You know the rules of chess. You’re playing casual games with your pals. You get more and more interested in the game and want to learn how to develop your game.
The best way to learn chess is to learn from one’s own mistakes. The second-best way to learn is to learn from other people’s mistakes. The third best way to learn chess is to follow this blog!
But how can you learn from your games, if you don’t remember what happened in the game? For this reason, in chess there is the notation. Learning chess notation helps a player out a lot. You can write your games down for later analysis, you can follow chess literature and you can talk better about the moves. If you want to play in live tournaments, knowing how to write chess notation is a must.
Because of the notation you could argue, that chess is the most documented sport ever. In what other sport you can follow games from the last 500 years? Some of internets chess databases have 8 million games in them, and practically anyone can take any game and analyze it.
Basics of Chess Notation
Onthe lower half of a chessboard there are alphabets from A o H and on the sides there are numbers from 1 to 8. Why are they there? The answer is: because of notation.
Every square of a chessboard is named by the alphabet and the number pointing at the square. E4, h3 and b6 are examples of square names. It’s important that at the start of the game the white army is on rows 1 and 2, and the black army lays in rows 7 and 8. Otherwise the board is misplaced and the notation won’t be correct.
How do you mark the moves? The easiest way is to write the letter symbolizing the piece (N=knight, B=bishop, R=rook, Q=queen and K=king), and the square, where the piece is moving to. For example, Qb5 means that the queen is moving to the square b5. Pawns have no symbolizing letter, so pawn moves are marked only by the square the pawn moves into. For example, e4 means, hat a pawn moves to e4.
If more than one similar piece can move to a square, you’ve got to write also either the alphabet or the number relating to the square the piece was before it moved. For example, if the white rooks are at squares a1 ad f1, Rad1 means that the rook on the a-file moves to d1.
Castling short is marked by 0-0 and casling long is marked 0-0-0.
Captures are marked by a x. For example, Rxc4 means, that a rook captures a piece on c4.
Check is marked by a +. For example, Bc4+ means that bishop moves to c4 and causes a check on the opponent’s king.
Checkmate is marked by a X. For example, Qe8X means that a queen moves to e8 and checkmates the opponents king.
The result of a game is marked either 1-0 (white wins), ½-½ (a draw) or 0-1 (black wins).
Finally it has got to be mentioned, that you have to mark the number of the move before the description of the move. For example, 1. e4 e5 means that white starts the game by moving his e-pawn to e4 and black responds by moving his e-pawn to e5.
A short example game notiation would look like this:
1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nc6 3.Qh5 Nf6 4.Qxf7X
This is called the scholars mate. It’s a trap, which occurs a lot in beginner games.
Chess literature uses a lot of other symbols, but they are just to help the analysis. If you teach yourself the notation system I mentioned above, you do just fine and can mark your games down for further analysis.