chess opening

Chess Opening

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novacane 33 ( +1 | -1 )
Old notation Recently I bought a couple of old chess books from a used book store, and I can't understand the old notation that's used in them! Does anybody know any web pages that explain how to read it? I'm surprised that it took so long for chess players to come up with the algebraic notation that is used now.
drgandalf 58 ( +1 | -1 )
Algebraic v Descriptive It is my understanding that algebraic notation was first introduced in the late 1700s. Philidor, the finest player of his age, however, wrote in a descriptive manner. Because of his high status, chessplayers adopted his approach, rather than alegraic. After about 50 years, algebraic caught on throughout the worls, EXCEPT in the English and Spanish speaking countries, which chose to retain the descriptive notation.

I do not know when the Spanish speaking world changed, but English speaking countries changed in the early 1980s. Now, the whole world uses algebraic notation.
drgandalf 110 ( +1 | -1 )
Descriptive Notation While algebraic notation assumes a fixed perspective, with a coordinate-style format, descriptive notation assumes the perspective of the individual player.

So, 1)e4 e5, being pawns moves to fixed coordinates on the board, in descriptive these moves are 1)P-K4 P-K4. From White's perspective, White moves his pawn to the King's file to the fourth row. From Black's perspective, Black moves his pawn also to the King's file to Black's fourth row.

Algebraic notation uses ranks, while descriptive uses rows.

2)Nf3 Nc6 would translate into Kt-KB3, kt standing for knight, and Kt-QB3, where the KB file is the king's bishop file, and QB is the queen's bishop file.

3)Nxe5 Nxe5 would translate into KtxP KtxKt. Here descriptive notation doesn't concern itself about anything other than the captures.

I hope this helps in understanding descriptive notation.

Do not get discouraged with books written in descriptive. Some of the very best English language chess books are still in descriptive, although many are being translated into algebraic.