I was watching an episode of Sesame Street that had to do with playing chess. In a short film, there is a chess master that was going over some moves with school kids and I remember one of the kids said something like 7f Queen to 3g. This threw me off because the rank and file were reversed. I am used to hearing Qf7 to g3. Is reversing the rank and file common or is this more of an isolated incident?

  • 2
    I'd say it was something particular to that kid. I've never heard that way of speaking algebraic notation before. Perhaps fan of Star Wars he is? Commented Jul 20, 2012 at 19:50
  • @RobertKaucher - Then I wonder why the Chess master would allow it. To me that should be something that is corrected so he/she would be consistent with other players.
    – xaisoft
    Commented Jul 20, 2012 at 19:58
  • How did you know it was a chessmaster? Which episode was it? (I'm afraid I don't really know anything about Sesame Street.)
    – Daniel
    Commented Jul 20, 2012 at 20:22
  • 2
    As a parent and former teacher, there are some battles that are not worth the fight.One of my friend's kids said "fisk" until he was about 5 and when he was corrected "Honey, it's fish," he would get upset and yell, "That's what I'm saying!" Not being important to the lesson, I'd let it slide and the kid will eventually conform to what the instructor and other students are saying. Commented Jul 20, 2012 at 20:23
  • 2
    @xaisoft Yoda felt offended by your question, my guess is
    – ajax333221
    Commented Aug 25, 2012 at 22:50

1 Answer 1


It's not common (I've never heard of it), and it's certainly not an official notation. Without further information, I have no idea why the chess master would have accepted the strange notation. Perhaps he didn't think it worthwhile to argue at the time.

Edit: as Tony Ennis notes, the notation for shogi is quite similar to what you are describing.

The method used in English-language texts to express shogi moves was established by George Hodges in 1976. It is derived from the algebraic notation used for chess, but differs in several respects. It is not used in Japanese-language texts, as it is no more concise than kanji.

A typical move might be notated P-8f. The first letter represents the piece moved: P for Pawn. (There is also L lance, N knight, S silver, G gold, B bishop, R rook, K king, as above.) Promoted pieces are indicated by a + in front of the letter: +P is a tokin (promoted pawn).

[...] For example, the start of a game might look like this:

1. P-7f   2. P-3d
3. P-2f   4. G-3b
5. P-2e   6. Bx8h+
7. Sx8h   8. S-2b

Perhaps that is what the child was thinking of.

  • George Hodges sold me my first Shogi set! It was pre-internet. I had to send a check to a major bank in NY (the state in which I lived) who sent me back British Pound notes. These I mailed to George! The set is excellent.
    – Tony Ennis
    Commented Jul 21, 2012 at 0:08
  • One thing missing from the notation sample above is "*". G*3b means 'A Gold general that's in-hand parachutes onto square 3b'!
    – Tony Ennis
    Commented Jul 21, 2012 at 0:13

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.