Additional Powers of the Pawn - The Basic Rules of Chess - The Complete Chess Course From Beginning To Winning Chess! (2016)

The Complete Chess Course From Beginning To Winning Chess! (2016)

Book One

The Basic Rules of Chess

Additional Powers of the Pawn

The pawn is the least valuable of all the chess units, yet it has one power which enhances its value considerably in special situations.

Pawn Promotion

If a pawn reaches the last square in a file, it is promoted - must be promoted - to a friendly queen or a rook or a bishop or a knight. White the player has the option here, he usually chooses a new queen, as this is the most powerful of all the chess units. This process, known as “promoting” or “queening” a pawn, is illustrated in Diagrams 43 and 44. (D)


White’s pawn is about to advance to the eighth rank and be promoted. White has decided to take a new queen, giving check at the same time.


White has queened his pawn, giving check and forcing the black king to move. White will then capture the black rook.

Pawn Captures en passant (“In Passing”)

This is a special capturing option which a player can exercise when any of his pawns have reached the fifth rank (for White, or the fourth rank for Black). This is possible only if all the following conditions are present:

(1) The pawn that will do the capturing must be on the fifth rank (for White, or the fourth rank for Black).

(2) The pawns involved must be on adjacent files.

(3) The pawn that will ultimately be captured must still be on its original rank (seventh for Black or second for White).

(4) The pawn that is to be captured advances two squares (Diagram 46).

(5) In reply, the opposing pawn captures the first pawn as if it had advanced only one square (Diagram 47).

Remember that only a pawn can capture in passing, and only a pawn can be captured in passing. (D)


Here is a situation in which only pawns are involved; they are on adjacent files; the black pawn is on its original rank, the White pawn has reached the fifth rank. It is Black to move.


Black exercises his option and advances his pawn two squares. White can now capture Black’s pawn “in passing,” producing Diagram 47.


White has captured in passing as if the black pawn had only advanced one square and had been captured in the normal manner.

As a rule, capturing in passing is optional. However, if a player does not make the capture in passing at the first opportunity, he loses his option.

There are two cases when capturing or not capturing in passing is compulsory. If the only way to get out of check is by means of an en passant capture, then the capture must be made. Likewise, if capturing in passing would expose one’s king to attack, then the capture cannot be made.