Colorado Springs Chess News

The Knights Are Better Here!


Algebraic Notation

Posted by Paul Anderson on June 30, 2015 at 4:55 PM

 Game Of The Week

This week's game comes from a couple of newcomers to tournament chess in their first rated event:  The June Mating Game.

Playing in a chess tournament can be intimidating.  Not only do you have to know the rules of chess, but also you have to understand the rules of tournaments.  These rules include using a clock and keeping score correctly.  Both of these requirements may be totally foreign to someone playing in their first event.

Even experienced players can have a hard time with keeping an accurate score sheet.  Now that I collect and try to recreate chess games from players' score sheets, I see all the mistakes players make.

It is not that surprising that most score sheets contain errors, as recording a chess game is similar to learning a new language.  The language of chess is called Algebraic Notation.  It is a shorthand system to quickly record what piece moved to which square when.  It is not difficult to learn, but most players just pick it up on the fly, which means they can miss some of the details.

Here is a quick lesson on Algebraic Notation:

  • Each move is numbered = 1. (Score sheets are pre-numbered.  So, you don't have to record numbers.  Even chess programs seem to work without numbers.)
  • Each move contains two groups of characters = 1. d4 c6 (The first group is what White did on move 1 and the second group is what Black did on move 1.)
  • Each character group ends with a letter and number to indicate to which square the piece was moved = 1. d (which file) + 4 (which rank) (The files on a chess board are labelled a, b, c, d, e, f, g, and h.  The ranks on a chess board are labelled 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8.)
  • A group with only 2 characters is a Pawn move = 1. d4 (Pawn to d4) c6 (Pawn to c6) (Each Pawn starts on its own file and no two Pawns can move to the same square on the same move.)
  • A group with a capital letter is a Piece move = 2. Nf3 (Knight to f3) d5 (Pawn to d5) (Each Piece is designated by a different capital letter: K = King, R = Rook, B = Bishop, N = Knight, Q = Queen)
  • A group with an "x" is a capture = 4. c4 (Pawn to c4) dxc4 (Pawn from d captures on c4) (Since two Pawns can capture on the same square on the same move, an extra letter is used to indicate from which file the Pawn captured.)
  • A group with a "+" at the end is check = 28. h4 (Pawn to h4) Nf3+ (Knight to f3 with check)
  • Rooks and Knights sometimes require an extra letter to indicate what Piece moved = 6. Nc3 (Knight to c3, only one Knight could go to c3) Ngf6 (Knight from the g file to f6, both Knights could go to f6)
  • Castling is a special move and has a special notation = 9. O-O (castles Kingside) b5 (Pawn to b5) (The special notation for Queenside castle is O-O-O.)

Now, I am sure you understand why most score sheets contain errors.  It ain't easy keeping all that straight with the pressure of a chess game.  Also, don't forget your clock is ticking.  It is no wonder why blunders happen.  Here is an example where Clark walked into a tactic.

Black to move

See the diagram and answer here:

Algebraic Notation


[Event "June Mating Game"]

[Site ""]

[Date "2015.06.16"]

[Round "3.5"]

[White "Stroh, Clark"]

[Black "Williams, Scott"]

[Result "0-1"]

[ECO "D02"]

[WhiteElo "1178"]

[BlackElo "1338"]

[PlyCount "94"]

[EventDate "2015.06.09"]

[TimeControl "1800"]


1. d4 c6 2. Nf3 d5 3. Bf4 Nd7 4. c4 dxc4 5. e3 h6

6. Nc3 Ngf6 7. h3 e6 8. Bxc4 Bb4 9. O-O b5 10. Bb3 Bxc3 11. bxc3 Ne4 12. Qc2

Ng5 13. Qe2 Ba6 14. Rad1 Nxf3+ 15. Qxf3 b4 16. Rfe1 bxc3 17. Bd6 Nf6 18. Bb4

Rb8 19. Bxc3 O-O 20. e4 Re8 21. e5 Nd5 22. Bb2 Qg5 23. Bc1 Qf5 24. Qg3 Qg6 25.

Qh2 Nc3 26. Rd2 Ne4 27. Rb2 Ng5 28. h4 Nf3+ 29. Kh1 Nxh2 30. Kxh2 Qg4 31. Re3

Bf1 32. Rg3 Qxd4 33. Kg1 Ba6 34. Rd2 Qxe5 35. Rd1 Rb4 36. Rh3 Re4 37. Be3 Be2

38. Rc1 Bg4 39. Rg3 Rd8 40. Re1 Qh5 41. Bc2 Rc4 42. Bb3 Rd3 43. Bxc4 Rd8 44.

Bg5 hxg5 45. hxg5 Qxg5 46. Re4 Qc1+ 47. Bf1 Rd1 0-1


This Week In Chess

On June 23rd, the Colorado Springs Chess Club hosted the City Speed Chess Championship (2RR, G/5; d/0, $10 entry). 10 players battled on 5 boards this evening to qualify for the Championship section.  The top six players move on while the rest of the players remain in a Consolation section.

Here are the results:

Standings. 2015 City Speed Championship

# Name ID Rtng Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Rd 7 Rd 8 Rd 9 Tot Prize

1 Josh S Bloomer 12626102 2255 W2 W6 W10 W5 W9 W8 W3 W7 W4 9.0 $6.00 1st

2 Daniel Herman 14345456 1866 L1 W5 W9 W8 W3 W7 W4 W10 W6 8.0 $5.00 2nd

3 Paul Dou Anderson 12728345 2062 W8 W10 W7 W4 L2 W6 L1 W5 W9 7.0 $4.00 3rd

4 Earle P Wikle 12126030 1981 W5 W9 L8 L3 W7 W10 L2 W6 L1 5.0

5 Brian Jo Rountree 12477167 1841 L4 L2 W6 L1 W10 W9 W8 L3 W7 5.0

6 Sara Herman 14345441 1602 W10 L1 L5 W9 W8 L3 W7 L4 L2 4.0

7 Jeffrey Rando Fox 12641996 1976 W9 W8 L3 W10 L4 L2 L6 L1 L5 3.0

8 Michael St Filppu 12915820 1706 L3 L7 W4 L2 L6 L1 L5 L9 W10 2.0

9 Shirley Herman unr. L7 L4 L2 L6 L1 L5 W10 W8 L3 2.0

10 Scott Williams unr. L6 L3 L1 L7 L5 L4 L9 L2 L8 0.0

Categories: 2015

Post a Comment


Oops, you forgot something.


The words you entered did not match the given text. Please try again.

You must be a member to comment on this page. Sign In or Register