Wednesday, December 07, 2022 09:39

Posts Tagged ‘Notation’

The Horror…. The Horror…

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

A very fitting title for a game played on Halloween Day.

I’m continuing the same game referred to in yesterday’s post, against a first time visitor to our club.

On move ten of that game, we achieved the following position:
Halloween game after 10. Nxe5
The first capture of the game just occurred (10. Nxe5.) I deliberately threw my Bishop to e5, hoping White would take. My plan was then 10. …Ngxe5, which I played. The Knight is protected by the other Knight, I’ve gotten what I think is an equal exchange off in a more-or-less equal position. I threaten to exchange that Knight for the c4 Bishop, and at the moment I block his dark square Bishop from coming down my throat – I’m fairly worried about both his Bishops. And it troubles me that my light Bishop hasn’t gotten off c8 yet.

I more-or-less expected that White could trade the c4 Bishop for that Knight.

Here comes the horror…

I wrote down the next move as 11. Qg5. Now, if you look at the board position above, you should be able to see that White can’t play that move. What White can do with the Queen is move either 11. Qg4, or 11. Qh5.

As I was loading this game into my database from the handwritten notation, I moved the Queen to g4. That would produce this board:


Right after I loaded that move (Qg4,) my jaw dropped in horror. My opponent put his Queen undefended and right where I could take it (called placing a piece en prise), and my next move completely missed that??? This was the “original horror” that I referred to in yesterday’s post.

But the real horror turned out to be mistaken notation. You probably can see that the other move (Qh5) is natural for White, and my d6 move makes sense as defending against that move:
Actual game, after 11. Qh5 d6
The actual moves, as shown above, were 11. Qh5 d6.

The actual points to take away from this are:

* Be careful when taking your notation; anyone can write down the wrong square or piece in the heat of a game.
* When replaying the game, entering into a database, or analyzing with a coach – be alert to the idea that you could have written moves down wrong.
* Not only illegal moves, but also ambigous moves can occur in your notation. (Especially when both Rooks or both Knights can move to the same square.)
* Even when this happens it is often possible to reconstruct what actually happened.

And an omnibus, not yet mentioned…

* If you wish to improve your chess… Learn how to take notation of your games and then record them. There are so many things you can learn from going over your previous games. Too many things to list here! Also, if you want to learn from books, workbooks, blogs, whatever: You must know how notation works.

Honestly, if you can learn how the pieces move you can learn notation. In fact, I found it easier to learn notation than how the pieces moved. If you find it the same, I’d appreciate hearing from you!

Never known notation before, and want to learn? Try going here. I’d refer to Wikipedia, but Wikipedia’s article on algebraic notation (while nice,) has too many elements that would confuse a novice.

Edit to add: On November 29th I added my own class in learning how to write and read notation. It will be available on November 29th – Look at the “Pages” banner on the right.