Chess notations

Beginner’s guide to chess notation

Did you know that chess players can write their moves down? If you’ve ever seen this before, I’m sure you’ll agree that it can be pretty intimidating. Let’s break it down.

First, we need to identify which piece we’re moving:

K = king                Q = queen           R = rook               N = knight            B = bishop

Then we need to figure out which square we’re moving to. To do this, we need to look at the chess board. The board is like a grid. The rows running horizontally (ranks) are numbered 1 to 8. The rows running vertically (files) are numbered ‘a’ through to ‘h.’ If we want to move a piece to a square four rows from the left and five up from the bottom, it would be ‘d5.’ So, if we move the rook to h8, we would write it like this: Rh8. If we move a pawn from e5 to e6, we would write ‘e6.’ Notice how there is no letter indicating that it is a pawn, like there would be for a rook or knight. If you move your pawn from d2 to d4, you would write ‘d4.’

How about if you want to capture a piece? In that case, we indicate a capture with an ‘x.’ For example: queen moves to and captures on a1. This would be written as ‘Qxa1.” Bishop moves to and captures on c4 would be ‘Bxc4.’ Here are some other symbols that might come in handy:

+ means check

++ or # means checkmate

= means pawn promotion

0-0 means king-side castling

0-0-0 means queen-side castling

1-0 means white won

0-1 means black won

½-½ draw

In short:

Queen moves to f7: Qf7

Queen moves and captures on f7: Qxf7

Queen moves and captures on f7, as well as checking the king: Qxf7+

Queen moves and captures on f7, as well as checkmating the king: Qxf7#

Pawn reaches the other end of the board on square e8 and is promoted to a queen: e8=Q

And that’s all you need to know!

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