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Recording and Reading Chess Games Using Two Forms of Chess Notation
The Modern Preference: Algebraic Notation
            Key Definition:
        One "half-move," i.e. what one player does when it is her or his turn to move. This distinction is important because the combinatorical explosion of positional possibilities in a position is based on plies, not moves. Each ply represents another multiplier of possibilities.

The basis of chess notation is not ply, but moves, and the moves are numbered, from 1 to the entire amount of moves in the game. There are times when a move for black is desirous of being discussed, and in this case it can be designated by something like "34..Nxe4" which indicates, that on the 34th move of the game, the player with the black pieces noved a knight (designated "N" to not be confused with "king"--also sometimes designated "Kt") and took the white piece (the "x" designates "take the piece," but is actually not strictly necessary) that had stood on the e4 square.

At right, is a diagram borrowed from the wiki page on this subject, showing how one determines the name of any square on the board. It can be determined that at the start of the game, the black king stands on the square e8, while his counterpart, if depicted, would stand on e1. Castle kingside is designated "0-0," while castle queenside is designated "0-0-0." If no piece name (either K, for king, B, for bishop, N, for knight, R, for rook, or Q, for queen, which I will note, are best capitalized) is given, then the move will designated a pawn move, such as white's first move, 1.e4. Note that capitalization of a piece name is important in the case of distinguishing a bishop move from a move of the pawn that stands on the b "file." Note that "files" are named by the letters, while "ranks" are named by the numbers. When the moves of a game are given together, the black moves are written immediately after white's, such as in the opening moves of the Ruy Lopez game, i.e. 1.e4 e5 2Nf3 Nc6 3Bb5.

An important note would be that it is customary to note the occurance of an en passant pawn capture should be noted with "e.p." after a move to avoid confusion. A potential example would be after possible moves in a French Defense Advance Variation, i.e. 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 f5 4.ef e.p. (the advanced e pawn can take the f pawn that has advanced to f5, and is placed on f6).

Another important note is to discuss ambiguous moves, most often occurring with either rooks or knights, but also once in a great while one may promote to get a second queen, or even a second bishop that stands on the same color square of another bishop. Although the late GM George Koltanowski made an amusing video discussing the possibility of gaining multiple kings, it is not clear that this is in actual accordance with chess rules. An example of avoiding ambiguity with piece moves, the possible sequence is offered in the Open Sicilian Defense, after 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cd 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5Nc3 Nbd7, where black had the additional possibility of moving the other knight, with 5..Nfd7. For more information on this subject, again please consult the algebraic wiki page.


Encountered in Classic Literature: Descriptive Notation

descriptive wiki page.