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How to Read Chess Notation
If you are going to take chess to a deeper level than just playing for fun, you will have to know how to interpret and read chess notation. Chess has a common standard of documentation that we will show you how to read.

The Letters and Numbers

The board has 8 rows and 8 columns. The Rows are denoted by numbers 1-8 and the columns are denoted by letters a-h. Take a look at the board below. To find the coordinates of a certain square, just look at the column letter and row number.

chessboard
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
a b c d e f g h

Reading the Pieces

Each piece has a letter associated with it except the pawn:
K = King
Q = Queen
B = bishop
N = knight
R = rook

Reading a Move

When a piece moves, the piece letter and new position are shown. For example Nb4 would mean the knight moved to square b4. When you have two of the same pieces that can move to the same square, then an extra letter or number is placed after the letter of the piece. When a capture is made, an "x" is placed between the letter of the piece and the new position. The Queen taking a piece on square e4 would be Qxe4. See the pictures below for examples:

Example 1
chessboard
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
a b c d e f g h
This would be Rf5
Example 2
chessboard
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
a b c d e f g h
As you can see, both knights can move to the same spot and share the same row. Moving the right knight would be Nfe6 because the right knight is on the f column and moving the left knight would be Nde6.
Example 3
chessboard
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
a b c d e f g h
The same situation again but on the same column. The top knight would be written as N8e6 because it is on the 8th row and is moving to the e6 square. Correspondently, he bottom knight would be N4e6.
Example 4
chessboard
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
a b c d e f g h
Since the pawn has no letter associated with it, moving this pawn would just be d4. You may also see d2-d4.

Other Notational Marks

Castling is denoted be O-O when the king castles on the kingside and O-O-O when the king castles to the queen side.
En Passant is denoted by "e.p." (i.e. exd6)
Pawn promotion is shown with a "=" or a "/". (i.e. a4=Q or a4/Q)
A Check is denoted with a "+" so a rook checking a king could be Rh7+
Checkmate is shown with a "#" or "++" symbol. So the last move would be something like Qf8# or Qf8++
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