Chess Notation Symbols

Published on Tuesday, November 3, 2009 in |

There are a lot of chess annotation symbols, but they are certainly not all that important. We already have seen the 1-0, 0-1 and 1/2-1/2 indications at the end of the game. Sometimes an asterisk (*) is used to indicate that the game isn't finished.

This post focusses on the chess symbols that are added at the end of a move. An overview of these symbols can be found in the following table. I distinguish the symbols that have to be used in the algebraic chess notation to indicate the move itself and the symbols that are used to indicate the quality of the move or to indicate an evaluation of the current position.

To indicate the move itself
Symbol Meaning
# Checkmate
+ Check
++ Double check. Sometimes this symbol is used to indicate checkmate, but most of the time it is used to indicate that two pieces are checkmating the king at the same time.
To indicate the quality of the move
! A good move, not trivial.
!! An excellent move, even more difficult to see.
? A bad move
?? A blunder, a very bad move
!? An interesting move, probably it will be good
?! A dubious move, probably very risky
To indicate the current position
+= Evaluating the position as a small advantage for White. White stands slightly better
=+ A small advantage for Black
+/- A clear advantage for White
-/+ A clear advantage for Black
+- A winning advantage for White
-+ A winning advantage for Black
? Unclear

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