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Notation in chess refers to the standardized system used to record the moves made in a game. This system allows players, coaches, and enthusiasts to study games, analyze positions, and share game sequences clearly and efficiently.

Similar terms: algebraic notation, descriptive notation, PGN (Portable Game Notation), FEN (Forsyth-Edwards Notation), chess records, chess moves, chess analysis, chess books, chess software, move recording

So, what exactly is notation?

Chess notation is a method to document every move in a chess game, using specific abbreviations for pieces and numeric coordinates for squares.

The most common modern system is algebraic notation, which describes each move by the piece’s initial (excluding pawns) and its destination square (e.g., Qf3, Nc6).

Special moves like castling are noted as O-O (kingside) or O-O-O (queenside), and captures are often denoted by an “x” (e.g., Bxf6).

Why is notation important?

Notation is essential for preserving the history of games, facilitating the study and analysis of games, and enabling players to review and improve their strategies.

It also supports broadcasting games to a wider audience online or in print, making learning and collaboration possible worldwide.

Examples of Notation

  • e4 (pawn moves to e4)
  • Nf3 (knight moves to f3)
  • Bb5+ (bishop moves to b5, giving check)
  • axb6 (pawn from a-file captures piece on b6)

How to use notation

  1. Learn the symbols for each chess piece: K for king, Q for queen, R for rook, B for bishop, N for knight. Pawns are implied by the absence of a letter.
  2. Understand board coordinates: Each square on the board is identified by a letter and a number (e.g., a1, h8).
  3. Record every move in your game using these symbols and coordinates.
  4. Use special notations for castling, checks, and captures to denote specific actions.

Famous examples of Notation

The “Immortal Game” between Adolf Anderssen and Lionel Kieseritzky in 1851 is one of the most famous chess games and is often studied through its recorded notation.

Anderssen’s aggressive tactics and brilliant sacrifices are clearly documented, allowing generations of players to study and admire the game’s intricate strategies and audacious gameplay.

Related Terms

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