Chess games which we find in chess databases are normally tournament games. Chess games are recorded by using chess notation. Currently algebraic chess notation is the accepted standard, and is widely used. Descriptive chess notation was used in English- and Spanish-language literature until the late 20th century, but is now obsolete.
We use here algebraic notation to present you chess games and analysis.
If you need to learn about algebraic chess notation you can do it in this Wikipedia article.
When we publish a game here, we try do give the following details about the game when possible:
- Full name of the players
- Year (when available date)
- ELO ratings of the players (when available)
- All moves
- Our analysis
- Citings of anotations of other authors
Chess game analysis is now on much higher level than several years ago. The reason is, that now everyone can use very strong chess engines to analyze the game. One problem here is that the chess engine is just producing endless variations. The chess engine is not explaining why a move is good or bad, but a human needs these explanations to understand the logic behind the moves. We try here to combine both worlds. We will explain what we think is necessary to know in plain words, but we base our analyis of course on the output of the engines. This way we prevent simple errors, but still offer human reader what they need.
We use the following chess annotation symbols:
The double question mark "??" indicates a blunder, a very bad move. Typical moves which receive double question marks are those that overlook that the queen is under attack or overlook a checkmate. Whether a single or double question mark is used often depends on the player's strength. For instance, if a beginner makes a serious strategic error (for instance, accepting pawn weaknesses or exchanging into a lost endgame) or overlooks a tactical sequence, this might be explained by the beginner's lack of skill, and be given only one question mark. If a master were to make the same move, some annotators might use the double question mark to indicate that one would never expect a player of the master's strength to make such a weak move.
A single question mark "?" after a move indicates that the annotator thinks that the move is a poor one that should not be played. However, the nature of the mistake may be more strategic than tactical; in some cases, the move receiving a question mark may be one that is difficult to find a refutation for.
?! (Dubious move)
This symbol is similar to the "!?" (below) but usually indicates that the annotator believes the move to be objectively bad, albeit hard to refute. The "?!" is also often used instead of a "?" to indicate that the move is not all bad. A sacrifice leading to a dangerous attack which the opponent should be able to defend against if he plays well may receive a "?!". Alternatively, this may denote a move that is truly bad, but sets up an attractive trap.
!? (Interesting move)
The "!?" is one of the more controversial symbols. Different books have slightly varying definitions. Among the definitions are "interesting, but perhaps not the best move", "move deserving attention", "enterprising move" and "risky move". Usually it indicates that the move leads to exciting or wild play and that the move is probably good. It is also often used when a player sets a cunning trap in a lost position. Typical moves receiving a "!?" are those involving speculative sacrifices or dangerous attacks which might turn out to be strategically deficient.
! (Good move)
While question marks indicate bad moves, exclamation points ("!") indicate good moves—especially ones which are surprising or involve particular skill. Hence annotators are usually somewhat conservative with the use of this symbol; for example, they would not annotate a game thus: 1.e4! c5! 2.Nf3! d6! 3.d4! cxd4! 4.Nxd4! Nf6! 5.Nc3! All the moves of this main-line Sicilian Defence are good ones, but the players have demonstrated little skill by simply following well-known opening theory.
Once the players start making good choices when faced with difficult decisions, however, a few moves may receive exclamation points from annotators. Typical moves receiving exclamation points are strong opening novelties, well-timed breakthroughs, sound sacrifices, and moves that avoid falling into traps.
‼ (Brilliant move)
The double exclamation point ("‼") is used to praise a move which the annotator thinks really shows the player's skill. Such moves are usually hard to find. These may include sound sacrifices of large amounts of material and moves that at first glance seem very counter-intuitive.
Position evaluation symbols
It is unclear who (if anyone) has an advantage. This is often used when a position is highly asymmetrical, such as Black having a ruined pawn structure but dangerous active piece-play.
=/∞: With compensation
This symbol indicates that whoever is down in material has compensation for the material.
=: Even position
This symbol indicates that the annotator believes that White and Black have equal chances.
+/= (=/+): Slight advantage
This symbol indicates that White (Black) has slightly better chances.
+/− (−/+): Advantage
This symbol indicates that White (Black) has much better chances. It is often written as ± for White advantage, ∓ for Black advantage; the other similar symbols can be written in that style too.
+− (−+): Decisive advantage
This symbol indicates that White (Black) has a winning advantage.
Some annotators put together even more question marks and exclamation points. For example "???" or "????" might indicate a truly ghastly move, too horrid to give a mere "??", for example, 1.f3? e5 2.g4??? Qh4# (Fool's Mate); an extraordinarily brilliant move might receive "!!!" or even "!!!!"; and a fascinating but probably unsound move might receive "?!?" or "!?!". However, use of such symbols is not common.
There are some other symbols used in multilingual publications such as the Chess Informant and Encyclopaedia of Chess Openings. These include:
○: Indicates more territory (space) owned by one player.
Time or initiative
↑: Indicates an advantage in initiative.
↑↑: Indicates a lead in development. Also written ↻.
⇄: Indicates that the player has counterplay.
∇: Indicates the opponent's plan this defends against.
Δ: Indicates the future plan this move supports.
Last Updated on Saturday, 20 October 2012 00:40