I'm not even sure what to call this one. I'm reading Caro-Kann Defense: Advance Variation and Gambit System by Anatoly Karpov.

In the first chapter karpov mentions a move order:

  1. e4 c6
  2. d4 d5
  3. f3

So far so good - the gambit system. Then he mentions black has a few continuations. The one that I'm not sure how to put on my board is:

  1. ...de
  2. fe e5

I've never seen the notations de and fe used before. I thought they were for captures but it's very clear karpov is using normal capture notation (with 'x') throughout the book.

How do I understand this notation?

  • 11
    de = dxe4 and fe = fxe4
    – SmallChess
    Commented Nov 6, 2017 at 2:51
  • 6
    Sounds like inconsistent editing of the book. Your thoughts are correct -- they are captures
    – Ywapom
    Commented Nov 6, 2017 at 6:38

2 Answers 2


de and fe are normal pawn captures. There is no contradiction in writing de and NxB and Nxe5. The "x" is optional.

It would be unusual and inconsistent to write 4. BxNc6 and 4. ... Nc6 in the following - 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nge7 4. BxNc6 Nc6

but if we put it in fen then it works -

[FEN ""]    
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nge7 4. BxNc6 Nc6

Note what the latest FIDE Laws of Chess say about this -

C.9 When a piece makes a capture, an x may be inserted between:

C.9.1 the abbreviation of the name of the piece in question and

C.9.2 the square of arrival. Examples: Bxe5, Nxf3, Rxd1, see also C.10.

C.9.3 When a pawn makes a capture, the file of departure must be indicated, then an x may be inserted, then the square of arrival. Examples: dxe5, gxf3, axb5. In the case of an ‘en passant’ capture, ‘e.p.’ may be appended to the notation. Example: exd6 e.p.

(Italics added for emphasis)

  • 1
    how kind of FIDE to let me use the x Commented Jan 27, 2020 at 20:03

As well as books, video presentations a lot of times presenters will say "d e" instead of saying "d takes e"

I am trying to provide you with another example of its usage...it appears rather commonly in spoken word as well as text.


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