The Forsyth Notation

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The Forsyth Notation allows us to record where the chess pieces are on the board in a quick and easy way.

Look at this position:

In Forsyth notation this position would be recorded as:


The pieces are represented by their letter symbols (For example, Q = Queen, R = Rook etc.). The letter symbols for Black are written in lower case and for White they are written in capitals. Empty squares are represented by a number. For example, 1 means there is one empty square, 2 means there are two empty squares and so on.

The position is recorded rank by rank starting with the eight rank (a8) and the ranks are seperated by a "/".

Thus r1bq1rk1/ means on a8 there is a Black Rook, then an empty square (b8), a Black Bishop (c8), a Black Queen (d8), an empty square (e8), a Black Rook, (f8), a Black King (g8) and an empty square (h8). See diagram below.


3n4/ means on row 6 there are three empty squares, then a Black Knight, and 4 empty squares as shown in the diagram below.

If a whole row contains empty squares like this:

it is recorded as 8/

The position on the right would be written:





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