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E.g. Rg6, is it better to put backticks so it becomes Rg6 instead? Especially for longer moves e.g. 1. e4 e5 2. ...

I think it looks nicer and more readable with the backticks. Any opinions?

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3 Answers 3

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Is it necessary to put backticks for moves?

Certainly not.

is it better to put backticks?

It is neither better nor worse.

When it comes to spelling there is both US English (color, meter, organize, etc.) and British English (colour, metre, organise etc.). Both are acceptable.

Consequently if I had to review a proposed edit which only changed one form to the other I would decline the edit. It would not be an improvement. If there were other useful edits I would probably let it pass (maybe I should revert the culture specific edits).

The same applies to backticks. If I have to review your edit which only changes to or from backticks I will likely decline.

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Related posts on Chess Notation:
Do we want to use this formatting for reproducing chess moves?
Universal style suggestion - use figurine algebraic and bold chess moves
Use of ellipses in chess notation (only about ellipses)

Personally I think 1. b4!! looks much better than 1. d4?? but if I saw plain formatting such as 1. c4, I wouldn't think it necessary to add backticks. As Brian Towers points out, I would reject edits to simply add backticks to invoke code formatting.

I've seen chess books use bold font to denote moves when in a paragraph and thought that works well.

I understand Glorfindel's point that such use of code formatting "is some kind of code" though I think it looks marginal at best but that's just my personal opinion. For clarity, it should probably be avoided if there is actual computer code in the same post.

My suggestions:

  • Backticks are not necessary. (both other answers agree)
  • Backticks are not better. (both other answers agree)
  • Don't suggest edits to alter formatting style and create needless work for reviewers.
  • Reviewers should reject such edits as "Makes no improvement whatsoever."
  • If a user makes a habit of suggesting such edits for review and wasting reviewer time, mod flag and put a custom comment so mods can gently correct such behavior.**

** Note: Probably a rare case given the site's traffic (2.6 questions per day, 4,675 visits per day).

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My two cents:

It is some kind of code, so that formatting is (in my opinion) appropriate. It is used inappropriately quite often: Inline Code Spans should not be used for emphasis, right?

On the other hand, most chess books and online articles only use special formatting to display a couple of moves (which are then also in tabular form). If they're part of a paragraph, they just use the normal font (OK, with figurines instead of K, Q, R, etc.). So it's definitely not necessary.

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  • But its still useable if one prefers it right?
    – DialFrost
    Apr 11 at 9:35
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    Yes, but I wouldn't edit other users' posts just to add that kind of formatting. Just like one shouldn't convert British English to American English or vice versa.
    – Glorfindel Mod
    Apr 11 at 9:48

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