NOTES ON NOTATION
The General Laws of chess do not give sufficient guidance on notation for the purposes of correspondence
chess. The following notes give interpretations which are acceptable within the League.
The English initials for the pieces are: K - King, Q = Queen, B = Bishop, N = Knight, R = Rook, P = Pawn.
The most popular form of algebraic. The style adopted in Modern Chess Openings (MCO), Chess Informant
and Encyclopaedia of Chess Openings (ECO) should be followed, with English initials for the pieces.
The files are named “a” to “h”, the ranks are numbered 1 to 8, starting from White’s left-hand corner.
The board is always described from White’s point of view.
Move by piece: Give the initial of the piece, and the square it moves to; hyphen between is option,
eg. Bb5; B-b5.
Capture by piece: Give the initial of the piece, and the square it moves to; colon or “x” between is
optional, eg. Bb5; B:b5; Bxb5.
Move by pawn: Give the square it moves to, eg. h6.
Capture by pawn.: Give the file it moves from and the square it moves to; colon or :x: between is
optional, eg. cd4; c:d4; cxd4.
Avoidance of ambiguity: State the file, or the rank, from which the piece moves, eg. Nbd7; N8d7.
Promotion: Give the pawn move with the promotion piece in parentheses, eg. f:g8(Q).
Castles: O-O or O-O-O. The hyphens are desirable in handwritten moves.
Check: Use + or ch, or may be omitted altogether.
The same as abbreviated algebraic, except that the square from which the piece or pawn moves is given,
eg. Bf1-b5; e7-e5; Nh6-f5.
Starting from the player of the move’s left-hand corner, the files are named QR, QN, QB, Q, K, KB, KN,
KR. The ranks are numbered from the player of the move’s point of view. Unless there is ambiguity, the
Q and K are omitted from the R, N and B files.
Piece and pawn moves: Give the initial of the piece, or P for pawn, a hyphen and the square it goes to,
eg. B-N5; P-Q4.
Captures: Give the initial of the piece, or P for pawn, an “x”, and the initial of the captured piece,
eg. QxB; NxP.
Avoidance of ambiguity: (I) Describe fully the square moved to, eg. B-KN5; P-QR3 (ii) State in
parentheses the square moved from, eg. R(R1)-Q1 (iii) Describe fully the item captured, eg. QxKRP;
RxN(N5). Remember that in this latter case the captured piece is described from the point of view of the
player making the move. (iv) For the first move of a piece only, a prefix Q or K to show what side of the
board it came from, eg. KN-K2. But after a piece has moved, a player is not expected to remember where it
came from. (v) A pawn may be described by the file it is now on, eg. BPxP. It does not matter what file
is started on.
Promotion: Give the pawn move with the promotion piece in parentheses, eg. PxN(Q).
Castles: O-O or O-O-O.
Check: Use ch, or +, or may be omitted altogether.
Both files and ranks are numbered 1 to 8 starting from White’s left-hand corner. The board is always
described from White’s point of view. An illustration is included in the sample form of postcard
shown on the back cover. All piece or pawn moves or captures are written as a four-figure number: the
file the item moves from, the rank it moves from, the file it moves to, the rank it moves to, eg. 4554.
Examples: (I) de4; d5:e4; QPxKP; 4554 are the same black move. (ii) Qh5; Qd1-h5; Q-R5; 4185 are the
same white move.
Castles: is written as a King move, eg. 5171 or 5131 for white; 5878 or 5838 for black.
Any move consists of four figures except when queening a pawn. This is indicated by stating the square of
origin and square of destination as usual, then adding a fifth number to indicate the piece to which the
pawn is promoted, viz. 1 = Q, 2 = R, 3 = B, 4 = N. For example, 67681 is equivalent to f8=Q or P-B8(Q).
EMAIL NOTATION (PGN)
PGN (Portable Game Notation) is a chess language used for transmission of moves by Email. It uses
Algebraic notation to record the game moves, with tournament details and clerical information appended
in a standard format to enable details to be interpreted by computer programs.
SAMPLE MOVE TRANSMISSION
[Event "Australian Email Championship"]
[Site "CCLA Email"]
[Date "22 November 2000"] ß Start date
[White "Unnamed, Ursula"] ß Name of White
[Black "Nemo, Nick"] ß Name of Black
1.c4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.g3 e6 5.Nc3 dxc4 6.Bg2 b5 7.Ne5
Received: 22 March 2000
Replied: 23 March 2000
Ursula Unnamed Time: 1/26
Nick Nemo Time: 0/14
(End sample move transmission).
In the example above:
Ursula Unnamed received/retrieved Nick Nemo's move on 22 March 2000.
Ursula Unnamed replied on 23 March 2000
The 1/26 means that Ursula Unnamed used 1 day of thinking time for the
present move, and the total number of days of thinking time so far is 26
days. Thinking time for the present move is calculated from the day the
move was retrieved until the day a reply was sent.
[Previous Overseas Play]
[Next Free Advice]