Talk:Algebraic notation (chess)

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Other notation elements[edit]

Somewhere we should treat the other notation elements someone is likely to encounter when reading about chess:

E.g. from

  • = both sides are considered equal here
  • +/= white is slightly better
  • =/+ black is slightly better
  • +/- white has a clear advantage
  • -/+ black has a clear advantage
  • 1-0 white won
  • 0-1 black won
  • .5-.5 draw
  • 1/2-1/2 draw
  • ! an excellent move
  • ? a blunder
  • !? an interesting move that may not be best
  • ?! a dubious move, but not easily refuted

It isn't clear that the algebraic notation page is the right place. Jeff 18:56 Nov 4, 2002 (UTC)

! a good move !! an excellent move ? a mistake ?? a blunder

These are also employed in descriptive notation, which was dominant in England and the United States from its early development in the mid-nineteenth century (later than algebraic) until the 1980s. Hence, Algebraic chess notation is not clearly the right place, although it is as logical as any other.

JStripes 00:27, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

Should there also be mention of the notation Informator uses, which is algebraic, but with piece symbols instead of letter?--Gangster Octopus 23:07, 15 Apr 2005 (UTC)

  • !! notation, I would strongly suggest that this notation is only used for appearant changing of points. To be more precise, when a player in a loosing situation makes a move that turns the game into a draw situation, or from a draw situation into a winning situation. And the
  • ?? is the opposite, or from a winning situation make a move so bad that a draw (or worse) becomes apparent, or from a draw situation into a clear defeat. Boeing720 (talk) 00:50, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
Strictly speaking, there are no moves of the first type. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 01:13, 25 April 2013 (UTC)


Is castling written with the letter O or the number 0?--Sonjaaa 11:31, Sep 9, 2004 (UTC)

It's the number. At least, that's what I've always assumed, and it's what the FIDE Handbook uses in its description of algebraic notation. --Zundark 12:16, 9 Sep 2004 (UTC)
While many people might "think" of it as the number, the PGN standard uses the letter Capital-O in order not to confuse parsers which are forced to distinguish the numerical zero, which is used for other purposes. Please note that, while the FIDE handbook's font uses the number, I doubt if anyone at FIDE would insist that it is the number and not the letter; likely it would be described as what it really is, a "circle." I simply tell students to write two or three circles to note the move. --Doug 17:28, 1 January 2006 (UTC)
The FIDE handbook linked to in the article is inconsistent. It sometimes uses the letter 'O' and sometimes uses a zero. The link mentioned by Zundark above is not valid any more. Bennor (talk) 22:22, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
As far as I can see, use of capital O for castling only appears in FIDE Appendix F, the chess960 rules, not the laws of standard chess. It's probably a mistake, as zeros have been used for castling in chess publication for a very long time. (talk) 07:39, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

Some PGN readers (Chess Informant Expert, for example) fail when they encounter castling written as numbers. Using the capital letters avoids this problem.--JStripes 01:28, 11 March 2007 (UTC)

The reason the PGN readers sometimes fail, is because that's the way that software is coded. The way that software is coded, was a function of the programmer who wrote it, or the specs he received before writing it. (Were there specs? Or did the programmer just do the easiest thing for himself?) Valuative judgement: Some lazy programmer somewhere should not by his arbitrary choice be allowed to dictate to the entire chess world now and for the future what humans read and see when playing through recorded games! (They can update their darn PGN software! If they don't have the programming skills to do that, I'll offer to help them out at no charge.) Ihardlythinkso (talk) 00:52, 4 September 2011 (UTC)
There is a Portable Game Notation spec, and it unambiguously requires the capital letter O for castling. FIDE and the vast majority of printed books in my chess library use zero, so PGN broke with tradition. We might hope that well written PGN software would be liberal in what it accepts, but some are strict. Quale (talk) 01:58, 4 September 2011 (UTC)
When I'm writing by hand, I just draw circles. When I'm typing I use letter O. I wrote a program that reads PGN, and it is easy to check for either. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 02:24, 4 September 2011 (UTC)
FIDE and the vast majority of printed books in my chess library use zero ... It seems that would be a good basis for ProjChess to adopt the same convention for chess articles. (I.e., add it to the other conventions ProjChess has for chess articles.) Yes/No? (Because as of now there is definitely an ongoing mix, reflecting editors' mixed tastes.) Ihardlythinkso (talk) 04:25, 4 September 2011 (UTC)
I personally prefer 0-0 and 0-0-0 as I've been used to seeing it that way for a few decades, but I have some books that use O-O and O-O-O instead so I don't see any particular harm in allowing both on wikipedia. [But I agree that it looks sloppy to use both on the same page, so we should try to be consistent within an article.] Editors have also pointed out using zeros makes it inconvenient to copy and paste game scores into some chess software that requires O-O, although obviously allowing both notations won't help there. I think it may be hard to get consensus on a house style, although there are a few things that I haven't seen here. I have quite a few books that don't use a period after the move number. This looks good in print, but I don't think it works as well on a computer screen. Some books use a comma between the white and black moves (1 P-K4, P-K4). I think that's dreadful, and fortunately I've never seen anyone do that here. Quale (talk) 06:31, 4 September 2011 (UTC)
I also prefer zeros. (But on games dated 1899 and before, O-O-O looks kind of cool – "antique-ish"!) I don't see the obstacle to getting a house style adopted. I think most would agree, it s/b zeros. I don't think the priority s/b a format making copy/paste to some software convenient. (WP is not a "booting" service. And anyone can copy/paste into their own WORD document and quickly do a REPLACE ALL "0-0" w/ "O-O".) The priority s/ obviously be on reading articles/games.
Also, the adoption of "an article s/ consistently use 0-0 or O-O, not both" does nothing for the two editors (and this has already happened and will continue to happen, don't think it hasn't or won't!) who undo back-and-forth to establish their preference in a given article. So, that kind of adopted policy is surely weak.
Starting w/ 0-0 vs. O-O is easy pickings. Then comes the harder stuff (you mentioned format & punctuation for moves). Better to start with low-hanging fruit. (A consensus effort hasn't hitherto been tried, yes? So it isn't known whether/not "hard to get a consensus". We s/ find out!) Ihardlythinkso (talk) 10:13, 4 September 2011 (UTC)
Or perhaps I'm reading this wrong; since FIDE uses zeros in algebraic notation, WP articles s/ favor it too!?
Someone here "guessed" what wasn't in the minds of the FIDE authors, suggesting they weren't really standardizing zeros intentionally when printing their handbook. All my ECOs show zeros – every edition. That's pretty good consistency. Basing argument on a guess which matches one's personal preference and no other basis, is really stretching it IMO. Ihardlythinkso (talk) 11:45, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
How about 0-O and O-0-O as a compromise? Just kidding! WHPratt (talk) 15:28, 31 May 2012 (UTC)

Can't see chess pieces in browsers[edit]

In my browsers (IE and Mozilla), I can't see the chess piece after "rather than by initials: for example". Is there a setting that allows me to see them? Bubba73

Algebraic notation in other languages?[edit]

Shouldn't this be left for the articles on algebraic notation written in the international wiki's? I don't see the point in telling someone the Russian algebraic notation in the English article, since that should be in the article on or wherever. --Malathion 05:17, 20 May 2005 (UTC)

Sometimes English speakers read chess books or articles in other languages, and it helps to know what the abbreviations are. I think it should be restored. I got that list from the US Chess Federation rule book, so they saw fit to include it.

--Bubba73 05:49, 22 May 2005 (UTC)

It is not a rare occurance that an English speaker has or reads chess books or magazines that are written in a language he doesn't understand. (I have some.) But if he knows the abbreviations of the pieces he can follow the moves of the game or analysis, even if he can't read the text. Readers of other languages probably know what their abbreviations of the pieces are, but an English speaker who doesn't read the other language (and therefore doesn't know the words for the pieces in that language) can read the moves - if he knows their abbreviations in that language. --Bubba73 14:04, 22 May 2005 (UTC)

I agree, and support reinstating the table. It takes up little room, anyhow. Revolver 12:07, 25 May 2005 (UTC)

Missing symbols[edit]

some of the symbols are not displayable on my web browser. Also, i dont know what they are supposed to be. either the symbol names (or a description of the symbol) should accompany those that cannot be displayed, or we should include a) pictures of the symbols, or b) see if the LaTeX engine can faithfully produce them. --Whiteknight 6 July 2005 03:50 (UTC)

On compensation[edit]

Next to the entry on compensation ("∞/= or =/∞ compensation for material deficit") somebody added the html comment "Which way round does this work?". I'm not sure I understand the question; the symbol means that the side with less material has compensation for it (it tends to imply adequate compensation). You can see which side is the one with more material and which is the one with compensation for it by looking at the position. Could somebody elaborate on what the problem is? Maybe the poster assumes one of the given signs means "White has compensation" and the other "Black has compensation" (not the case as far as I know; it's just that some publications use one, some the other)? --Camembert 13:08, 4 August 2005 (UTC)

Correct--New In Chess puts the = on bottom, Informant on top. --silverpie 17:00, 22 March 2006 (USA-EST)

∞/= and =/∞ mean two different things! White is always on top, Black is always on bottom, so ∞/= means that it's equal even though White is down material, because White has some intangible (positional) advantage. =/∞ means that Black is down material, but has some positional advantage. (talk) 18:59, 14 November 2016 (UTC)

Replacing DN[edit]

The article says "Beginning in the 1970s, the abbreviated algebraic notation eventually came to replace descriptive chess notation, " That is in English language publications, right? Didn't other languages already use AN? Bubba73 (talk), 18:38, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

I stopped being interested in chess after the descriptive notation went out and cold,calculating machine-friendly algebraic notation came in. 10010100 10001001 00100100 —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs).

Yes, of course it is true that algebraic was the standard notation in many other languages long before the 1970s. Edward Lasker used algebraic notation when he first published his book Chess and Checkers: The Way to Mastership in 1918; he was criticized for this, although according to Lasker algebraic was already the standard in "most other countries" (source: Edward Lasker, Chess Secrets I Learned from the Masters).

OK, I'm going to make a small edit to the article based on that. Bubba73 (talk), 04:31, 25 March 2006 (UTC)

++ for double check?[edit]

Check (board game) says that sometimes "++" is used for double check (instead of for checkmate). Is that correct? Bubba73 (talk), 01:27, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

This website says

the double plus symbol ( ++ ) sometimes is used to note checkmate [more rare and archaic in older historical books it was used for double check, more commonly now seen sometimes shown as dbl. ch.], added to the end of the notation, so it was used for double check at one time. 21:35, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

N suffix[edit]

Occasionally I have seen an N suffix used after certain moves (e.g. axb5N), but I have been unable to find any information as to what this suffix means. Does anyone have any ideas? TCrossland 13:34, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

Yes, it means that the move is a "Novelty", a move in the opening that hasn't been tried before in master games. Bubba73 (talk), 16:46, 20 March 2006 (UTC)


does anyone know how in maltese both queen and king have the same symbol? --Lucinos 09:11, 26 March 2006 (UTC)

Exact format?[edit]

I'm wondering about the exact format of AN. Is there a space after the period and before the move: 1. e4 versus 1.e4? I prefer a space. What about a black move? I've seen 1...c5, 1. ...c5, 1. ... c5, and 1 ... c5. Is there a preference or standard? Bubba73 (talk), 04:51, 2 July 2006 (UTC)

In addition to those listed, of course there's also: 1... c5 Ihardlythinkso (talk) 10:45, 6 September 2011 (UTC)

A new template has been created[edit]

I created a new template, Template:chess notation, to alleviate the need for sentences such as the following: "The French Defense begins with the following moves (see algebraic chess notation): 1.e4 e6 etc." The parenthetical comment interrupts the flow of the sentence, and also does not help readers who happen to skim the article and skip that sentence. Some articles that contain chess notation do not attempt to explain what it is. This new template will solve all that.

When you type {{chess notation}} at the top of an article (or anywhere else), the following message appears:

Of course, feel free to edit the template, as long as you maintain the link to this article. Correspondingly, it is critically important to maintain the high quality of this article because so many other articles link to it. YechielMan 21:49, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

Endgame classification[edit]

I don't think the new Endgame classification section belongs in this article, as it is not algebraic notation. 07:19, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

I agree. It is more along the lines of GBR code for FEN. I think it needs its own article instead. Or moved to endgame. I'll think about it some more. Bubba73 (talk), 05:17, 20 April 2007 (UTC)
I'm going to move that section to Endgame. If it had a name, I'd make it an article by itself, but I don't know of any name. Bubba73 (talk), 14:03, 20 April 2007 (UTC)

table of piece names[edit]

Just to let y'all know, at VIcipaedia's page on this, we have a really nice, much more complete table for piece names in various languages, if someone wants to copy it.--Ioshus(talk) 19:46, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

well, I went ahead. Say something if you disapprove...--Ioshus(talk) 19:12, 15 April 2007 (UTC)
I approve. One thing, since this table appears in at least two places, is there a way to make it "universal", so a change in one place is reflected everywhere it is used? Bubba73 (talk), 21:18, 20 April 2007 (UTC)
I don't think so. The way to do it would be to create a template in the Commons but last time I checked it did not work. --ZeroOne (talk | @) 22:03, 20 April 2007 (UTC)
I don't see why we can't just make a template for it...--Ioshus(talk) 15:53, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
Done. Template:Chess names.--Ioshus(talk) 16:03, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

I wonder how I can add an entry in the table for another language.Suhemin (talk) 08:41, 9 November 2013 (UTC)

The table is in Template:chess names as mentioned just before your question. This allows it be be used in several articles. Edits must be made to the template. Quale (talk) 15:37, 9 November 2013 (UTC)

For "Spanish", in this day and age, it would be better to see "Castilian" at least in parentheses under the other language name. Throughout Latin America it is known as Spanish, but in modern Spain there are four Spanish languages: Castilian (Spanish), Catalan, Basque, and Galician. Franco has long been deceased. Although it was his desire for there to be only one language called "Spanish", modern Spain recognizes all four as Spanish languages. To just write Spanish is now politically incorrect for Europeans, and the USA should start to catch on. Shrommer (talk) 14:59, 20 November 2014 (UTC)

Some native speakers (e.g. in Spain and most of South America) call the language Castellano (Castilian), others (e.g. most of Central America) call it Español (Spanish), some use both names. "Spanish" is by far the most common name for the language in English; it is unambiguous and universally understood. The word "Castilian" is more ambiguous and could mean the variety of the language predominant in Spain, with its distinctive lisped c's and z's, or it could mean the medieval ancestor of Castilian/Spanish. In any case we call several languages by different names than their native speakers; we say "German" rather than "Deutsch", "Hungarian" rather than "Magyar", "Finnish" rather than "Suomi" etc. MaxBrowne (talk) 00:07, 25 November 2014 (UTC)


Could someone add notes on the history of algebraic notation? Who suggested the format? When was it first used? When did FIDE make it mandatory? Thanks in advance. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:09, August 27, 2007 (UTC)

I assume that FIDE adopted it from the begining, in the 1920s. It was used in the 19th century. Bubba73 (talk), 19:24, 12 November 2007 (UTC)
I found this personal webpage that says that algebraic notation goes back to the early Arabic days, except that the numbers went in the other direction. It says that it was used in some 12th century French liturature and got its modern start in 1737 by Philipp Stamma. Bubba73 (talk), 23:33, 13 November 2007 (UTC)
But that webpage is not a WP:RS to use to put that info in the article. I would like to find a good source. Bubba73 (talk), 02:10, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
I found another article [1] which may or may not be reliable. Can anyone find any verification for it? It said basically that until the late 1700s there was no real chess notation, just discription. Eventually this was abbreviated to descriptive notation, but in the late 1700s someone came up with algebraic notation, which took a while to catch on, especially in England. Obviously whoever writes this section would need to take better notes than I did! Rhinocerous Ranger (talk) 04:09, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
There are reports of algebraic notation going back much earlier, but I don't know how reliable they are. However, you are right that they did describe moves which was gradually abreviated into DN. Bubba73 (talk), 04:55, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
Phillip Stamma is generally given credit for the first published use of algebraic notation in the West—this would have been in 1737 or 1745. Hooper & Whyld say that his was the first use of coordinate notation (they call algebraic notation "standard notation", which seems to me to be an odd affectation) in modern chess, which I think would put any earlier uses back to Arabic manuscripts before the mid-15th century. I believe that there are Arabic manuscripts using a coordinate notation that is essentially algebraic notation. Staunton has a good appendix on chess notation in The Chess-Player's Handbook, and he describes Stamma's notation, along with others. (This would be a good source for an article section on the history of chess notation.) Our article on Stamma doesn't mention this yet. I think Richard Eale's Chess: The History of a Game has some images of Stamma's 1745 book (published in English) that show the notation as he used it. I'm sure that H.J.R. Murray wrote something about Stamma and algebraic notation too, but those books aren't right in front of me now. Quale (talk) 07:07, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
You find calling it standard notation "an odd affectation"? What about calling it algebraic? Is there algebra involved? Uh, no. Standard notation would seem the better name, especially since it is: a) the standard notation used today, and b) because the name "algebraic notation", however widespread, in nonsensical.-- (talk) 20:01, 6 June 2012 (UTC)


I've never seen Kt used in algebraic chess notation, only N. What's the source? -- Jao 12:20, 23 September 2007 (UTC)

  • It's only in the table of chess piece abbreviations, and it was commonly used in older descriptive chess notation where this table also appears. Perhaps we need a note explaining this. The section algebraic chess notation#Naming the pieces correctly uses only N for knight. Quale 15:04, 23 September 2007 (UTC)
    • Ah, I didn't realize it was a template, thanks for explaining it. I'm aware of its use in descriptive notation, but was surprised to find it in an article about algebraic notation. -- Jao 15:25, 23 September 2007 (UTC)

Standard notation[edit]

The editors of the Oxford Companion to Chess insist on calling it "standard notation", saying algebraic notation is a "foolish name" as "no algebra is involved". I find this quite amusing. Is "standard notation" an alternative name widespread enough to note in the article?Pawnkingthree (talk) 11:59, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

It might be worth noting, but I haven't seen anything to suggest that "standard notation" is in widespread use. The name "algebraic" for this coordinate notation is long established, and I think that H.J.R. Murray even used the term in 1913. Quale (talk) 04:01, 23 March 2008 (UTC)

You find that amusing? Why? There is no algebra involved, is there? Kind of makes more sense at this point to call it standard notation.-- (talk) 20:05, 6 June 2012 (UTC)

Castling with Kg1???[edit]

How can a king castle into a corner square?? In the text it says: "For example, Kg1." WinterSpw (talk) 00:36, 23 March 2008 (UTC)

Agreed. No such thing according to FIDE. [2] ChessCreator (talk) 00:58, 23 March 2008 (UTC)
It was bogus, so I removed it. It's possible that some ancient computer program used this notation for castling instead of supporting the standard notation, but that's irrelevant here even if true. Quale (talk) 03:58, 23 March 2008 (UTC)
Kg1 isn't into the corner, it is the square the white king ends up on in kingside castling. But I'm not sure if that is a part of the standard way to write O-O, it probably isn't. Bubba73 (talk), 04:47, 23 March 2008 (UTC)
I checked a few references, and I didn't find castling written as Kg1, etc. Bubba73 (talk), 14:36, 23 March 2008 (UTC)
Bubba, WinterSpw question is unclearly written,. It's not about whether Kg1 is in the corner, the question is whether 'Kg1' is an acceptable notation of castling as stated the article says. Personally I doubt it is because FIDE doesn't say so, but I could be wrong. ChessCreator (talk) 15:09, 23 March 2008 (UTC)
I couldn't find any reference that castling can be written that way, so I agree with taking it out. Bubba73 (talk), 16:14, 23 March 2008 (UTC)

Chess notation[edit]

Chess notation duplicate topic? ChessCreator (talk) 01:04, 24 March 2008 (UTC) Forget that. ChessCreator (talk) 01:06, 24 March 2008 (UTC)

FIDE Handbook[edit]

All external links to appendix E of the FIDE Handbook are now broken. I can't find the appendices anywhere on the official website! What has happened? -- Jao (talk) 18:15, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

They have been moving servers for the last few days. Give it a few days more. SunCreator (talk) 18:25, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
When I tried a few days ago, there didn't seem to be any way to get tothe rules at the FIDE website. But the rules are here. Bubba73 (talk), 18:54, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
Alright, I'll try to be patient and give it a few days. -- Jao (talk) 19:34, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
It seems to have stabilized now, I relocated the links to the new target. -- Jao (talk) 09:42, 16 May 2008 (UTC)


While it's true that in algebraic notation one almost never needs a symbol for the pawn, occasionally it does arise, e.g. in writing analysis of variations one may want to write "P(either)xe5" or even "PxP" to mean the same continuation would follow. Do professional chess writers ever use P like this or is it just me? (talk) 19:29, 7 September 2008 (UTC)

I've seen it too, as you suggest, but I'd say it's bad form to mix. Ihardlythinkso (talk) 11:45, 6 December 2012 (UTC)
I can understand the latter for its brevity, but what's wrong with "d(f)xe5" for the first? Double sharp (talk) 00:52, 27 December 2015 (UTC)

Naming pieces in other languages[edit]

What does the name of pieces have to do with algebraic chess notation? Also, shouldn't the english Wikipedia use english except for articles about other languages? It's not like we normally include translations of content within the article. (talk) 10:25, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

See #Algebraic notation in other languages? for a previous discussion of this question. (talk) 19:28, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

Article name[edit]

This article is about Algebraic notation in chess and I think the correct naming would be Algebraic notation (chess). Can anyone provide a reliable source with the name Algebraic chess notation because from a google search it appears that the name while widely used, most likely had wikipedia as a source. SunCreator (talk) 01:02, 27 November 2009 (UTC)

Why not just Algebraic notation - is there any confusion with a different A.N.? Bubba73 (the argument clinic), 01:16, 27 November 2009 (UTC)
Whoops - the disambig page shows others. Algebraic notation (chess) is probably best. Bubba73 (the argument clinic), 01:17, 27 November 2009 (UTC)

"=" was notation for draw offer?[edit]

In "Pawn Promotion," it is written, "(The "=" sign is in fact used to represent the offer of a draw.)" I am removing that sentence. If anyone finds a source for that and adds it back in, great. But I'm unaware of that ever having been true in any form of Algebraic. (Though I'm very willing to be corrected by properly verified source material.) (talk) 17:22, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

It is not really part of algebraic notation, but the rules are that you indicate an offer of a draw on the scoresheet by writing "=" (next to the move number). Bubba73 (the argument clinic), 18:26, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
Ah, I see. Thanks for the correction! (talk) 19:58, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

Disambiguating moves[edit]

The following position occurs in the Two Knights Defense, Fried Liver Attack

a b c d e f g h
a8 black rook
c8 black bishop
d8 black queen
f8 black bishop
h8 black rook
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
c7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
c6 black knight
e6 black king
d5 black knight
e5 black pawn
c4 white bishop
c3 white knight
f3 white queen
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
c2 white pawn
d2 white pawn
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
c1 white bishop
e1 white king
h1 white rook
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Position after 8. Nc3

In this position, Nunn's Chess Openings (1999), with Joe Gallagher, John Emms, and Graham Burgess, Everyman Chess, ISBN 1-85744-221-0, gives Ncb4. It's conceivable that some would argue that it should be simplified to Nb4 given then Ndb4 is illegal as that Knight is pinned to King, so moving it would put the King in check. Regards, SunCreator (talk) 18:01, 15 July 2010 (UTC)

MCO14 (de Firmian) simply gives 8...Nb4. BC0 (1982. Keene + Kasparov) gives 8...Ncb4. I always thought there was no need to disambiguate an illegal move, but that's 2/3 in favour of doing it. In any case I think MCO-14 suggests either is acceptable. Adpete (talk) 12:07, 8 July 2011 (UTC)
Disambiguation - BY DEFINITION - means to clarify when there is an ambiguity. Since one of the Ns cannot move, there is no ambiguity. (Therefore no need to disambiguate; therefore no need to specify an disambiguation; therefore no need to specify Ncb4.) "Reliable sources" are horribly inappropriate to use as the ruling measure in a case like this. If Itzhak Perlman played a wrong note or a note out of tune on his violin during a concerto performance, it might be a "reliable resource" performance, but it doesn't mean that the world goes upside down and that because of his precident, suddenly there is a new way to play a B-flat. (Sheesh!) Ihardlythinkso (talk) 00:11, 4 September 2011 (UTC)
That isn't how it works. Adepte correctly pointed out that reliable, real world sources are inconsistent and they sometimes disambiguate moves that don't really require it. That's a verifiable fact. We don't necessarily have to mention it in our article, as that's a question of editorial judgment. But claiming that it isn't so just because you don't find it logical doesn't work on wikipedia. Quale (talk) 01:46, 4 September 2011 (UTC)
There are two different topics here. I wasn't disputing that there are reliable, real-world sources which sometimes disambiguate moves that don't need disambiguation. Granted. But those are not sources which explain or define how algebraic notation works or should be used, those are sources simply utilizing the notation themselves. If there were a reliable source whose purpose is to explain or define how algebraic notation works or should be used, and it gives disambiguateion where none is needed, then that would be something. But that's not what we have here. If it's just a source that uses the notation, then the "reliable source" is "reliable", but reliable for something else, not explaining or defining how algebraic notation works or should be used. (So the source is inappropriately applied if it is used as basis for an argument regarding how the notation is defined or explained to work, or how it is supposed to work.) Two different topics! Ihardlythinkso (talk) 04:06, 4 September 2011 (UTC)
There are (or maybe were) a couple of cases where excessive disambiguation would be a good idea. If a "sealed move" is ambiguous, the sealing player can be penalized with the loss of the game. Therefore, a player doing so would be wise to over-specify, e.g. "QBPxQNP" or "c4xb5". With newere, faster time limits, adjournments and sealed moves may be extinct today. Also, I think that there are penalties for sending an ambiguous move in correspondence chess, so again it would pay to overdo it. (When I played by mail long ago, I'd send off things like "4. QB-KB4," only to have my haughty opponent echo it back as "4. B-B4," but at least I couldn't be accused of ambiguity.) WHPratt (talk) 13:33, 1 June 2012 (UTC)

Missing sub-types; out of synch with main Chess Notation entry[edit]

What's described in this article is "Standard Algebraic Notation", at least according to Chess notation. Also included in that entry are more sub-types, such as Minimal Algebraic Notation (MAN), which is used by the New York Times.TerrificBowler (talk) 03:39, 28 March 2011 (UTC)

I think that's described in the article under Algebraic chess notation#Notation for captures. "Minimal Algebraic Notation" is a name that I don't think I've seen used anywhere outside of wikipedia, although the chess notation article does provide a link. Despite not having an official name, the shorter notation omitting the mark indicating a capture is well known to chess players. Quale (talk) 04:17, 28 March 2011 (UTC)
Probably ranks are omitted in pawn captures too, e.g. ef instead of exf5. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 05:46, 28 March 2011 (UTC)

Odd descriptions[edit]

"Horizontal files"?! "Vertical ranks"?! Never heard it described that way. (I thought I was reading misprints!) At the least, it is an inherently confusing way to describe. (The files go vertical. But they are stacked horizontally. I had to figure out what was being said. This is no way to explain to a beginner trying to learn.) Ihardlythinkso (talk) 00:00, 4 September 2011 (UTC)

Fixed Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 00:28, 4 September 2011 (UTC)
Thx! Ihardlythinkso (talk) 01:56, 4 September 2011 (UTC)

Time warp[edit]

Under subsection Long algebraic notation, this sentence was supported using a ref to a 1977 book by Golombek:

Long algebraic notation was no longer recognized by FIDE as of 1981.

(To quote Commander Kruge from The Search for Spock, "How can that be?" Ihardlythinkso (talk) 10:34, 5 September 2011 (UTC)

(1) The source is quoting the 1976 FIDE Rules Commission about what will take effect in 1981.
(2) However, this seems to be an error in the article - it says that they will no longer recognize descriptive notation. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 17:10, 5 September 2011 (UTC)
Thx for the research & change. Ok, Ihardlythinkso (talk) 04:33, 6 September 2011 (UTC)

PGN - similar notation[edit]

PGN is not really a similar notation - it uses algebraic notation. I don't think it belongs in the "similar notation" section. It does belong somewhere, but I don't know where. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 04:05, 6 September 2011 (UTC)

Making it its own section seems better than a section w/ a single subsection. Also, I thought "kindred" might be more specific than the vague "similar". (Just ideas.) Ok, Ihardlythinkso (talk) 06:46, 6 September 2011 (UTC)

The table in section "Naming the pieces in various languages"[edit]

The entry at Figurine/Chess contains an ellipsis. I assume that should be an empty text. (Technically, an NBSP or a literal space would be adequate.) As it currently stands (with the ellipsis), one might understand that the word Chess in the language Figurine, is written as "...", which obviously is not the intention. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:46, 18 September 2011 (UTC)

Right. That comes from some other source and would have to be changed there.
As far as your addition about writing "resigns", etc, it might be written on the scoresheet. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 18:53, 18 September 2011 (UTC)

More on Disambiguation[edit]

Two issues:

  • An earlier section in this discussion page dealt with the issue of whether it is necessary or not to disambiguate in case there's no real ambiguity because only one of the moves in question is legal (i.e. the other piece(s) is (are) pinned). This matter is still not resolved in the article.
  • Another, similar, but not previously mentioned, issue is whether it is necessary or not to disambiguate when the check ('+' at the end of the move) sign (or lack thereof) already does the job (i.e. two pieces can move to the same square, but only one of these moves results in a (discovered) check, so the presence or absence of the check sign suffices to disambiguate). (talk) 01:03, 7 May 2012 (UTC)

The terms AN and DN[edit]

Handy as it may be for this article, I have never personally come across the abbreviations AN or DN for algebraic notation and descriptive notation. I'd like to see the use of those abbreviations in print somewhere outside of Wikipedia to believe that these are abbreviations in actual use. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:57, 14 November 2016 (UTC)

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not a misnomer[edit]

“Algebraic notation” isn’t a “misnomer” (or a mistake) just because it isn’t related to the math department known as “algebra”. And it is in fact related to a wider meaning of algebra. The term algebra in my dictionary is defined as a “system of calculation that substitutes letters for numbers” (which certainly fits chess) or “any set or expression that uses only numbers and letters”, which easily fits algebraic notation, where file letters “a” through “h” are letters substituted for numbers 1 through 8. In fact the word “algebra” derives from the Arabic word that means “mending something that’s broken”, so you could say that the “algebra math department” itself is a misnomer. But we don’t. If you wanted to you could say that chess is full of misnomers, including the word “King”, “Queen” … (etc.) But they’re not, not really. So I removed the unsourced suggestion from the article. Handthrown (talk) 12:51, 12 August 2017 (UTC)

This actually comes from Hooper & Whyld—I don't know if there are other sources. The Oxford Companion to Chess entry for "algebraic notation" is "see STANDARD NOTATION". The "standard notation" entry says "sometimes known as CO-ORDINATE NOTATION (of which it is an example), algebraic notation (a foolish name: algebra is not involved), or, more rarely, continental notation." I think putting the main entry for alebraic notation under the name "standard notation" is an eccentricity of Hooper & Whyld since I don't think I've ever seen anyone else use that name. I do think that they're right that algebraic notation is a little off center as a name. The chess notation has no connection with mathematics, and considering it to be included under the closest applicable definition of algebra as "any special system of notation adapted to the study of a special system of relationships" seems rather tenuous. The universal connotation of algebra is that the symbols are manipulated by a set of rules often resembling arithmetic, so the term algebra is not used to mean any system of special notation. There must be thousands of special notations that no one would consider to be algebra or algebraic, and I think that in spite of its name, chess notation is by definition a non-algebraic notation. But really today it's just the name we use for the thing, and it isn't required that English language makes complete sense. Quale (talk) 16:56, 12 August 2017 (UTC)
I don’t like to disagree with Hooper & Whyld, who deserve great respect. But since algebra substitutes letters for numbers, and algebraic notation is similar in that way, then “algebraic” seems reasonable, and to call it “foolish” seems over the top. When they call it a foolish description, because “no algebra is involved” — I’m not exactly sure what they mean by “algebra being involved or not in a description”. However when any change in notation is discussed in various chess magazines from the early and late 20th Century people do get vehement in print. Of course nowadays every chess player, from beginner to world champion, owes a debt of thanks to the (Boolean) algebraic notations that went into the creation of computers, and on-line chess, and certain end-game studies. Of course all that has flourish massively in the quarter-of-a-century since Hooper & Whyld published in 1992— back in the days when chess games were still being adjourned mid-way through. Algebra owes a big debt of thanks to chess — because chess boards and diagrams are a commonly featured in elementary algebra books that try to explain algebra to beginners. However, Hooper & Whyld, as far as I’m concerned, still have a perfect score on the topic they know best. Handthrown (talk) 14:41, 14 August 2017 (UTC)
Right, but boolean algebra is exactly the point. It has rules of a kind that allow manipulating boolean expressions into equivalent forms that simply don't exist for chess notation.
etc. I have never seen a chess board in an algebra book, but I don't read algebra texts for children so I probably wouldn't know. Algebra is the stuff you find in Category:algebra, and I wouldn't recommend trying to put this article in that category. Quale (talk) 23:03, 14 August 2017 (UTC)
I’m afraid we’re drifting off-topic to be talking about Boolean, which is, as I understand it, adept at chess notation, but it’s intended for computers, and I believe that its choice of numbers is very limited — just ones and zeros. And plenty of them. Right? Handthrown (talk) 11:37, 16 August 2017 (UTC)