I want to learn Chess systematically from the beginning. Although, I have 700+ Elo on chess.com but I think, it is just a random play: sometimes luck and sometimes 4 moves checkmate (Bishop and Queen) helps or sometimes opponent is naïve than me or opponent resigns without playing and I get points.

Recently, I was reading Pawn Structure Chess by Andrew Soltis (and then planning to read Jeremy Silman - How to Reassess Your Chess) as I thought pawns are important part and their movement should be done with conscious choice and not treat them as useless chess pieces.

But I can't understand all notation while following Andrew Soltis' book:

I e4 e5
2 Nf3 Nc6 -> What does N mean?
3 Bb5 a6
4 Ba4 Nf6
5 o..o Be7 -> what is o..o?
6 Rel b5
7 Bb3 d6
8 c3 o..o
9 h3 Bb7 10 d4 Re8
11 Nbd2 Bf8
12 a4 h6
13 Bc2 exd4 what is x in exd4? 14 cxd4 Nb4
15 Bbl bxa4
16 Rxa4 a5
17 Ra3 Ra6 what is a in Ra3 and Ra6?
18 Nh2 g6

  • 1
    if you search on youtube you will get a bunch of videos. If there is any youtuber you prefer watching chances are they will have a video on this topic
    – cmgchess
    Oct 24, 2021 at 11:31
  • 2
    N stands for "kNight". 0-0 is short castling. The Wikipedia article on algebraic notation should be good enough I think. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algebraic_notation_(chess)
    – David
    Oct 24, 2021 at 18:16
  • N means Knight. 0-0 short castling, 0-0-0 long castling. x means capture, + means check, ++ double check, # means mate, ! - brilliant move, ? - mistake, ?! - dubious move, !? - interesting move, +- White is winning, -+ Black is winning, ± White stands better, ∓ Black stands better, ⩲ White is very slightly better, ⩱ Black is very slightly better. Pawns structures, specific openings, etc. are not the best topic for beginners. There was a question posted here about beginner needing to study openings - it should help you. Books for beginners/casual players explain terminology and notation.
    – user32756
    Jul 23 at 23:12

3 Answers 3


You could start just with the wikipedia page here for example: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algebraic_notation_(chess)

Also there were (at least - could be more) two lessons on the notation on chess.com as you mentioned that page. One is in the guide in the section "Playing the game" and called "The language of chess". Then there is in the section "Reading the board" the course "Advanced Chess notation".


Which is the best resource to learn chess notation?

The best resource which is also free is Appendix C of the FIDE Laws of Chess.

  • 2
    Good resource but maybe a little formal for a beginner.
    – qwr
    Jul 25 at 23:39

Here is a short and interactive tutorial. It covers the basics and shows a few examples. I am the author of the tutorial.


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