Whitcomb Chess Castle

Modern Algebraic Chess Notation

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In the original long-version of *modern chess notation, (called *algebraic notation) there were two parts. (In the short notation, two parts are only sometimes required.) The first part is where the moved piece or pawn came from; the second part is where it is going. For example, at the beginning of a game, to write down that white’s first move was to move the pawn in front of his king two spaces forward, you would record “e2-e4.” To record the white pawn on the far right (in front of the rook on the right of the board for white) moved forward only one space, you would write “h2-h3.”

 

When using the long algebraic notation, that’s all you need to do: record what was moved by first writing where the piece or pawn was before it moved, then record where it was after it moved. The only thing unusual with that system is recording castling: record the movement of the king, not the rook used to castle. There are only two ways for white to castle the king: e1-g1 and e1-c1.

 

Unfortunately, this precise way of recording chess moves, though ideal for computers, is a bit difficult to read for humans—at least compared with short notation. In this system of recording moves, a pawn advance is written without reference to where the pawn came from; that’s because there is only place an advancing pawn could have come from. In other words, “e2-e4” is just “e4.” When something other than a pawn is moved, the short notation does not usually list where it came from; instead, a code for the type of piece is used. For example, if white’s first move is (using the long notation) “g1-f3,” the abbreviation is “Nf3.” Of course the word “knight” does not begin with an “N” but it’s easy to read. The bishop is “B” the rook, “R” and you can guess “Q” and “K.”

 

Capturing is different. If a white pawn at e4 captures a black pawn at d5 we would record it as “e4xd5.” The “x” means there is a capture. For an en passant capture, include “e.p.”

 

Castling notation is the same in old (descriptive) notation and in the algebraic. Castling short (on the “king’s side”) is “O-O,” while “queen-side castling” is written “O-O-O.” [Of course, in either kind of castling, the king moves two spaces; but with long castling (O-O-O), the rook moves farther.]

 

The older descriptive chess notation, was replaced by the algebraic late in the 20th Century, although some countries had begun using algebraic earlier.

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