Chess ABC

Notation System

Notation by Coordinates or Algebraic System (numbers and letters)

Like in the game “Battleship”, all the squares have their Coordinates to identify them.

Coordinates of the Board

In order to recognize the different squares of a Board, a letter is given to each File beginning from the left with the letter “a” on the left hand side of the player who has white pieces. Each Row is numbered beginning with 1 from the Row nearest to the player with the white pieces

Each Piece is named after its initial letter, except the Knight. “K” is used for the King. So the knight uses “N”, its second letter
The KingK
The QueenQ
The RookR
The BishopB
The KnightN
The PawnP


Pawn: In the case of a Pawn it is not necessary to write the initial P or to insert the symbol .

Diagram shows a Pawn that has advanced through the ¨e¨ file.

This move is written:
1.e4 or 1.e2-e4

This last notation also mentions the piece’s square of origin.

A move

White wishes to place his Queen on the square marked “h7”

White has moved his
and has to write his move down
1. Qh7 or 1. h7

In order to ¨ identify ¨ the move made, this System uses the following formula

of the Piece movedof the fileof the row
Dama o h7

For instance 1. Qh7 or 1. h7 means that the has been moved to the Seventh Row of the “h” File.

A Promotion

White can move his Pawn to the eighth rank.

If White promotes the “g” Pawn and chooses a Queen, the move would be

1. e8= Q+ or 1. e8= +

A Capture

If White captures the Ra8 with the Be4 the move would be

1. Bxa8 or 1. xa8

Possibility of Capturing with two Identical Pieces

In this case, the piece that really moves has to be identified in the following order

I. The File is Mentioned

If we capture on e4, we have to write gxe4 or cxe4 as may correspond.

1st. Case: gxe42nd Case: 1. cxe4
II. The Row is Mentioned

If we capture on e4 the move would be: 1xe4 or 7xe4, as may correspond

1st. Case: 1xe42nd Case: 1. 7xe4

The “x” sign is sometimes omitted in the captures in the Algebraic System because it is implicit.


This is the Official Notation. It is used to record information of the progress of a game, but there is also a lot of chess literature written in another system, called Descriptive Notation. This system is seen in old teaching books or in books about old tournaments.