Two chess notations are primarily available. They are Forsyth-Edwards Notation (FEN) and Portable Game Notation (PGN). Fen is used to define a status of a chess game and PGN is used to define the entire game from beginning. FEN is explained here. Detailed explanation of pgn is given here.
Forsyth-Edwards Notation (FEN)
Fields of FEN
- Piece placement
- Active color
- Castling availability
- En passant target square
- Halfmove clock
- Fullmove number
FEN starts from the h1 square from white players perspective. Each set of blank squares are clubbed to a number which indicates the number of continuous empty squares. For example sixth rank at the initial board setup is defined as /8/ (FEN : rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1) and four empty squares followed by four pawns on second rank is defined as /4PPPP/ (FEN : r1bqkb1r/pp1pppp1/n1p2n1p/8/P1PP4/1P6/4PPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1).
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Piece identification in FEN
Each piece id identified by a letter as given below
Lower case letters are for black pieces and upper case letters are for white pieces. Each rank is separated by a backward slash /.
Example : r3k2r/ p1pppppp/ n7/ 8/ 8/ 8/ P2PPPpP/ R3K2R w KQkq - 0 5
Second field indicates who will move next. w is for white player and b is for black player.
- r1b1k2r/pp3ppp/5b2/K2p1n2/2N5/4nN2/Pp4qP/8 w kq - 8 21 - White to move next
1k1r3r/pp4pp/8/2pp1pq1/8/P7/PRP2P1P/1Q3R1K b - - 0 18 - Black to move next
King side castling is identified by the letter K for white and k for black. Queen side castling is identified by Q for white and q for black.
Possibilities of castling availability in FEN
- KQkq - Both King side and Queen side castling are possible are both white and black players
- KQk - King side and Queen side castling for white and King side castling for black
- KQq - King side and Queen side castling for white and Queen side castling for black
- KQ - Only King side and Queen side castling for white
- Kkq - King side castling for white and King side and Queen side castling for black
- Kk - Only King side castling for both white and black
- Kq - King side castling for white and Queen side castling for black
- K - Only King side castling for white
- Qkq - Queen side castling for white and King side and Queen side castling for black
- Qk - Queen side castling for white and King side castling for black
- Qq - Only Queen side castling for both white and black
- Q - Only Queen side castling for white
- kq - Only King side and Queen side castling for black
- k - Only King side castling for black
- q - Only Queen side castling for black
- - - No castling for both white and black
En passant target square
Fourth field is En passant target square and this field represent the target square in case of a possibility of an en passant capture in the next move. The target square is specified irrespective of availability of opponent piece for the en passant capture to occur. The field is represented by a symbol - if no en passant capture target square is available. For example, for the fen 1r2kr2/pp1p1pp1/2p4p/7P/P1PP4/1P6/5PP1/R3K2R b KQ - 0 20, g6 is the enpassant target square if the last move is the black pawn from g7 to g5. Latest fen is 1r2kr2/pp1p1p2/2p4p/6pP/P1PP4/1P6/5PP1/R3K2R w KQ g6 0 21 .
Fifth field represents the half move clock. The number of half moves since the last capture or pawn advance is notified in this field. When a capture occurs or a pawn advances, this field will be reset to zero. This number is also used in the draw of match based on fifty move rule
Sixth field in fen is full move number. This number is incremented by 1 after every move by the black piece.
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Table of Contents
- Chess notation
- Forsyth-Edwards Notation (FEN)