Example: Why is this a checkmate?

Are images instead of FEN/PGN allowed? If so, then should they continue to be allowed?

I believe Stack Overflow and Mathematics Stack Exchange will not allow images and will require its askers to post their code or MathJax. This makes a lot of sense: answerers can just dig up the source of the post and then copy + paste to answer.

In the above example, I guess there's not really a need to dig up the FEN/PGN.

2 Answers 2


Sometimes, additional information in images can be helpful, e.g. to indicate which piece made the last move. It's difficult to convey that information with the replayer (I guess Black's last move was something like Qa4xpc2). At other times, arrows may be helpful annotations as well.

If this is not the case, by all means suggest an edit to replace the image with a FEN string which activates the replayer. (Not both, we don't need duplicated information.) The only disadvantage I can think of is that users of the mobile apps see the PGN instead of a diagram, but the mobile apps are deprecated anyway.

I believe Stack Overflow and Mathematics Stack Exchange will not allow images and will require its askers to post their code or MathJax.

Please don't forget that there are many novice chess players out there who don't know algebraic notation, let alone FEN. It doesn't take much effort to copy code from your IDE to a Stack Overflow post; learning chess notation is a lot harder. Mathematical formulas are often MathJaxed by veteran users as well.

  • Comment re the edit: 'learning chess notation is a lot harder' --> Well why is it not their problem to have to learn FEN/PGN? I mean if they really want an answer here, then I think they should really have to learn FEN/PGN. i figure if they don't want to, then they can ask on board games se or something chess.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/949/…
    – BCLC
    Feb 9, 2021 at 13:13
  • 'Mathematical formulas are often MathJaxed by veteran users as well.' --> what do you mean? you mean non math jax posts are ok there because other users will just do math jax for them? Ok that's fine i guess: the question can be closed but then be re-opened AFTER it is math jaxed, regardless of who does the math jaxing
    – BCLC
    Feb 9, 2021 at 13:16
  • 1
    If the FEN/PGN is necessary to answer the question, you can close as 'unclear what you're asking'. But in most cases I can think of, an image + additional information is clear enough (but PGN is usually better, of course).
    – Glorfindel Mod
    Feb 9, 2021 at 13:30
  • 1
    Posting in a relevant image is fine, mostly it's done by newcomers anyway. It just happens that I, and other long time users, such as the mods, change it to the FEN on our own time. It's to create a "standard," I'd say. Feb 9, 2021 at 14:47

The only answer so far, Glorfindel’s answer, mentions that additional information in images can be helpful. Here is another example: The PGN/FEN viewer’s orientation can vary¹, and it is not always clear what the orientation is. Some images, like the one in If player A is in check but has a move which will checkmate player B without exiting check, is that move legal?, include rank and file labels.

This does not answer the main question: Should images of chess games/positions be allowed? I do not have a clear answer to this, but see How should we serve users who cannot access images?.

¹ This is also described in A list of “unknown” features of the replayer and How do I make the viewer 'flip' the board?.

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