How to Read and Write Algebraic Chess Notation

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How to Read and Write Algebraic Chess Notation

Postby Whiterook » Tue Jun 11, 2013 10:07 pm

How to Read and Write Algebraic Chess Notation

You're going to quickly learn everything you need to know about reading and writing chess moves, called "chess notation". There's even an actual real-life "scoresheet" below that shows exactly how moves are written in a chess tournament or chess club. This is the official recording document for recording chess moves. These scoresheets are used by the US Chess Federation, the official chess governing body in the United States.

Algebraic Chess Notation is today's universally accepted chess language. Though there are other styles, algebraic notation has been accepted as the standard by the international chess organization called FIDE. FIDE governs all world-class chess competitions.

Chess notation is easy to learn! You'll understand it like the experts in the next 10 minutes. Just continue reading!!!

Each square on the chessboard has a designated coordinate, cross-referenced from a horizontal row of letters on the bottom of the board, and a vertical row of numbers along the side of the board. For an example, see the following image....

Image

1. To write chess notation you must indicate the piece and the square it's moving to. Notice how each piece on the chart below is abbreviated with a single letter, except the pawn! If no piece is named it's assumed that a pawn move is made. Also notice also how the Knight is abbreviated with a "N" not "K". The following chart shows the main chess pieces and their letter designation:

Image

2. In the following diagram, the first move made was a White Pawn to e4.
The name of this move is simply e4. (Since the pawn's name is not written)....

Image


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3. Notice how this is shown on the sample scoresheet.
(By the way, this is an official chess scoresheet that is used in USCF rated chess tournaments)....

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4. Now Black has made a pawn move... this is written as e5.
Next, White has replied with his Knight to f3, written Nf3.

(Notice how the name of the piece is written as well as the name of the square)....

Image


5. Now, we're going to fast forward to some special moves.

See in the next diagram how White has made a special move called Castle (also known in this case as Castling Kingside.
This move is written as 0-0....

Image

If the King castles on the Queenside (to the other direction on the chessboard) it would be written as 0-0-0.
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Re: How to Read and Write Algebraic Chess Notation

Postby Whiterook » Tue Jun 11, 2013 10:07 pm

6. In the next diagram, White is going to capture Black's pawn on d5.
This move is called exd5. When a "capture" is made this is indicated with an x....

Image


7. Next, White captures the Black Knight on c6 with his White Bishop.
This move is written as Bxc6+.
Notice the "+" sign....this represents "check" since Black's King is now in check.

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8. White just moved d4.
Black's next move is exd3(ep) (called en passant), which captures white's d4 pawn while moving his pawn to d3.

Image

9. After several more moves, Black captures White's Bishop on c1 with dxc1=Q.

...That's about as complicated as it gets! This means pawn captures piece on c1 and promotes it to a Queen. Black could promote it to any other piece he chooses, but Queen's are nearly always the best choice....

Image

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10. Next, notice how the next move is White's Rook for Raxc1 to capture Black's Queen.
Note that either the Rook on A1 OR F1 can capture the Queen. This means that the "a" must be included to indicate which Rook....

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11. In this next position, Black makes a winning move, d4++.....pawn to d4 CHECKMATE!

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12. That's all there is to know about chess notation! You've learned the notation standards plus how to indicate the special moves ... check (+), en passant (ep), castling (0-0 or 0-0-0), checkmate (++).

Now you can learn about annotation symbols which can be written at the end of a move to indicate whether that move was a good move or a bad move.
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Re: How to Read and Write Algebraic Chess Notation

Postby josta59 » Wed Jun 12, 2013 2:21 pm

Thanks, very informative! The only thing I didn't understand was en passant. Doesn't look like anything was captured in the example.
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Re: How to Read and Write Algebraic Chess Notation

Postby Whiterook » Wed Jun 12, 2013 6:09 pm

josta59 wrote:Thanks, very informative! The only thing I didn't understand was en passant. Doesn't look like anything was captured in the example.


Ahhhh yes, it does look confusing, as I only have broken examples. Basically, when White moved his pawn from d2 to d4, Black moves to d3 "en passant" and removes the White pawn in d4. I didn't have a picture following up showing the White pawn gone from d4.

Image

en passant.jpg


For a better explaiantion of the move.....

image.jpg
image.jpg (90.32 KiB) Viewed 2724 times



En passant (French for "in passing") is probably the most confusing move for novice chess players. In fact, many may not even know the move exists, making it the source of many arguments.

Why does such a confusing rule exist? Before the 15th century, most people played by rules which didn't allow the pawns to move two squares on their first move. When the two square pawn move was added to speed up the opening phase of the game, it was noticed that it was now possible for a pawn to sneak by an enemy pawn on an adjacent file -- something that was never possible when pawns plodded along at one square per move.

The solution was en passant, a move that allows a pawn which has moved two squares to be captured as though it only moved one.

The diagram above illustrates how en passant works. The following conditions must all be present for an en passant capture to be legal:

  • The capturing pawn must be on its fifth rank.
  • The opponent must move a pawn two squares, landing the pawn directly alongside the capturing pawn on the fifth rank.
  • The capture must be made immediately; you only get one chance to capture en passant.
    If all those conditions are met, an en passant capture is possible.

In the diagram above, Black's pawn has just moved from c7 to c5, landing it directly next to White's pawn on d5. If White wishes, he may capture Black's pawn by moving his pawn to c6 -- capturing the pawn as though it had only moved one square. However, if he chooses not to capture immediately, White loses this option.

The above diagram also shows a second example from Black's perspective. White has just moved a pawn from f2 to f4. Black's pawn on g4 may capture White's pawn by moving to f3 on the very next turn. If Black chooses not to make this capture, he loses the ability to capture en passant.
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Re: How to Read and Write Algebraic Chess Notation

Postby josta59 » Thu Jun 13, 2013 11:08 am

I get it now, but count me among those who had no idea it existed! 38 years old and just now learning this...so much more to learn in life...
"...military glory, that attractive rainbow that rises in showers of blood—that serpent's eye that charms to destroy..." --Abraham Lincoln, 1848

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Re: How to Read and Write Algebraic Chess Notation

Postby Whiterook » Thu Jun 13, 2013 7:32 pm

josta59 wrote:I get it now, but count me among those who had no idea it existed! 38 years old and just now learning this...so much more to learn in life...


I know what you mean...until I looked it up for this thread, I had no idea how to write chess notation.

As for en passant....I learned under fire, when my brother-in-law did it in a game and I was like, WTF? It's a cool rule but, I believe it can be omitted if a player wanted it gone; but that said, I see why it was needed, after the point a two space move was allowed for first pawn move.
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