CategoriesChess For Beginners

Chess Noob #7 – Special Pawn Moves

Like I said when I told you how the pieces move, the Pawn is a very tricky piece.  It might be worth the least (only 1 point), but it has the most special rules.  Remember, it moves forward but attacks diagonally.  And it moves only 1 space at a time UNLESS it’s the first time it moves, and then it can chose to move 1 space or 2.  Well, this tiny chess piece is about to get even more complex with it’s two special moves: En Passant, and promotion.

En Passant

En Passant (meaning “in passing”) is a very special move that can be done by Pawns, but only in certain places and situations.  As we discussed before, Pawns move forward (1-2 spaces on their first move and 1 space after that) and attack on the diagonal, as seen here

The special case of En Passant  occurs on the 5th rank for white Pawns, and the 4th rank for black Pawns.  Consider the following diagram:

White Pawns start on the 2nd rank moving toward the 8th rank, and black Pawns start on the 7th rank moving toward the 1st rank (in chess, “rows” are called “ranks” and “columns” are called “files”).  Therefore the pawns at a2 and f7 are in their starting position.  We know this means those 2 Pawns can move either 1 space or 2 spaces on their first move.  Let’s say it’s black’s turn.  He knows that if he moves his f-Pawn to f6, that white’s e-Pawn will take him.  So he decides to move 2 spaces to f5.

BECAUSE WHITE’S E-PAWN IS ON THE 5th RANK, he can take the f-Pawn as if it had moved only one space forward, but taking it “En Passant” or “In Passing”

This can ONLY be done on the 5th rank for white and the 4th rank for black as a special privilege for crossing into enemy territory.  ALSO, it can only be done to a Pawn moving 2 spaces on it’s first move.  If the f-pawn had already moved before the e-Pawn got there, En Passant would be illegal.   So if the position were already like this:

when the e-Pawn got to e5, he cannot take the f-pawn.  Also, if black’s pawn started on f6 and then moved to f5 so you can’t take it, en passant is not allowed.  ONLY on the pawns 1st move is en passant an allowable circumstance.

Pawn Promotion

One final special move for Pawns (see, I told you they were complex little pieces) is promotion.  Because Pawns are so weak (only worth 1 point) and because they have limited movement (only 1 space at a time in a forward direction), it is a great feat for a Pawn to get all the way to the other side of the board (8th rank for white and 1st rank for black).  Because of this, is a brave little Pawn manages to get that far, they are rewarded with a promotion.

A player that manages to get it’s Pawn all the way to the other side of the board may transform that Pawn into any piece they want (most players chose a Queen).

So now you know all the moves of the chess pieces (from this blog and from “All About Pieces” parts 1 and 2) as well as how to win (from “Check, Checkmate, Stalemate”).  Go out and play chess with the confidence that you know the rules of the game!  You may not start winning matches right away, but at least you know what you’re doing.  And you’ll learn even more by bookmarking this blog so you can stay up to date with all future blogs!

Have a topic you’d like me to cover or a question you’d like to ask? send me an e-mail at [email protected]

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