After this post https://chess.stackexchange.com/questions/1583/king-bishop-and-knight-versus-king got closed as an exact duplicate, I began wondering if we could establish a community guideline to avoid writing piece abbreviations (K, Q, B, N, R) in the title, and instead specify the complete piece name.

You see, I expected that the above question had been already asked and searched for it before asking the question. Since the other post did not appear in the search results, I thought I could ask the question. If the other post had expanded "K B N" in the title, I think it would have appeared in the search results.

Let me emphasise I am not "upset" at my question being closed and I do not intend to "blame" the person who made the other post. (In other words, this is not a rant post.) I found the answer to my question (which is more important), but it would have saved time if I had found the post in the search.

By the way, I did search for this topic here on meta using a variety of keywords, and did not find anything, so I hope this post does not get closed as a duplicate too. :)

  • 3
    Sounds like a good idea.
    – ETD
    Commented Dec 4, 2012 at 6:26
  • 1
    I'd add that as a non native speaker, noting games with other letters, seeing such letters almost never help me understanding what is the post about (I mean I could work it out, but I'd rather not read the post, in fact). Sadly, I can't up-rep you for having such a good idea. Oh wait I can. Commented Dec 5, 2012 at 3:28
  • I actually did this with the question that was a duplicate.
    – xaisoft
    Commented Dec 5, 2012 at 18:23

1 Answer 1


What about replacing them by their corresponding beautiful Unicode forms ?


Granted it's a single character, I think as small as these are, they're still understandeable with greater ease, especially for beginners. I mean, k​N​ight, really ?

Either way, I think a script automatically replacing them would be better than a best practice.

  • Thanks for your answer. An automatic script is even better than what I suggested. I did not know it was possible. Regarding replacing with Unicode, I am sorry to say but either you are missing my point, or I am missing yours. It would be even harder to search. The other problem is when you want to refer to a chess piece generically ("two pawns", for example). You only have unicode symbols for a "white pawn" or "black pawn". Not trying to shoot down your idea, but trying to think of potential problems which have to be addressed.
    – Masked Man
    Commented Dec 5, 2012 at 4:44
  • Yeah, I agree my answer is not adressing the problems you raise. It's really more of an extended comment being open to downvotes. It mostly raises the fact that where we have (or keep) single-letters, Unicode could be a nice replacement. Maybe that belongs to another post that'd be heavily related. It does adress the understandability issue, and may be an option if your idea is rejected because we want to keep titles short, or something (not that I'd support such a rejection, mind you). Commented Dec 5, 2012 at 5:00
  • Ah I see, fair point. So looks like the problem is more complicated than what I originally thought.
    – Masked Man
    Commented Dec 5, 2012 at 5:38
  • 2
    "N" is used to avoid the archaic and awkward construction "Kt". ;) Using the Unicode symbols as a pictorial aid in posts seems like a fine idea. I really wouldn't want them automatically replacing the single characters, but perhaps an option to automatically insert them could work. (It needs to be optional, or else copy/paste on PGN in posts would get annoying.) Commented Dec 5, 2012 at 14:50
  • 2
    @NikanaReklawyks I like the idea of potentially using pieces in the body of an answer/question, but the titles are text-only, so spelling out the piece names at least there is probably best. Additionally, the unicode pieces aren't necessarily friendly to search engines...
    – Andrew Mod
    Commented Dec 5, 2012 at 17:12
  • @Andrew: Apart from the very good search engines argument, I don't see what you mean by "text-only". In what sense is Unicode not text? Commented Dec 5, 2012 at 18:08
  • 2
    @NikanaReklawyks I simply meant that most people when searching will enter "knight and bishop mate" or something like that as opposed to "<unicode knight> and <unicode bishop> mate", although for all I know google is smart enough to figure it out automatically....
    – Andrew Mod
    Commented Dec 5, 2012 at 18:15
  • 1
    No, it currently isn't. "[Unicode piece] mate" simply strips the Unicode and searches on "Mate", while "[Unicode piece] checkmate" comes up with rather seedy results relating to life investigations. As to Unicode, is it possible we could put the Unicode representations into the appropriate tags as images? Stackoverflow's Android and Facebook tags both have a logo, after all. Commented Dec 6, 2012 at 14:39
  • N = knight. Yeah, because K is reserved for King :-P In English, we have the same problem when people abbreaviate days of the week = Tuesday is abbreviated to T and Thursday becomes R! I like the Unicode chess symbols but wouldn't know how to type them and probably could not remember them. Looks like spelling names out in titles is the best overall.
    – Tony Ennis
    Commented Dec 16, 2012 at 15:02
  • @TonyEnnis: I copy/paste everytime (after making them easily accessible on my system). Thursday = Th, I would have guessed ? (In French we have Ma and Me for mardi and mercredi, tuesday and wednesday.) Commented Dec 16, 2012 at 15:06
  • Sometimes the abbreviations are to make the words fit into small spaces, only one letter can be used. Regardless of whether we think it is a good idea, it is common practice. By the way, your posts are full of little square boxes:   what are these?
    – Tony Ennis
    Commented Dec 16, 2012 at 15:40
  • @TonyEnnis: Narrow no-break spaces, used in French typography — for some reason detailed here, which I see no reason to restrict to French ! Here should give you some hints if you see them as squares. I sure agree with having to live with common practices, as long as I can use what I found best practices ;·) Commented Dec 16, 2012 at 17:30

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