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How do I write down the moves?

The short answer:
Write down the piece that moves, and then the name of the square it lands on.

Names of the Pieces

You know the six piece names already. But instead of writing down the full name, use the single letter abbreviation:

  • K = King
  • Q = Queen
  • R = Rook
  • B = Bishop
  • N = Knight (since the King is letter K already)
  • P = Pawn (if you don't write the piece, and just the square it lands on, we assume it's a pawn move)

Names of the Squares

The columns (files) are lettered from left to right, a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h.
The rows (ranks) are numbered from 1 to 8, from the closest to White to the farthest away from White.

So the White King starts the game on e1.
The Black King starts the game on e8.
The White Queen starts the game on d1.
The Black Queen starts the game on d8.

Always use capital letters for the piece abbreviations, and lower-case letters for the squares.
Remember to write down the moves for both players. Usually scoresheets are provided, and they have a column for White's moves, and a column for Black's.

If you castle on the King's side of the board ("castling short"), it's written O-O.
If you castle on the Queen's side of the board ("castling long"), it's written O-O-O.

If you capture a piece, you can use x to show it.

Sample Games

Okay, here's a few game beginnings to help you get a feel for it.

   WHITE      BLACK 
1. Pe4        Pe5 
2. Nf3        Nc6 
3. Bb5        Pa6 
4. Bxc6       dPxc6 

Or, we can leave out the P for Pawn, like the magazines do:

   WHITE      BLACK 
1. e4         e5 
2. Nf3        Nc6 
3. Bb5        a6 
4. Bxc6       dxc6

Here's one form of the infamous Scholar's Mate:

   WHITE      BLACK 
1. e4         e5 
2. Qh5        Nc6 
3. Bc4        Nf6 
4. Qxf7 mate  

And here's the shortest possible checkmate:

   WHITE      BLACK 
1. f3         e5 
2. g4         Qh4 mate

Review chess notation by watching a game unfold.
Click on the buttons below the diagram to walk through the game.

Sample Scoresheet
Here's a sample scoresheet, from a match between two of the best chessplayers in Idaho.

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