Yes, I said GAMES of the Month !
I had a couple loyal Net-Chess players that submitted some games for me to analyze and share with you all and I have done so!
I plan to be as meticulous and detailed as if it were my games I was annotating!
for those of you that do not know the annotating symbols and what they mean here are the common symbols and I have included their meaning so you can follow and long and when you see a symbol, you can interpret and understand what it means as it pertains to the game !
The double question mark "??" indicates a blunder, a very bad mistake. Typical moves which receive double question marks are those that overlook that the queen is under attack or overlook a checkmate. Whether a single or double question mark is used often depends on the player's strength. For instance, if a beginner makes a serious strategic error (for instance, accepting gratuitous pawn weaknesses or exchanging into a lost endgame) or overlooks a tactical sequence, this might be explained by the beginner's lack of skill, and be given only one question mark. If a master were to make the same move, some annotators might use the double question mark to indicate that one would never expect a player of the master's strength to make such a weak move.
A single question mark "?" after a move indicates that the annotator thinks that the move is a poor one that should not be played. However, the nature of the mistake may be more strategic than tactical; in some cases, the move receiving a question mark may be one that is difficult to find a refutation for.
?! (Dubious move)
This symbol is similar to the "!?" (below) but usually indicates that the annotator believes the move to be objectively bad, albeit hard to refute. The "?!" is also often used instead of a "?" to indicate that the move is not all bad. A sacrifice leading to a dangerous attack which the opponent should be able to defend against if he plays well may receive a "?!". Alternatively, this may denote a move that is truly bad, but sets up an attractive trap.
!? (Interesting move)
The "!?" is one of the more controversial symbols. Different books have slightly varying definitions. Among the definitions are "interesting, but perhaps not the best move", "move deserving attention", "enterprising move" and "risky move". Usually it indicates that the move leads to exciting or wild play and that the move is probably good. It is also often used when a player sets a cunning trap in a lost position. Typical moves receiving a "!?" are those involving speculative sacrifices or dangerous attacks which might turn out to be strategically deficient.
Andrew Soltis jokingly called "!?" the symbol of the lazy annotator who finds a move interesting but cannot be bothered to work out whether it is good or bad.
! (Good move)
While question marks indicate bad moves, exclamation points ("!") indicate good moves—especially ones which are surprising or involve particular skill. Hence annotators are usually somewhat conservative with the use of this symbol; for example, they would not annotate a game thus: 1.e4! c5! 2.Nf3! d6! 3.d4! cxd4! 4.Nxd4! Nf6! 5.Nc3! All the moves of this main-line Sicilian Defence are good ones, but the players have demonstrated little skill by simply following well-known opening theory.
Once the players start making good choices when faced with difficult decisions, however, a few moves may receive exclamation points from annotators. Typical moves receiving exclamation points are strong opening novelties, well-timed breakthroughs, sound sacrifices, and moves that avoid falling into traps.
‼ (Brilliant move)
The double exclamation point ("‼") is used to praise a move which the annotator thinks really shows the player's skill. Such moves are usually hard to find. These may include sound sacrifices of large amounts of material and moves that at first glance seem very counter-intuitive.
Position evaluation symbols
These symbols indicate the strategic balance of the game position:
∞ – Unclear: It is unclear who (if anyone) has an advantage. This is often used when a position is highly asymmetrical, such as Black having a ruined pawn structure but dangerous active piece-play.
=/∞ – With compensation: Whoever is down in material has compensation for the material.
= – Even position: White and Black have more or less equal chances.
+/= (=/+) – Slight advantage: White (Black) has slightly better chances.
+/− (−/+) – Advantage: White (Black) has much better chances. It is also written as ± for White advantage, ∓ for Black advantage; the other similar symbols can be written in this style as well.
+− (−+) – Decisive advantage: White (Black) has a clear advantage.
Some annotators put together even more question marks and exclamation points. For example, "???" or "????" might indicate a truly abysmal move, for example, 1.f3? e5 2.g4??? Qh4# (Fool's Mate); an extraordinarily brilliant move might receive "!!!" or even "!!!!"; and a fascinating but probably unsound move might receive "?!?" or "!?!". However, use of such symbols is not common.
There are some other symbols used in multilingual publications such as the Chess Informant and Encyclopaedia of Chess Openings. These include:
○ – Space: Indicates more territory (space) owned by one player.
↑ – Initiative: Indicates an advantage in initiative.
↑↑ – Development: Indicates a lead in development. Also written ↻.
⇄ – Counterplay: Indicates that the player has counterplay.
∇ – Countering: Indicates the opponent's plan this defends against.
Δ – Idea: Indicates the future plan this move supports.
I HOPE this helps in the coming weeks as I post games from our fellow players here at Net-Chess and I hope for more feedback, input, suggestions and comments!
See you soon!
Post any puzzles you have or post your analysis of any games played on Net-Chess or anywhere else. Posts which do not contain game puzzles or analysis will be removed, such posts belong in the general forum. Commentary and discussion on openings is also welcome here.
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