Is it possible or common practice to omit piece letters (other than P) in PGN as long as the move is unambiguous?

E.g. h1xBh8

From what I understand from http://www.saremba.de/chessgml/standards/pgn/pgn-complete.htm#c8.2.3 it is not allowed. But then again, it's unambiguous. Has anybody ever seen a PGN game doing that?

  • 1
    No, I have not.
    – limits
    Jul 28, 2015 at 20:49

1 Answer 1


It is not allowed by computer programs or by FIDE.

PGN is designed to be parsable by computer programs. Those computer programs depend on PGN files actually adhering to the specification. It would be similarly unambiguous if you numbered the ranks 9-16 instead of 1-8, but computer programs would not be able to read your game scores.

If you are not concerned about computers reading your moves and just want to save time writing on your scoresheet, you are still out of luck. The FIDE rules of chess say

C. FIDE recognises for its own tournaments and matches only one system of notation, the Algebraic System, and recommends the use of this uniform chess notation also for chess literature and periodicals. Scoresheets using a notation system other than algebraic may not be used as evidence in cases where normally the scoresheet of a player is used for that purpose. An arbiter who observes that a player is using a notation system other than the algebraic should warn the player of this requirement.


C.8 Each move of a piece is indicated by a) the abbreviation of the name of the piece in question and b) the square of arrival. There is no hyphen between a) and b). Examples: Be5, Nf3, Rd1.

  • Thanks for the hint to the FIDE rules. I am not about to invent a new notation or modify PGN. I am writing a piece of software for parsing PGN (github.com/iigorr/pgn.net). So I am absolutely aware of the fact that computer programs aren't very tolerant to inconsistencies. :) Actually that's why I have asked the question. I don't want the parser to break when a common deviation from the strict specification occurs. And they do occur: use of zeros instead of O (letter "oh") for castling (0-0) or using a different encoding than latin1. Jul 29, 2015 at 7:02

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