In the world of chess, notation is an important tool for recording and analyzing games. One of the most widely used and recognized chess notations is the Forsyth-Edwards Notation, also known as FEN. FEN is a standard system for describing the position of pieces on a chess board, providing a concise and structured way for players to communicate and analyze game positions. In this article, we will explore the history and structure of FEN notation, as well as its uses in the world of artificial intelligence.

History of FEN

FEN was first introduced in 1876 by the Scottish newspaper editor David Forsyth. Initially, it was used as a shorthand notation for recording chess games in chess columns and magazines. However, it was not until 1982 that Bill Edwards expanded on Forsyth´s original notation, creating the standardized version known as the Forsyth-Edwards Notation. FEN has since become the most widely used chess notation in both print and digital media.

FEN Notation Structure

The Forsyth-Edwards Notation is a string of characters that represent a specific chessboard position. It consists of six fields, each separated by a space. The first four fields describe the placement of the pieces on the board, while the remaining fields provide information about the current game status. Let´s take a closer look at each field and its corresponding symbols and meanings.

2. Active Color: The second field indicates the player whose turn it is to move. It is denoted by either “w” for white or “b” for black.

4. En Passant Target Square: When a pawn makes a two-square move, it can be captured by an opposing pawn as if it only moved one square. This field specifies the square where the pawn can be captured by the opponent´s pawn. If no pawn is eligible for capture, this field is represented by a hyphen (-).

6. Fullmove Number: The last field in FEN notation denotes the number of the current move. It starts at 1 and is incremented after each move made by black.

Uses of FEN in Artificial Intelligence

With the rise of artificial intelligence, FEN notation has become an essential tool for chess engines and computer programs that can play chess. By using FEN, these programs are able to quickly and accurately represent and analyze chess positions. One of the most popular uses of FEN in AI is for chess engines to store and retrieve chess positions from databases. This allows computers to quickly assess the best move in a given position and make decisions accordingly.

Furthermore, FEN notation has been implemented in chess software that allows players to analyze and practice against computer opponents. These programs often use FEN to display the current position and make move suggestions for players to improve their skills.


In conclusion, FEN Chess has been an essential tool for recording and analyzing chess positions for over a century. Its structured and concise notation has made it a favorite among chess players and AI programs alike. With its use in computer databases, chess engines, and software, FEN continues to play a crucial role in the world of chess and its advancements in artificial intelligence.

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