FEN stands for "Forsyth-Edwards Notation." It is a standard method for describing chess positions using simple text. With a little bit of practice, you will be able to describe positions using FEN.So how do I describe a position in FEN?
The first thing you have to understand is that the board is broken into eight ranks. (A rank is a chess term for a row of eight squares running from left to right.) Each rank is converted into a string, then all eight of these strings are compacted together separated only by slashes (/).
Now let's learn how to come up with one of these strings like "pp3nPp" that represent a rank. Look at the 7th rank of the diagram in the example above. From left to right, you see: two black pawns, three empty spaces, a black knight, a white pawn, and a black pawn. In FEN, two black pawns are pp. Three empty spaces is simply 3, a black knight is n (not "k" -- that's used for the king!), a white pawn is P (remember, all white pieces are in capital letters), and a black pawn is p. Putting all this together, you get pp3nPp which represents that one rank.That's easy! Now how do I put a diagram in my message?
If you want to show a diagram in a message at Chessgames.com, simply insert the FEN code into your text. It will automatically appear as a small diagram, with a link to a larger diagram. For example, if you type this:Isn't there software that can do this for me?
Sure! Most modern chess programs provide support for FEN and allow you to copy or paste FEN positions.So now I understand everything I need to know about FEN?
Not really--FEN is actually more complicated than what we've described here. True FEN includes information regarding whose move it is, castling rights, en passant, the 50 move rule, etc. None of this matters if you are just using FEN to post diagrams to Chessgames, but if you are curious to learn more, please see Wikipedia's article on Forsyth-Edwards Notation.