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  1. 18 Nov '10 03:59
    Growing up, I only had one chess opponent for the most part. My best friend and I would spend hours on the phone three or four times a week during the eight grade playing chess. To say we were well-versed in chess notation would be an understatement (although we did have an occasional conversation along the lines of "What do you mean? You don't have a bishop there!" )

    Between figuring out how to drive, date, and taking on the rigors of high school, we left the phone chess behind us. Now, many years later I'm picking the game back up again and reading a lot more about the game. The thing is, the chess notation we used was descriptive chess notation, which seems to have fallen by the wayside to make room for this algebraic system. In fact, Wikipedia goes so far to say that descriptive notation is obsolete!

    I find this interesting as I personally feel like descriptive notation, while maybe slightly less compact, is much easier to read and decipher. Am I the only one in that boat? I'm hoping as I play more games, I won't have to go through the alphabet in my head while trying to find the g-file.

    Long story short, I'm glad I'm back in the game.
  2. 18 Nov '10 06:47
    Other archeologists are in the same boat as you and enjoy attempting to decipher ancients hyroglyphs.
  3. 18 Nov '10 12:47
    Originally posted by davealt
    Growing up, I only had one chess opponent for the most part. My best friend and I would spend hours on the phone three or four times a week during the eight grade playing chess. To say we were well-versed in chess notation would be an understatement (although we did have an occasional conversation along the lines of "What do you mean? You don't have a bis ...[text shortened]... ead while trying to find the g-file.

    Long story short, I'm glad I'm back in the game.
    You'll get used to algebraic notation soon enough. Way superior to descriptive IMHO. Lowers chances of ambiguity or, as you say, "you don't have a bishop on said sq" type moments. Biggest difference is every single square has a name and avoids confusion. Also easier to follow opening theory than with descriptive notation.
  4. 18 Nov '10 12:56 / 1 edit
    Despite being a relative youngblood, I've learned both just so I can snatch up used old descriptive books for cheap.

    In my experience, descriptive is usable, but it really involves some gymnastics. Example: "QKt-Qkt8disch"

    You won't regret learning algebraic. It's like going from Roman numerals to Arabic numerals. Even if you've already learned to think in descriptive, I think you'll eventually never want to go back. Plus, learning a new notation could be a real plateau-buster in your training!
  5. Standard member thesonofsaul
    King of the Ashes
    18 Nov '10 14:00
    I , too, grew up with the descriptive notation, and while I like it artistically, I'm glad I do not feel obliged to use it OTB. Way too many paths to confusion. For example: after castling queenside, your king is behind a protective pawn, but that pawn is still called the "Queen's Bishop Pawn." How easy to say "King's Bishop Pawn" by mistake!

    All that aside, though, I don't think there is a rule as to what system you use OTB, as long as it makes sense and is accurate. I've seen some interesting hybrid systems, and sometimes I'll take shortcuts like QxB or PxP.
  6. 18 Nov '10 15:21
    One thing to consider is no new books, that I know of, are being printed in descriptive, only algebraic. Many old classics ARE being ported over to algebraic (see "My System" for a great example). After a few years of algebraic, I find my old descriptive chess books nearly unreadable and useless.
  7. 18 Nov '10 17:44
    Interesting thoughts, thanks. I'm still new to algebraic, so I'm sure I'll catch on soon.
  8. Standard member ChessPraxis
    Cowboy From Hell
    18 Nov '10 19:55
    Does one have to use a known form of notation whilst playing in regulation OTB chess?
    If not, then an unscrupulous player could be feigning a game score, but in fact just taking some sort of cryptic notes.
    Any ideas?
  9. Standard member randolph
    the walrus
    18 Nov '10 20:25
    Originally posted by ChessPraxis
    Does one have to use a known form of notation whilst playing in regulation OTB chess?
    If not, then an unscrupulous player could be feigning a game score, but in fact just taking some sort of cryptic notes.
    Any ideas?
    You have to be able to reproduce the game from your notes.
  10. 18 Nov '10 20:26
    yes, algebraic has to be used OTB
  11. 18 Nov '10 21:55 / 1 edit
    I along with all my generation started out with descriptive and am happy
    playing over games in either format.

    However writing about the game is far easy in algebraic and from
    a printing point of view it is less expensive.

    Example.

    A Ruy Lopez.

    1.e4 e5
    2.Nf3 Nc6
    3.Bb5

    Less than 10 seconds.

    1. P-K4 P-K4
    2. N-KB3 N-QB3
    3. B-QN5

    just over 20 seconds.

    And a note.

    The square c6 is weak.

    or this.

    Black's Queen's Bishop 3rd square is weak.

    Also knowing algrbraic allows you, after a few minutes, to play over games
    from Russia or any other countries magazine.
    A lot use figurine notation which is totally universal.

    Don't know about the Chinese. I have mags from practically every country
    in the world but none from China.

    (I suppose the trouble with reading a Chinese Chess magazine is....
    30 minutes after you have read it, you want to read another)

    The rules state you must record in algebraic though I know
    players who still record in descriptive and have not been puled up.
  12. 18 Nov '10 22:55
    I used English Descriptive until I stopped playing tournament chess in 1977. I'm fluent in either now, but I do still catch myself saying "The Queen's Knight Pawn" instead of "the b-pawn".

    The main advantage of Algebraic is that each square has only one name, whereas each square has two names in English Descriptive: one each for White and Black.
  13. 19 Nov '10 02:12
    Originally posted by greenerpawn
    yes, algebraic has to be used OTB
    Not in the USA. USCF Rule 15A: "Algebraic notation is standard, but descriptive or computer notation is permitted."
  14. Standard member ChessPraxis
    Cowboy From Hell
    19 Nov '10 05:07
    Originally posted by Mad Rook
    Not in the USA. USCF Rule 15A: "Algebraic notation is standard, but descriptive or computer notation is permitted."
    Thanks Mad, GP, and Randy for your answers.
  15. 19 Nov '10 05:52
    Originally posted by Mad Rook
    Not in the USA. USCF Rule 15A: "Algebraic notation is standard, but descriptive or computer notation is permitted."
    Going off memory here, but I think USCF rules also state that if you do use descriptive notation then you cannot use your score sheet as evidence if some sort of dispute should arise about an illegal move or something.