## Aloibraic Notation

No one knows for certain who invented the game of chess. Sir William Jones, writing in his eighteenth century essay 'On The Indian Game of Chess', suggested that it evolved in Hindustan. Known as 'Chaturanga1, it consisted of elephants, horses, chariots, and footsoldiers. Chaturanga reached the Arab lands in sixth century ad (where it became known as Chatrang) and was taken up in the west a century later. One thing we can be sure of is that the Arabs, in the ninth century ad, devised the now universally accepted method of recording chess games.

'Algebraic notation', as it is known, divides the chessboard up into vertical ranks of numbers (1-8) and horizontal columns of letters (a-h), giving each of the 64 squares its own co-ordinates.

The Chessboard

 8 a8 b8 c8 d8 e8 f8 g8 h8 7 a7 b7 c7 d7 e7 f7 g7 h7 6 a6 b6 c6 d6 e6 fB g6 h6 5 a5 b5 c5 d5 e5 f5 g5 h5 4 a4 b4 c4 d4 e4 f4 g4 h4 3 a3 b3 c3 d3 e3 ß g3 h3 2 a2 b2 c2 d2 e2 f2 g2 h2 1 al bl cl dl el n gl hl a b c d e f g h

The white pieces are set up in ranks 1 and 2; the black pieces are set up in ranks 7 and 8. Each of the main pieces is also given a letter:

King = K, Queen = Q, Rook = R, Knight = N, Bishop = B

All moves are represented by the co-ordinates of the square of arrival. Thus, if a White Knight moves from its starting position, bl to c3, the move is recorded as Kc3. Or if a Bishop moves from cl to a3, it is recorded as Ka3. There is no letter to denote a Pawn. If a Pawn moves from e2 to e4, it is economically recorded as e4.

It just so happens that the Dominic system is perfecdy suited to algebraic notation. The co-ordinates, consisting of one letter (column) and one number (rank), are already half-way to becoming people. A simple conversion of the number co-ordinate into a second letter will translate every one of the 64 squares into individual, memorable characters.

Using the Dominic system, square c3, for example, translates into CC (c — C; 3 — C), which in turn translates into Charlie Chaplin. Square h2 becomes Humphrey Bogart (h = H; 2 = B); d7 becomes David Gower (d = D; 7 — G); and so on.

There is only one small alteration to make. When you first learnt the DOMINIC SYSTEM, I suggested representing 6 as an S rather than an f. Similarly, the f column on a chessboard should be represented as an 's\ Thus, the square f3 translates into Sean Connery (f = S; 3 = C).

I have printed out below 64 characters and their respective positions on the chessboard. As ever, your own people are preferable to mine.

 8 Adolf Benny Charlton Daryl Edward Sherlock Gloria Hulk Hitler Hill Heston Hannah Heath Holmes Hunniford Hogan 7 Alec Bob Charles David Elizabeth Stefane Germaine Hughie Guinness Geldof de Gaulle Gower Goddard Grappelli Greer Green 6 Arthur Bram Claudia Delia Ebenezer Steven Graham Harry Scaigill Stoker Schieffer Smith Scrooge Spielberg Souness Secombe 5 Albert Brian Clint Duke Eddie Stefan Gloria Harry Einstein Epstein Eastwood Ellington Edwards Edberg Estafan Enfield 4 Arthur Bernard Christopher Dickie Eliza Sharron Gerard Humphrey Daley Davey Dean Davies Doolittle Davies Depardieu Davey 3 Andy Bill Charlie David Eric Sean Gerry Henry Capp Clinton Chaplin Copperfield Clapton Connery Cottle Cooper 2 Alastair Betty Cilia David Eric Seve George Humphrey Burnet Boothroyd Black Bowie Bristow Ballesteros Bush Bogart 1 Arthur Bryan Charles David Eamon Susan Gary Howard Askey Adams Atlas Attenborough Andrews Anton Armstrong Aiken a b c d e f K h

Once every square has been assigned a person, the task of memorizing chess moves already looks less daunting. As far as I am concerned, Seve Ballesteros or Claudia Schieffer are much easier to remember than f2 or c6. However, the pieces themselves must also be assigned characters.