When a capture can be made by two rooks, or two knights, etc., how does the notation clarify which piece makes the capture?

For example, if two pawns, one at e4 and one at c4, capture a pawn at d3, the notation will say exd3 or cxd3, sure. But if two knights capture the same piece, how is that notated? Or for two rooks, or queens? In the case of the knight, it would only say Nxd3, but that doesn't clarify which knight took the piece.

  • 1
    In case of doubt, one can always fall back to the "long" notation, e.g. Nf2xd3 or Rd1xd3. But I guess that is not exactly what you are looking for.
    – Annatar
    Mar 20, 2018 at 10:01
  • By the way, you should replace the word "attack" with "capture" in your first sentence. "Attack" in chess generally only means the threat to take a piece, not the actual act of doing so.
    – Annatar
    Mar 20, 2018 at 10:02

2 Answers 2


Your two knights are on d2 and f2.

Ndxe4, Nfxe4,

Your two knights are on f2 and f6.

N2xe4, N6xe4

Your three knights are on d2, f2 and f6 (you promoted a pawn)

Ndxe4, Nf2xe4, N6xe4
  • 13
    And it's not specific to capturing, a normal move in that situation would be Nde4 or Nfe4, N2e4 or N6e4. Mar 20, 2018 at 10:21
  • 3
    This is laid down in the FIDE laws of chess, appendix C.10, where it also states that if you have a choice between specifying ranks or files specifying the starting file (letter) is preferred to specifying the starting rank (number). Mar 20, 2018 at 14:55
  • 2
    In the somewhat artificial situation that you have four pieces with any pair of pieces on the same rank or file (e.g. knights on d2, f2, d6, f6), I'd specify the starting square explicitly, e.g.:Nd2xe4 Mar 20, 2018 at 14:59
  • 2
    Four knights. Wild game. Mar 20, 2018 at 14:59
  • 3
    Right, but 4 knights? That takes balls Mar 20, 2018 at 20:19

Assume you have Knights on e5 and c5. If Nc5 captured on d3, you would write:


If Ne5 captured on d3:


The key is using the column letter to distinguish pieces.

If the pieces are on the same column, such as Knights on e4 and e6, then you would distinguish via their row numbers. Example:

If Ne4 captured on g5, you would write:

  1. N4xg5

If Ne6 captured on g5, you would write:

  1. N6xg5

If you have the choice of distinguishing between column letter and row number, choose column letter. This isn't required by any means, but it tends to be the convention. Example -- Rooks on e6 and g4.

If Re6 captured on g6, you should write:

  1. Rexg6 (not R6xg6).
  • 1
    If you've promoted and have three of a particular piece, you might not be able to use either row or column to disambiguate. For example, with knights on d2, f2 and f6, you'd have to write Nf2xe4 if capturing with that piece. Mar 20, 2018 at 20:11
  • @David Richerby Yeah that's true, never thought of a case like that before. Mar 21, 2018 at 1:19

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