annotation, and the like.

To start with, we need to see how each square on the Chessboard is given a unique reference marker (or, 'code'):

Annotated Chess System - Algebraic - Naming Squares

The Ranks are identified by the numbers (1 up to 8); the Files are identified by the letters (from a across to h) and those letters and numbers are cross-referenced to label each individual square, just like the grid reference on maps.

Keeping those square references in mind, we can now work our way through the different Notation symbols, to get a better understanding of how they relate to actions during a game of Chess.

The symbols all relate to the Algebraic Notation System, as used in all major tournaments, run by FIDE (the World Chess Federation).


Chess Notations for Naming Pieces

All Pieces are identified by a unique CAPITAL letter:

  • N = kNight
  • B = Bishop
  • R = Rook
  • Q = Queen
  • K = King

As 'K' was already taken for the most important Piece on the Board (that being the Kings), 'N' was an easy-enough substitute, to refer to the Knights.

You'll notice there's no letter for Pawns ... I don't see why they don't have the letter 'P', as they used to with the old Descriptive Notation System. Alas, it's not used with the Algebraic Notation System, so we've just got to get on with it.

Recording Pawn movements will be discussed next, along with recording the moves made by the Pieces, mentioned above.


Chess Notations for Recording Moves

Now we get to the reason for showing the image with the square references, first. Whenever a Piece moves, you write down its capital letter BEFORE adding the square reference code that the Piece 'finished' upon. So you have the following examples:

  • Nc3 = kNight moves to square c3;
  • Bb5 = Bishop moves to square b5;
  • Rd1 = Rook moves to square d1;
  • Qa5 = Queen moves to square a5;
  • Kd7 = King moves to square d7.

As for the Pawns, you simply write the reference of the square that said Pawn finishes upon:

  • e4 = Pawn moves to square e4;
  • b6 = Pawn moves to square b6;
  • g3 = Pawn moves to square g3;
  • d5 = Pawn moves to square d5.

Chess Notations for Recording Captures

  • x = material has been captured.

There's no specification of what exactly was captured, but the way it's written will tell you what made the capture and which square the capture occured on:

  • Nxg5 = A kNight made a capture on square g5;
  • Bxa8 = A Bishop made a capture on square a8;
  • Rxc7 = A Rook made a capture on square c7;
  • Qxd5 = A Queen made a capture on square d5;
  • Kxh2 = A King made a capture on square h2;

As for Pawns, when they make a capture, you give the File letter which they came from, followed by the x, followed by the square reference, where the Pawn finishes its capturing maneuver:

  • dxe4 = Pawn came from File d to capture on square e4;
  • cxb6 = Pawn came from File c to capture on square b6;
  • fxg3 = Pawn came from File f to capture on square g3;
  • exd5 = Pawn came from File e to capture on square d5.

Which Side Made The Move?

When recording any action, using Chess Notations, the Move Number is written first, then comes White's actions, followed by Black's actions.

You may see a slight variation in actual display, but the order always remains the same, as we'll now demonstrate.

The notation log will either be in linear form:

  • 1. e4 e5, 2. f4 exf4, 3. d4 Nc6
  • 1. e4 e5 2. f4 exf4 3. d4 Nc6
  • 1. e4 ... e5, 2. f4 ... exf4, 3. d4 ... Nc6
  • 1. e4 ... e5; 2. f4 ... exf4; 3. d4 ... Nc6

Or, it' could be more of an ordered list, like this:

  1. e4 e5,
  2. f4 exf4,
  3. d4 Nc6

Or, like this ...

  1. e4 ... e5,
  2. f4 ... exf4,
  3. d4 ... Nc6

Chess Notations for Checks & Checkmates

  • + = Check;
  • ++ = Double Check;
  • # = Checkmate.

In the Notation log, they'll appear like this:

  • 22.c5, Kh6 23.Bxf6 Qxc5+, 24.Bd4 Qd6
  • 37.Rxh7+ Ke8, 38.Rxa7 Kxf8, 39.Kf3#

Double Check is only sometimes used, but it's simple to understand that it'd be, say 37.Rxh7++, rather than 37.Rxh7+.


Other Chess Notations (Symbols)

  • ep = En Passant;
  • 0-0 = Kingside Castling;
  • 0-0-0 = Queenside Castling;
  • a8N = Pawn Promotion, to a kNight, on a8;
  • c8B = Pawn Promotion, to a Bishop, on c8;
  • e8R = Pawn Promotion, to a Rook, on e8;
  • g8Q = Pawn Promotion, to a Queen, on g8;
  • 1-0 = White Wins;
  • 0-1 = Black Wins;
  • ½-½ = Game Ends in Stalemate (Draw = share ½ a point);

Note that ep is only sometimes used for En Passant; otherwise, it'd just be recorded as with a standard capture (e.g. 2. ... exf4,).

The Chess Notations for the game result are tacked on to the end of the notation log. E.g.:

  • 39.Rb3 b6, 40.c5 Be6, 41.Re3 1-0
  • 43.Rd2 Qf1, 44.Qc8+ Kg7, 45.Qg4 h5 0-1
  • 44.Rc7 Ra2, 45.Kf1 Ra1+, 46.Kg2 ½-½

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