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I have a PGN file with the following move in it:

  1. fxe5 bxa1=Q

I understand the equals sign represents a draw offer, but what does "=Q" mean?

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up vote 23 down vote accepted

I would read it as "Pawn takes something on a1 and promotes to a Queen".

Strictly according to the Laws of Chess the = sign should not be there (see article C.11).

C.11
In the case of the promotion of a pawn, the actual pawn move is indicated, followed immediately by the abbreviation of the new piece. Examples: d8Q, exf8N, b1B, g1R.

However this is a PGN file, which has its own rules for game notation and it uses the = sign for pawn promotion (see paragraph 3 of article 8.2.3.3 in the PGN standard specification also available here, which should probably be the official reference).

[...]. Pawn promotions are denoted by the equal sign "=" immediately following the destination square with a promoted piece letter (indicating one of knight, bishop, rook, or queen) immediately following the equal sign. As above, the piece letter is in uppercase.

Draw data is handled in so-called EPD records for describing chess positions, using verbose opcodes like draw_offer. Although it isn't included in PGN proper, specifics are included in articles 16.2.5.8 - 16.2.5.11 of the standard.

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it meant a pawn on b captured something on a1 and promoted to a queen

this is normal notation

why they want = to be on the end of a score sheet for a tie is ridiculous

1/2 - 1/2 always worked well to denote a tie

and =x has been used for promoting to piece x for the 67 years i have played chess

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This post adds nothing useful to an already given answer. I suggest that you delete it. – jknappen Feb 5 at 8:17

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