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I'm Amazed at Some People's Hatred of Descriptive Notation

  • 20 months ago · Quote · #1


    OK, I get it...algebraic is easlier and more convenient.  It's less confusing when trying to follow along in your head, etc.


    There are tons of great books that will teach you a lot about chess that are available in descriptive notation only.  To me, books such as Judgment and Planning in Chess, The Art of the Middlegame, 500 Master Games of Chess, and Alekhine's Best Games of Chess are must owns.  I cannot imagine trying to get better without having access to those books.  They have helped tremendously in my growth as a player.

    And yet I know dozens of people who will never read them since they are not available in algebraic.

    Break out of your comfort zone and you just might learn something!

  • 20 months ago · Quote · #2


    who cares? 


    please stop posting stupid things

  • 20 months ago · Quote · #3


    You should take your own advice there tintillo...

  • 20 months ago · Quote · #4


    I only learned algebraic notation so find descriptive to be difficult.  Though it is handy to know when looking at games from the old books you mention.

  • 20 months ago · Quote · #5


    I still prefer descriptive. I know where QN4 is from White or Blak's perspective. I have to count on fingers and toes to find g5. Guess I'm a relic, but I dont care.

  • 20 months ago · Quote · #6


    I prefer rooperi's view point. It is the question of DEBIT and CREDIT in accounting. Whose point od view is a credit or debit?

  • 19 months ago · Quote · #7


    i grew up with descriptive and so when the chess world started to really get serious about the change to algebraic i was struggling ... but in the end, i have found algebraic to be far less likely to be misread and now i have to slow down and take my time when working thru descriptive games ... algebraic is better imho but descriptive certainly 'sounds better' when saying a chess move out loud ;) ('king's knight to queen's bishop three' is far loftier than 'e2 knight to c3' .. and said with a refined british accent it sounds even better) :)

    but also when you read the reviews on Amazon.com of someone who ordered a chess book and didn't bother to read that it was in descriptive notation, they will go off on a full-fledged RANT, throwing themselves on the floor and kicking and screaming about how terrible descriptive notation is ... good god you'd think someone had asked them to try to behave like a civilized human being ... it is amazing and you're right on the money there, chris, as i am still surprised to see these people just flip out ... i don't know what the big deal is ... descriptive isn't that hard to learn ... i didn't want to learn algebraic but i did and i have no trouble with either ... and neither is difficult to use ... just sit down with a book of descriptive and dedicate a week of playing thru chess games using descriptive and you will have mastered it by the third day i would be willing to wager ...

    and tintillo, if you have nothing better to say than that, then yes, please take your own advice you jackamoe

  • 19 months ago · Quote · #8


    "jackamoe", I learnt a new word. Laughing

  • 19 months ago · Quote · #9


    cormac_zoso wrote:

    just sit down with a book of descriptive and dedicate a week of playing thru chess games using descriptive and you will have mastered it by the third day i would be willing to wager ...

    That's exactly where I was going with that.  I was also someone who switched rather late.  I used descriptive right up to the end of the 80's. 


    Having made the switch, I far prefer algebraic.  It's easier and more logical.  I almost never get confused when playing through a game in algebraic.


    But there are some seriously high quality and very useful books that are out there that are not in algebraic.  So refusing to learn something new eliminates some potentially useful things from your universe.  I love Judgment and Planning in Chess by Max Euwe.  To my knowledge it's never been released in algebraic.  If it ever was it's certainly not available now. 


    That book gave the beginnings of learning to plan.  To this day I go back and read through parts of it because I really think it's well done.


    And yet there are people who will never so much bother as to look at it.  Not that there aren't other more modern works that cover this topic as well, but they weren't written by a world champion who possessed a very clear strategic style that can be grasped by so many people.


    But, to each their own I suppose.

  • 19 months ago · Quote · #10


    Love em both. As long as its a good book.

  • 19 months ago · Quote · #11


    Some of the old books in descriptive notation have been transcribed into pgn files and are freely downloadable. Benefit may be gained by reading the book at the same time as playing through these files. Of course, new algebraic editions would be nicer for most folk.

  • 19 months ago · Quote · #12


    I admit to going into a rage when a book I've ordered comes in descriptive. I'm mad at myself for sloppy research though, not at descriptive notation-that would be silly.  And the reason I'm mad at myself is that I know the little extra added effort necessary to read descriptive means I'll never get to the book.  The road to mediocrity is apparently paved with unread books.....The actual quote is more like "The road to Hades is paved with good intentions".  I know every time I buy a book I feel that my potential growth has been enhanced.  I get a warm and fuzzy glow basking in the mere presence of such erudition, don't you?

  • 19 months ago · Quote · #13


    baddogno wrote:

      I know every time I buy a book I feel that my potential growth has been enhanced.  I get a warm and fuzzy glow basking in the mere presence of such erudition, don't you?

    I used to.  I'd by several books at a time, etc.  I'd go so far as to read the introduction and maybe some of the text.  I'd feel full of possibility and wonder.


    Then I'd set the book on a shelf and not really look at it much.  And actually work through it?  Hells no!


    But then there came a day when i decided to actually start reading the books.  What I learned was that it could take weeks to get through a book.  It seemed impossible and not worth it!  How was I going to be a master in a week and a GM a week after that if I had to spend weeks on one book when I knew it would take dozens of books to get a lot better than I was.


    But since adopting that approach my understanding of chess has increased tremendously and I am on the road to master, even if it's slow going at times.

  • 19 months ago · Quote · #14


    I've never seen a book using descriptive notation. Modern books use algebraic and important older books have been translated to German + algebraic. My advice: learn German, then you don't have to learn descriptive notation Smile.

  • 19 months ago · Quote · #15


    Ich spreche klein Deutsch, aber nicht zo viel.

    I'm sure my sentence structure is garbage and I have the vocabulary of a five year old...

  • 19 months ago · Quote · #16


    It was kind of annoying for me to go from algebraic to descriptive because it just seemed like a harder way to do the same thing. But the main thing is that if you're used to doing something a certain way you may not want to change.

  • 19 months ago · Quote · #17


    Descriptive notation makes used book stores treasure troves of great, cheap, chess material... but I just hate it. I grew up with it, it's what I learned first, and I still hate it. I waded thru Pachman's middlegame book in descriptive because it was too good a book to pass up... but in general I just can't be bothered with descriptive. I prefer algebraic to an irrational degree. 

  • 19 months ago · Quote · #18


    Imagine we had to use descriptive notations from Shakespeare's time in chess tournaments:

    "Then the black king for his second draught brings forth his queene, and placest her in the third house, in front of his bishop's pawne"

    (Quote from wikipedia)

    Actually, I was first confronted with descriptive notation when I came to England and went over a game with a friend we played the day before. Without the board during a cigarette break and he used the descriptive to explain his moves. I was quite puzzled at the first time hearing "Pawn on queen's bishop 3". But since he explained the system to me it wasn't that hard to adjust. Maybe it's even easier at the start to visualise the g file as the king's knight file instead with a profane "g".

  • 19 months ago · Quote · #19


    ChrisWainscott we are in accordance.  Hold up... I thought the title of this thread was: "I'm Amazed at Some People's Hatred."  I guess I still agree with you though.  

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