chess rules :: chess notation

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stalemate
We've talked a little about how the games are recorded in chess rules. I will elaborate on this subject in the following article.

There are a great deal of ways to record chess games. We will only talk about a few; just enough to get you started as a beginner.

As you've seen the rows of squares on the chess board are sometimes called ranks, while the columns of squares are called files. Each rank has a number designated to it (from 1 to 8) while the columns are labeled with the letters a to h. This way each square has its own coordinate. The way you indicate the coordinate of a square is by first pointing the file and then the rank, like this : a1, b3, d8 et cetera

Writing down the moves in official games is a 'must do'. Usually the contestants are given a special piece of paper on which to write their moves, but when that is not possible they just use a regular piece of paper.

A move is registered by first indicating the square from where the piece lives and then the destination square. Then all there is to do is to indicate which piece is being moved. Although the move is completely determined only by indicating the destination and the square from which the piece leaves, by specifying the piece which is being moved the reader can go through the game much easier. There are experienced players who can follow a game form beginning to end only by reading the notations and visualizing the board and position.

Let's watch the following game so you can get a better idea.

You may have noticed that there is no "P" in the case of pawns moves. So, when you won't see any letter you will know that is a pawn move. The notation you've seen here is called algebraic notation and it's widely used in many chess publications.

There is also another notation you should know about : the abbreviated algebraic notation. This is just like regular algebraic notation with the difference that the square from which the piece leaves is no longer written. The moves above look like this in abbreviated algebraic notation : 1. e4 d5 2. e:d5 Q:d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bb4+ Nc6. In some situations when on the destination square could be moved more then one pieces at the notation is added extra information so you can determine exactly which piece went on that square.

It is a good practice if you start to write down the moves. In this way you can go over your game later on and see where you or your opponent made mistakes. Also if you are planning to get very good at this game and you may play on some official game (you never know when this might happen!...) you should start from now to learn how to record your game. Here are some symbols used throughout this site and in many publications. Some of this symbols express the importance of the move.

Symbol | Description |
---|---|

+ |
check |

++ |
Double check. This happens when the king is being simultaneously checked by two pieces. Be careful some publications use this sign to indicate checkmate. We use on this site a different symbol for that |

Checkmate | |

x or
: |
Capture |

! |
Good move |

!! |
Excellent move |

? |
Bad move |

?? |
Very bad move |

!? |
Interesting move; worth thinking on it |

?! |
Not such a good move |

White has advantage | |

White has a little more advantage | |

Black has advantage | |

Black has a little more advantage | |

+- |
White has a decisive advantage |

-+ |
Black has a decisive advantage |

= |
The game is equal |

~ |
When this sign comes after the symbol of a piece means that where ever the piece is moved the response is the same |

There are other notations but for now these are the only ones you need to know.