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Algebraic Chess Notation

Tool to display / translate a chess game's moves in Standard Algebraic Notation (SAN). The SAN notation allows to describe successive chess moves.

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Algebraic Chess Notation -

Tag(s) : Notation System, Board Games

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Algebraic Chess Notation

SAN Reader



Answers to Questions (FAQ)

What is SAN chess notation? (Definition)

SAN (Standard Algebraic Notation) algebraic notation is used to record chess games. It uses letters and numbers to represent the pieces and squares of the chessboard. Each move is noted with a letter symbolizing the piece played and the coordinates of the squares played: the starting square and the destination square.

The abbreviated notation SAN is content with the letter of the piece and the square of destination.

How does SAN notation work?

The 64 squares of the chessboard are marked via a 2D coordinate system: the digits of 1 to 8 (from left to right) for the columns and the lowercase letters from a to h (from below top) for the rows.

Example: The square at the bottom left is called a1, the square at the top right is called h8

Chess pieces are symbolized by a letter:

K (King)Q (Queen)
N (kNight)R (Rook)
B (Bishop)nothing or P (Pawn)

The notation of the letters varies according to the language used, it is advisable to prefer the English notation which is the one used internationally.

In addition to this notation, a cross x denotes a catch of a piece.

Example: a2-a3, abbreviated to a3, means: the pawn moves to a3

Example: a2xb3, abbreviated to xb3, means: the pawn takes the piece located in square b3 (NB: if several pawns can take in b3 then indicate the original column like axb3)

Moves are numbered in pairs (whites, blacks) and indicated one after the other.

Example: 1. e4 Cf6
2. d4 Cxe4
3. etc.

How to indicate castling?

Castling has a special notations:

0-0 (or sometimes O-O) for kingside castling

0-0-0 (or sometimes O-O-O) for queenside castling

How to indicate a promotion?

To record a move with promotion in algebraic notation, the promoted piece is notated after the move with an equals sign followed by the letter of the piece.

Example: A pawn reaches the last row of the chessboard and is promoted to a queen on the e8 square, the move is recorded as Pe8=Q

How to indicate a check move?

To record a failed move in algebraic notation, the + symbol is added to the end of the move.

Example: A queen checks the opposing king on the f7 square, the move is recorded as Qf7+.

How to indicate a checkmate move?

To record a checkmate move in SAN notation, the # (hash) symbol is added to the end of the move.

Example: A knight puts the opposing king in checkmate on the h8 square, the move is recorded as Nh8#.

Why do we use algebraic notation in chess?

Algebraic notation in chess is a standardized system that allows players, coaches, and arbiters to easily and accurately record chess games. It is used to record important games, to analyze past games, and to communicate tournament results to organizers and chess federations.

What does SAN stand for?

SAN is the acronym for Standard Algebraic Notation, the standardized version of algebraic notation, because it is the one used in official competitions by the International Chess Federation.

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