Are you supposed to use an arrow → or not.

  • Pe8→Q

  • Pe8Q

Where 'P' is the piece being moved (Pawn) , 'Q' is promotion to (Queen), 'e8' is the file ('e') and rank ('8')?

2 Answers 2


FIDE is not the arbiter of chess-notation. By far the most common way to express promotion using algebraic notation is e8=Q (note that you do not write P for pawn, only the space it moves to). This is also the only style supported by PGN, the most widely used format for recording games on a computer.

e8/Q and e8(Q) are also sometimes used, mostly by old-timers or old books. I have never seen e8Q used (I guess I have seen it, I just never really noticed :) see below)

[Edit] By request, I did a small sampling of the literature I have available.

Of the 22 chess books I own, 14 use algebraic while 8 use descriptive (primarily because they are older books). Of the 14 algebraic:

  • 8 use the e8=Q style
  • 2 use the e8/Q style
  • 1 uses the e8(Q) style
  • 1 uses the e8Q style

    • Another 2 use the related symbolic style e8♛

So it looks as those e8Q is not as unpopular as I originally thought, but e8=Q is still overwhelmingly the most popular.

  • Then I will have to assume that you have done a poll of most people such that you can conclude that e8=Q is used the most often.
    – user1873
    Feb 26, 2012 at 20:39
  • @user1873: See edit Feb 28, 2012 at 0:50

According to Wikipedia's Pawn Promotion page,

When a pawn moves to the last rank and promotes, the piece promoted to is indicated at the end of the move notation, for example: e8Q (promoting to queen). Sometimes an equals sign (=) or parentheses are used: e8=Q or e8(Q), but neither format is a FIDE standard. (An equals sign is also sometimes used to indicate the offer of a draw when written on the scoresheet next to a move, but this is not part of algebraic notation.)4 In Portable Game Notation (PGN), pawn promotion is always indicated using the equals sign format (e8=Q). In older books, pawn promotions can be found using a forward slash: e8/Q.

According to the World Chess Federation (FIDE) handbook,

C.12 - In the case of the promotion of a pawn, the actual pawn move is indicated, followed immediately by the first letter of the new piece. Examples: d8Q, f8N, b1B, g1R.

Also in the same section, it is not necessary to denote the piece that is being moved if it is a Pawn.

Standard Algebraic Notation:

A pawn promotion move has =Q =N =R or =B appended to that.

Note: Standard algebraic notation (SAN) is the official notation of the FIDE which must be used in all recognized international competition involving human players. Concerning computer chess, SAN is a representation standard for chess moves inside the Portable Game Notation standard using the ASCII Latin alphabet, and should be supported as default notation by all modern chess programs and their user interfaces.

It is also quite possible that the OP was wondering about the use of → (arrow) or not with Figurine Algebraic Notation (FAN). Unfortunately, U+2654 or ♔ and other chess glyphs do not always appear as they should enter image description here. This is most likely due to the default fonts used in most browsers.

  • 1
    One minor bit of clarification: captures would modify this slightly, yes? Assuming for instance that there's only one pawn capture possible from the e- to f-files, would the appropriate notation be efQ, ef8Q, or exf8Q? Feb 26, 2012 at 17:14
  • 1
    @StevenStadnicki: if "the actual pawn move" is exf8, then the promotion would be notated as exf8Q. no modification necessary.
    – goldPseudo
    Feb 26, 2012 at 17:32
  • @goldPseudo Ahhh, of course. Thanks! (I don't recall what the correct notation for pawn captures is these days, but that's another question... :-) Feb 26, 2012 at 17:48
  • 1
    That makes good sense - I've seen all of e.g. 'exd5', 'ed5', 'exd' and 'ed' in opening books, so I wasn't quite sure which was formally correct. Feb 26, 2012 at 17:59

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