Chess En Passant Explained – a Step-By-Step Guide

What Is En Passant In Chess?Chess En Passant Explained – A Step By Step Guide

  • En passant is a special pawn capture rule in chess; a French expression which means “in passing”.
  • The capturing pawn must be on its fifth rank.
  • The threatened pawn must have moved two squares from its starting square, and be on an adjacent file.
  • The capture can only be made on the move immediately after the opposing pawn makes the move, otherwise, the right to capture en passant is lost.
  • If all these conditions have been met, the threatened pawn can be removed, as if the pawn had moved only one square.

Due to the fact that en passant is relatively rare, usually appearing less than once per game, even experienced chess instructors may neglect to mention en passant, to avoid confusing their students while they are still trying to understand more common basic concepts.

Still, if you want to become better at chess and don’t be tricked by your opponents with a rule you don’t know, you will need to familiarize yourself with the chess en passant rule.

By reading this article, you will learn and understand en passant. Maybe you can even surprise your opponent with en passant in your own games and gain a crushing advantage.

En Passant Chess Move

En passant is a French expression which means “in passing”. In chess, en passant is a special pawn capture rule. We all know how pawns move. A pawn can usually just move one square forward, but chess rules might give it some more options in certain positions.

From the initial position, the pawn can even move two squares forward if desired. If a pawn wants to take another piece, it has to move one square diagonally. Pawns, as loyal foot soldiers, are only allowed to go forward, but never backward. En passant is an exception to this rule.

It can only occur immediately after a pawn moves two squares from its starting square, and it could have been captured by an enemy pawn had it advanced only one square.

In this case, the opponent is allowed to capture the pawn “as it passes” through the first square. The result is the same as if the pawn had advanced only one square and the enemy pawn had captured it.

In order to better understand the chess en passant rule, let’s take a look at the following example:What is en passant in chess

Let’s summarize the conditions for the chess en passant rule:

  • The capturing pawn must be on its fifth rank (imagine a White pawn on d5).
  • The threatened pawn must have moved two squares from its starting square, and be on an adjacent file (so, if White has a pawn on d5, then Black’s c-pawn and e-pawn could be threatened with en passant capture if they move from their starting squares).
  • The capture can only be made on the move immediately after the opposing pawn makes the move, otherwise, the right to capture en passant is lost.
  • If all these conditions have been met, the threatened pawn can be removed, as if the pawn had moved only one square. So, if White has a pawn on d5, and Black’s c-pawn advances from c7 to c5, White may capture Black’s c-pawn, and White’s own pawn will move to c6.

Conclusion – The En Passant Pawn Capture Rule

Now that the confusion about the chess en passant rule has been cleared up, keep an eye out for opportunities to play en passant, and if it is the strongest move, go ahead and take advantage of your right to play it!

If you found this useful, you might be happy to know that Chessable has a list of 7 Special Rules You May Not Know. In addition to the en passant chess move, listed at 5, we have a feeling the latter 6 rules will be effective in your chess mastery toolbox.

We hope this article was informative for you and you are interested to learn more about chess rules and chess pieces now! If you want to make any remarks, then feel free to leave a comment.

4 comments on “Chess En Passant Explained – a Step-By-Step Guide

  1. Scott Graham says:

    When en passent is available do you have to take it or can you move something else?

    1. Nelson Patikayi says:

      Playing en passant is optional. You can play something else, however, once you play something else, the en passant option will no longer be available.

  2. Kartikeyan Kishor says:

    Can you capture pieces via en passant or is it only pawns?

    1. Fernando iChess says:

      Only pawns!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share

iChess Blog

4 comments on “Chess En Passant Explained – a Step-By-Step Guide

  1. Scott Graham says:

    When en passent is available do you have to take it or can you move something else?

    1. Nelson Patikayi says:

      Playing en passant is optional. You can play something else, however, once you play something else, the en passant option will no longer be available.

  2. Kartikeyan Kishor says:

    Can you capture pieces via en passant or is it only pawns?

    1. Fernando iChess says:

      Only pawns!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

×
×