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Algebraic chess notation, based on the method that was introduced by Philip Stamm, is a system for recording movements on a chessboard. More concise and less ambiguous, algebraic chess notation has become the standard way to record chess moves, replacing the once popular descriptive chess notation system.

If you are serious about chess, then it is very important to learn to read and use algebraic chess notation correctly. In this case, you can enjoy the huge amount of chess literature available and study your own games. Many tournaments require you to record games, and this is in your interests: thanks to the analysis of the game after the game, you will be able to increase the level of your chess skill. This article will tell you how to read, write and understand algebraic chess notation.

  1. 1 Find the chess set and arrange the pieces. Although not absolutely necessary, having chess in front of your eyes will help you keep track of the topic while reading chess notations.
  2. 2 Review the field labels. A chessboard consists of 64 squares (32 white, 32 black), each of which has a unique name expressed by algebraic chess notation:
    • Vertical lines (columns) are marked with letters “a” to “h” from left to right on the white side,
    • The horizontal rows (rows) are numbered from 1 to 8, starting from the bottom up from the white side.
    • Each specific field on the chessboard is indicated by a letter from the lower register of the line (column), supported by the number of the row (line). For example, the “g5” field is a cell corresponding to column g and row 5.
  3. 3 Examine the name of each figure. As a rule, any chess piece is indicated by the first letter of its name in upper case, with the exception of a pawn (no letter). In a figured algebraic notation, each figure corresponds to a certain symbol.
    • King = Cr or ♔or ♚
    • Queen = F or ♕or ♛
    • Rook = L or ♖ or ♜
    • Elephant = C or ♗ or ♝
    • Horse = K or ♘or ♞
    • Pawn = (without a letter) - pawns are indicated by the absence of a letter or ♙ or ♟
  4. 4 Learn how to write notation for standard moves.
    • First mark the stroke number. Each pair of moves is preceded by a digit, followed by a number indicating the serial number of the pair of moves. For example, “1” for the first pair of moves (white, then black), “2” for the second pair of moves, etc.
    • Write down White’s move after the move number, followed by Black’s move, forming one pair of moves in the line in accordance with the following conventions:
      • Designation of movement to an empty cage. Write an uppercase letter that represents the shape, and then the coordinates of the destination field. For example, the knight goes to the field f3, which will be displayed as "Kf3", the pawn moves to the field e4 - just write "e4". Remember that pawns are not denoted by letters.
      • The designation of the take. Each move with capture is marked with the letter of the figure, followed by the “x” in lower case, and after the coordinates of the destination field. For example, an elephant taking a piece on c4 will be marked as “Bxc4”. The x symbol is sometimes omitted.

  • When capture takes place by a pawn, then the line (column) with which the pawn begins to move takes the place of the letter of the figure. Thus, taking a pawn from the e4 square to the d5 square should be written as “exd5”, or simply “ed5”, since the symbol “x” is periodically omitted.
  • A capture on the aisle is indicated by the line (column) from which the pawn is captured, then by the square on which the piece moves, and if necessary with the abbreviation “e.p.” It turns out that taking a pawn from the e5-square in the pawn pass on the d5-square is denoted as “exd6” or “exd6 e.r.”.
  • 5 Learn how to describe special situations.
    • If two or more identical figures can move to the same cell, then the letter of the figure is accompanied by the following:

      • Line (column) of withdrawal, if they differ,
      • A row (row) of departure, if the columns are the same, but the rows are different,
      • At the same time, a line and a series, if none of the indicators clearly indicates a field.
      • For example, both horses in the fields d2 and f2 can get to the cell e4, so the transition is designated as "Kde4" or "Kfd4" depending on the circumstances. Or this option: both horses in the fields d2 and d6 can get to the cell e4, then the move can be written as “K2d4” or “K6d4” if necessary. If the three knights d2, d6, and f2 can reach cell e4 with capture, then the move should be marked as “Kd2xe4”, “K6xe4” or “Kfxe4” according to the circumstances.
    • If the pawn moves to the end of the board, the piece into which it turns is recorded after the coordinates of the transformation field. For example, a pawn on the e7 square goes to the e8 square and becomes a knight: such a move will be indicated as “e8K". Sometimes an equal sign (=) is used, as in the example “e8 = K”, or brackets, for example “e8 (N)”, or a dash (/), for example “e8 / К”. Within the framework of the FIDE standard, only the first version of the notation is used. .
    • Castling on the kingside is marked with the symbol “OO”, while “OOO” means castling on the queenside.

    • A check is indicated as “+” after recording a move, a double check can be marked as “++”.
    • The mat is indicated by the “#” symbol after recording the move. In some old chess literature you can find the notation “++” in the meaning of mat.
    • “1-0” is used at the end of the party notation to indicate a victory for White, 0-1 - a victory for Black, and ½ - ½ (or 0.5–0.5) - a draw. You can use the phrases "White surrendered" or "Black surrendered."
  • 6 Learn the punctuation used to comment on moves in a game.
    • Punctuation is usually used to comment on the effectiveness of moves, usually related to the skill level of the player. Similar icons are written after recording a move. For example:
      • ! good move
      • ! great move
      • ? wrong move
      • ? gross error
      • !? interesting move, however, its assessment is unclear
      • ?! dubious move but worth considering
  • 7 Learn how to record the notation of an entire batch. The list of moves is indicated in the form of numbered pairs: the move of white with the subsequent move of black. For example, 1. e4 e5 2. Kf3 Kc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 ".
    • Moves may be interrupted by comments. When recording resumes with Black's move, the ellipsis (.) Takes the place of White's move. For example: “1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Now Black defends his pawn. 2. Nc6. "
  • Chess notation

    There is also abbreviated chess notationwhen only the destination of the figure is indicated:

    1. e4 e5
    2. Qh5 Ks6
    3. Bc4 Kf6
    4. F: f7 #

    If several figures can go on one field, then an additional letter or figure of finding the figure is indicated. For example: Кge2, Л2e3.

    When taking a pawn, a pawn can specify only verticals, for example: bc, de etc. You can and a little more detail: bxc6, dxe5.

    In the event that a draw is proposed by tournament rules, players must mark this on the game entry form with a “=” sign on the appropriate move.

    At the end of the batch, the result is put on the blank.
    White's victory: 1-0
    Black's victory: 0-1
    Draw: 1 / 2-1 / 2

    When commenting on games, additional notations are often used:

    ! - good move
    !! - very good move
    ? - bad move
    ?? - gross error
    !? - a move worthy of attention
    ?! - doubtful move

    + - White has a decisive advantage
    - + Black has a decisive advantage
    ± White has an advantage
    ∓ Black has an advantage
    White has a minimal advantage
    black has a minimal advantage
    = position is equal
    ∞ unclear position
    material compensation
    → with attack
    ↑ with initiative
    ⇄ with counterplay

    To know chess notation is very important not only for tournament play, but also to read chess materials, for example, articles on this site. Therefore, it is desirable to remember well the basic rules of chess notation.


    We have already familiarized ourselves with the abbreviated names and printed images of the figures. We know how to record a position and individual moves. You can also record an entire chess game, and if it is printed or recorded, replay it on the board from beginning to end. Replaying the games of skilled chess players, analyzing the notes, which indicate the opportunities missed by the playing chess players, and explain the meaning of the moves made - all this is the best way to improve the class of your game.

    In chess books and magazines, a number of conventions are used that draw the reader's attention to the strength or weakness of individual moves and evaluate this or that position.

    Remember them - they will be used all the time in this book.

    - (dash) indicates the move without taking the opponent’s piece

    : indicates the move with taking the opponent’s piece

    0-0 short castling

    0-0-0 long castling

    ! good, strong move

    !! brilliant, beautiful move

    ? bad move

    ?? very bad losing move

    !? risky, controversial, trap move

    In debut reference books and in general in literature for qualified chess players the following signs are sometimes used:

    = equal chances of partners

    ± White's position is better

    Black's position is better

    White has a slight positional advantage

    Black has a slight positional advantage

    The beginner chess player does not need to remember these signs yet, since they are not used in this book.

    The results of the games are marked in the tournament tables in this way: the win is scored per point and indicated by the number 1; the loss is scored by zero and indicated by the number 0; the draw is scored into the shelf and indicated by 1/2 (and sometimes 0.5).

    The results of a chess player consist of digital evaluations of the games played by him. For example, the newspaper says: “Korchnoi comes in first place after six rounds, gaining 4.5 points” (or 4 1/2 points). This means that Korchnoi out of six games or four won with one loss and won one draw or three and made three draws.

    When summing up the overall results of the competition, wins are indicated by a plus sign (+), losses - by a minus sign (-), draws - by an equal sign (=). The phrase “Petrosyan won the match with a score of +5, -2, = = 8” means that of the fifteen games played by him, Petrosyan won five, lost two and eight tied.

    A complete record (notation) of a chess game is made as follows: before the record of each move, its serial number is counted, starting from the initial, first move, then a dot is placed and indicated: the abbreviated name of the piece, the field on which the piece stood before the move, a dash (and when taking opponent’s pieces - colon) and the field onto which the piece became after the move. Then, if necessary, a check or check mark is placed, and in printed games exclamation and question marks are put on some moves. During the course of a pawn, its abbreviated name (item) is not indicated at all.

    If the move ends with the transformation of the pawn, then after indicating the field to which the piece has become, the designation of the new, appeared piece is indicated, and only then are the shah, checkmate, exclamation or question marks put.

    On page 35, we analyzed (as the chess players say, analyzed) the merits of the three possible moves in the position on diagram 14. These moves can be written down so that you can clearly understand their relative value without words. Suppose that White made the thirty-second move. We write: 32. g7: f8 + ?, or 32. g7 — g8Ф. or 32. g7 - g8K +.

    In competitions of experienced chess players, they use a special form for recording games. But you can, of course, record the game on a piece of paper.

    The sample form on page 54 contains an approximate chess game of only seven moves. Of course, such short batches are very rare. Usually a game of experienced chess players contains from thirty to fifty moves, and sometimes more.

    A part record can be complete, with each move taking a separate line. To save space, you can write a move to the selection - one after another. You can use the abbreviated notation, which indicates the number of the move, the name of the piece, the take sign (a dash is not set at all) and the field on which the piece became after the move. With abbreviated notation, moves are written to the selection.

    If two identical figures can go to any field (for example, horses stand on b6 and f6, and one of them goes on d5), then in the shortened notation after the horse is indicated the letters of the verticals on which the horse stood before and after progress (Kbd5 or Kfd5).

    How to record a pawn capture by a pawn? For example, on the seventh move, the white a3-pawn took the black b4-pawn. With full notation we write

    move number, put a point, then indicate the field on which the pawn stood before it beat the opponent’s pawn, then put a colon (capture sign) and write the field designation on which the pawn found itself after it beat the partner’s pawn.

    Example of recording: 7. a3, b4.

    In the shortened notation, only the lettering of the verticals on which the pawn stood BEFORE it became AFTER the enemy pawn is written after the move number and point. The progress record looks like this: 7.ab.

    We will supply the party, recorded on the form, with signs that evaluate the quality of the moves made, and give it with all three notations.

    In all cases, the name of the player playing in white (left) and the name of the player in black (right) are indicated first. Then the competition is usually indicated, in which the game is played, the day, month and year of the game. In a printed batch, usually the name of the beginning (debut) used in it is also indicated above the surnames.

    Played in the classification tournament January 5, 1964

    4. Kf3: e5 !? FS18 — g5!

    5. Ke5: f7 ?? Qg5: g2

    6. Rh1 — fl Фg2: e4 +

    7. Cc4 — e2 Kd4— f3X Or (after last names, tournament names and dates):

    1. e2 — e4 e7 — e5 2. Kgl — f3 K8 — sat 3. Cfl — c4 Keb — d4? 4. Kf3: e5 !? Od8 — g5! 5. Ke5: f7 ?? Kf3 Ke 6 3. Cc4 Kd4? 4. K: e5 !? Qg5! 5. Q: f7 ?? Ф: g26.Лf1 Ф: е4 + 7. Ce2 Kf3X.

    In chess books and magazines, a thorough assessment of the moves of the printed game and its detailed criticism in the form of notes (as chess players say comments) are often given. When recording in a “column”, in separate lines, that is, in full notation, notes are given under the corresponding moves. With a full or abbreviated entry in the selection, the notes are enclosed in brackets. If a note is given after the move of white, instead of the move of black, three points are put, and the move of black after the move also starts with three dots.

    Most often, the moves are given in a column in full notation, and comments on moves in an abbreviated notation. For example, we briefly comment (criticize) the above batch.

    Played January 5, 1964 in the classification tournament.

    The white and black movements of the royal pawns opened the door for their bishops and queens. 2. Kg1— f3

    White attacks the e5-pawn with his knight and then withdraws the bishop to prepare a castling, 2.. Nb8 — c 6

    Black withdraws (develops) his knight while defending a white pawn attacked by white.

    Instead of developing another piece with 3. . . Kf6 or 3. . . Bc5, Black is wasting time (losing tempo) in a secondary knight move. But they set White a trap into which they fall.

    The easiest was 4. K: d4 or 4. 0-0. The move in the game leads to an acute, risky struggle, in which Black had to have a material advantage when both sides played correctly, and White had better development and attack.

    This is the trap. Black sacrifices another pawn, but he wins the piece or receives an irresistible attack. -

    Black was counting on this erroneous, although natural in appearance, answer. White should have played 5. C: f7 +, and if 5. . . Cre7, then 6. 0-0! F: e5 7.C: g8 A: g8 8.C3 Ke6 9.d4, and by 5. . . Kpd8 continue not 6. Kg4? because of 6. . . Kh6 !, a 6. 0-0F: e5 7.sZKs68. d4, receiving two pawns instead of a knight with an active position. Still, move 4. K: e5 White should not be used.

    And after 7. Фе2 К: e2 the White game is hopeless in view of the great material advantage of Black. 7.. Kd4— f3X

    In this book, all three types of chess notation are subsequently applied. It is useful for a beginner chess player to write down his games in full notation in a column, then rewrite them at home in a separate notebook with a complete notation in a column, and write down their ideas (comments) about individual moves and mistakes made by him or his opponent in shortened or full notation in a selection.