Numeric Annotation Glyphs, or NAGs for short, are tokens defined by the PGN standard to allow concise annotation of moves. They consist of a dollar sign ($) followed by a number, e.g. $1 means "good move" (like !), $22 means "white is in zugzwang", and $115 means "black has played the middlegame very poorly".

That said, I have never seen them actually being used in practice.

Question: Are NAGs actually used at all? Publications, engines, books, software, does anything or anyone out there actually make use of these today?

Clarification: I know certain software support NAGs, but that's just it: providing support, and not actually using them in practice.

2 Answers 2


Yes, ChessBase does more than just support them, it definitely uses them.

Since I got here, due to how I write notation, de instead of dxe4, for example, I used to have problems getting the FEN board here to work. Now, I have figured it out, but I still input my answer into a ChessBase board first, including annotations, and then Home>Copy Game, paste it here, edit the header information as needed, format the header as needed by this site, and remove a few extraneous spaces that the copy process adds.

There is no symbol for "$115 means "black has played the middlegame very poorly" in ChessBase, but those other common symbols are definitely in my pasted PGN.

I created this totally bogus game, but it shows what it looks like when properly formatted, and then the original PGN with NAGs. This was copied from ChessBase, and I just needed to remove spaces that appear when pasting. It is interesting that the last one, $143 did not work as did not the ones at move 4...f5 and 5. Nxf5. Maybe this PGN reader on SEC does not support all of them.

 [FEN ""]

 1. e4 $1 $14 e5 $4 2. d4 $13 exd4 $22 3. Nf3 $8 Nc6 $3 4. Nxd4 $40 f5 $44 5. Nxf5 $138 d5 $32 6. exd5 $146 Ne5 $132 7. Bb5+ $140 (7. Be2 $142) (7. Bc4 $143)
  1. e4 $1 $14 e5 $4 2. d4 $13 exd4 $22 3. Nf3 $8 Nc6 $3 4. Nxd4 $40 f5 $44 5. Nxf5 $138 d5 $32 6. exd5 $146 Ne5 $132 7. Bb5+ $140 (7. Be2 $142) (7. Bc4 $143)
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    P.S. I had obviously seen them, but I never knew what they were called until your question. Thank you. Jan 6, 2020 at 11:09

Lichess also uses them. When using the Study feature of Lichess, you can manually annotate a game with any of these symbols:

Screenshot from Lichess study page

If you then export your study or study chapter as a PGN file, it will include the annotations using NAG notation. Only the six traditional suffix annotations (!, ?, !!, ??, !?, ?!) are represented directly, without dollar signs, since PGN also supports that.

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