Last week, we talked about the game of chess.
There are 64 squares on the chessboard (32 white, 32 dark), and each one has a unique name denoted by the algebraic chess notation:
- The vertical files (columns) are labeled a through h, starting from left to right on White’s side;
- The horizontal ranks (rows) are numbered 1 through 8, starting from bottom to top on White’s side.
- A given square on the chessboard is denoted by the lowercase file (column) letter, followed by the rank (row) number. For example, g5 is the square corresponding to the file g and rank 5.
Learn how each chess piece is denoted
Usually, each piece of chess is denoted by the first letter of its name in uppercase, except for the knight (N) and the pawn (nothing). For figurine algebraic notation, a specific symbol is used for each piece.
- King = K or ♔ or ♚
- Queen = Q or ♕ or ♛
- Rook = R or ♖ or ♜
- Bishop = B or ♗ or ♝
- Knight = N (since K is already taken by a more important piece) or ♘ or ♞
- Pawn = (no letter) — pawns are denoted by the absence of a letter or ♙ or ♟
Learn how to write the notation for conventional moves of chess.
- Label the move number first. Each pair of moves is prefaced by a number followed by a period which indicates the ordinal number of the pair of moves – i.e., 1. for the first pair of moves (white, then black0, 2. for the second pair of moves, and so on.
- Write white’s move after the move number and follow it with black’s move, one pair of moves per line according to the following conventions:
Denoting a move to an open square:
- Write the capital letter which designates the piece, followed by the coordinate of the destination square. For example, a knight going to the square f3 would be denoted as Nf3; a pawn going to the square e4 would be denoted simply as e4. (Remember that pawns do not get a letter).
- Denoting a capture:. Each capture move is denoted by the letter of the piece, followed by a lowercase x, then the coordinate of the destination square. For example, a bishop capturing a piece at c4 would be denoted as Bxc4. Sometimes, the x will be omitted.
- When a pawn makes a capture, the file (column) from which the pawn departed is used in place of a piece initial. Thus, a pawn on e4 captures a piece on d5 would be denoted as exd5, or simply ed5 as the x is sometimes omitted.
- En passant moves are denoted by the file (column) of departure of the capturing pawn, followed by the square to which it moves, followed, optionally, by the abbreviation “e.p.”. Thus, a pawn on e5 capturing en passant a pawn on d5 is denoted as exd6 or exd6 e.p..