I know everyone will say that this is a stupid question, but I'm going to ask it anyway...

Is there a space between the move number and the move algebraic notation?

In other words, which of these is the correct notation? :

1.e4 e5 or 1. e4 e5 ?

26.Nxe4 or 26. Nxe4 ?

8...Bb4+ or 8... Bb4+ ?

I've seen both with and without the space. On Wikipedia there are spaces. But I checked in three of my books and there isn't any space in any of them.

  • 3
    I always adamantly claim that there are no stupid questions, only stupid answers. +1 Jul 2, 2014 at 7:37

2 Answers 2


As you already noted, both are used. Either style is acceptable, and engines, pgn viewers etc. will usually not have any problems with either of them. The most common is probably without the spaces though, especially with long series of moves it can be argued it improves the readability a bit by not having unnecessary extra spaces. In books the notation will probably always be without spaces if for no other reason than to conserve page space over the length of the book.


From Portable Game Notation Specification and Implementation Guide:

7: Tokens

An integer token is a sequence of one or more decimal digit characters. It is a special case of the more general "symbol" token class described below. Integer tokens are used to help represent move number indications (see below). An integer token is terminated just prior to the first non-symbol character following the integer digit sequence.

A period character (".") is a token by itself. It is used for move number indications (see below). It is self terminating.


8.2.2: Movetext move number indications

A move number indication is composed of one or more adjacent digits (an integer token) followed by zero or more periods. The integer portion of the indication gives the move number of the immediately following white move (if present) and also the immediately following black move (if present)

So you see that, by spec, any spaces after move number doesn't matter at all.

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