In the following example (and similar situations you can make up), both queens can capture the knight. If for instance the queen on f5 takes the knight, this could be written as: Qfxd3 or as Q5xd3. Is there a preference/guideline/law/... for using one or the other notation in this case? I am specifically interested in notations made by humans in a normal game situation, not in PGN notation.

8/8/8/5Q2/8/3n4/4Q3/8 w - - 1 1

2 Answers 2


This would be Qfxd3.

From wikipedia (emphasis is mine):

When two (or more) identical pieces can move to the same square, the moving piece is uniquely identified by specifying the piece's letter, followed by (in descending order of preference):

  • the file of departure (if they differ); or
  • the rank of departure (if the files are the same but the ranks differ); or
  • both the file and rank (if neither alone is sufficient to identify the piece—which occurs only in rare cases where one or more pawns
    have promoted, resulting in a player having three or more identical
    pieces able to reach the same square).
  • 3
    Just found FIDE rules Laws of Chess, Appendix C (Algebraic notation), C10. You are right, though FIDE is a bit less strict and only says that Qfxd3 is preferred, but would also allow Q5xd3 or even without the capture sign, Q5d3. Commented Mar 17, 2017 at 9:58

Chess Board is divided into 1-8 ranks and a-h files .

Generally this problem arises with Rooks & Knights .

When two Queens standing on two different Squares and have one common attacking Square or same Piece then we use for convenience

Q Square number * Square number .

Here it would be either Qf5*d3 or Qe2*d3 .

Any of the 64 Squares can be represented with the File + Rank convention . Always use the initial & final square number for better representation & avoiding ambiguity .

  • +1: long algebraic notation is often mixed in to avoid ambiguity. I see it more often with pawn moves, e.g. g3 becomes g2-g3.
    – user1108
    Commented Mar 17, 2017 at 9:48

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