Algebraic notation and PGN format

Any IECG member should master these techniques as they are mandatory as per our rules to exchange moves with your opponents and report the game to the tournament secretary.

About algebraic notation

Algebraic chess notation is used to record and describe the moves in a game of chess. It is now standard among all chess organizations and most books, magazines, and newspapers.
The official text describing this notation can be found in the FIDE Laws of Chess - Appendice E.
The principles of this notation is well explained in this Wikipedia article.
IECG rules require the usage of the English notation (in which the pieces are identified by : K for king, Q for queen, R for rook, B for bishop and N for knight).

About the PGN standard format

Portable Game Notation (PGN) is a computer-processible format for recording chess games (both the moves and related data); many chess programs recognize this extremely popular format due to its accessibility by ordinary ASCII editors, including word processors capable of importing and exporting plain ASCII. It is of course particularly well suited for e-mail chess.
PGN is based on the English algebraic notation, with additional header tags placed between brackets. Your can find here an very detailed article about this standard.

IECG requirements for PGN

Sample PGN record as required by IECG

When a game has been completed, the winning player, or white in the case of a draw, must report the result -- including the PGN-format moves record. This should be sent to your Tournament Secretary (TS) in standard PGN format as follows:

(the correct tournament number is in the pairing chart)
[Event "CA-2008-0-00195"]
[Site "IECG"]
(starting date of the tournament as indicated on the pairing chart)
[Date "2008.08.15"]
(round number: 1 for single round robin, 1 or 2 for double round robin)
[Round "1"]
(last and first names of white player)
[White "Boni, Roberto"]
(last and first names of black player)
[Black "McShane, Mike"]
(1-0, 0-1 or 1/2-1/2)
[Result "0-1"]

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 c5 4. exd5 exd5 5. Ngf3 Nc6 6. Bb5 Bd6
7. O-O cxd4 8. Nb3 Nge7 9. Bxc6+ Nxc6 10. Nbxd4 O-O 11. Re1 Bg4
12. h3 Bxf3 13. Nxf3 Qf6 14. Qxd5 Qd8 15. Be3 Bh2+ 0-1

The above text is a sample PGN report using the exact notation required by IECG, it holds all you need to know. The use of these standard 7 tags is mandatory for the storage and processing of the games by our archivists. The PGN format is sentitive, please pay attention to the items below :
  1. DO NOT change the sequence of the 7 tags.
  2. DO NOT uppercase the tags. They should appear as shown with only the first letter capitalized.
  3. Other tags beside the mandatory 7 are not requested and should be preferably removed.
  4. No more than 1 space should appear between the tag and the first quotation mark (").
  5. DO NOT insert extra spaces within any tag or tag description. Extra spacing means extra work for the archivists !

Detailed explanations of the PGN tags for IECG tournaments


Due to the multitude of events offered, the simplest way to avoid errors is to just look at the tag suggested by your TD on the pairing chart.
Explanations below are only for the enthusiasts wishing to catch the details

All IECG events should be designated with the format TT-YYYY-S-NNNNN where these 4 fields are :
Tournament Specification : 2 characters
Year : 4 digits
The starting year of the tournament, and for multi-stage tournaments :
Tournament Stage : 1 character
Tournament Number : 5 digits
The number of a tournament, which define the tournament unambiguously within its category.

[Site "IECG"]

The site is always IECG for games played by e-mail, and LSS for games played on the server.

[Date ""]

The date tag is always in year, month, day format : it is the official starting date of the tournament as indicated in the pairing chart. The year always contain 4 digits, ie. 2008. The month and day are always two digits respectively, as shown in the example. Please do not leave out the century designation, leading zeros as needed in month or day, or rearrange the order.

[Round "1"]

The round tag is mandatory even for single round robin tournaments, where it should always contain the number 1. For double round robin tournaments as TG, TE, Q, the round value may be 1 or 2. Leaving out this tag messes up the ability of automated pgn readers and databases to read the games.

[White "Smith, Bill"]
[Black "Brown, William"]

The black and white tags are obvious. Pay attention to the format:
With a club of 12000 members, it is impossible to tell, in many cases, which name is the family name. We have players from all over the world and we try to keep
things straight, so please, show respect for other people's names by not mixing them up.

[Result "1-0"]

The ONLY valid results are as follows :
Do not insert extra spaces or comments !


The body of the game is always in the format shown. English Algebraic Notation is used. Please do not insert extra spaces between the moves or within the body of
a move pair. Extra spaces mean extra work and we receive hundreds of games to edit. PLEASE do not use extra spaces or any punctuation.

There is one exception to this rule. Some automated programs allow the move to immediately follow the period of a move number.
ie. 2.e2 e4 rather than 2. e2 e4
This is permitted.

It is not necessary to designate an en passant move with any extraneous text. If you do so for clarity when sending to your opponent, please remove the text when submitting your game report. THE BODY OF THE GAME REPORT SHOULD CONTAIN NO COMMENTS!

Finally, the game result at the end of the game body is NOT a move. It should not be given a move number. Only one space should precede the result and the last move.


The games archivists check every game present in tournament reports. If a game is not submitted in the proper PGN format, it must be manually edited. If moves are ambiguous or illegal moves are submitted, you can imagine the extra work for its correction. Please remember, the accuracy of the archives is only as good as the PGN reports you submit, so take care with your submissions.
IECG highly recommends that you use an automated email chess program to keep track of your e-mail games. There are plenty of fine PGN readers or databases tools to check your notation before you submit it to the tournament secretary. Let's minimize the problem at the source.


With Scid you can maintain a database of chess games, search games by many criteria, view graphical trends, and produce printable reports on players and openings. Freeware for Windows, Linux and MacOS.

Chess DB

ChessDB is a free chess database, derived from Scid, which can be used on Microsoft Windows, Linux, Apple Macs running OS X, FreeBSD, as well as most if not all modern UNIX versions. The program has translations into English, Spanish, Czech, Dutch, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Serbian and Swedish.


ECTool is a free utility to help with the management of playing correspondence or email chess. ECTool 7.01 is the current version. It runs under Windows 95, 98, NT, and XP.


ChessBase is a commercial personal, stand-alone chess database that has become the standard throughout the world. It is produced by the German company Chessbase GMBH.

Chess Assistant

Chess Assistant is a commercial tool for managing chess games and databases, playing chess through the Internet, analyzing games, or playing chess against the computer. It is developped by Convekta Ltd., a Russian based company.

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Last updated: 25 December 2008.