Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Pawn Captures En Passant

Marble Chess Board
When we are talking about the Pawn capturing 'en passant', we are referring to the Pawn capturing 'in passing.' Please review how the Pawn captures so you can understand what we are referring to.

To review, the Pawn will usually capture one square forward to the left or right diagonally. Now we will tell you that the Pawn can capture in passing, or en passant, at certain times.

Note: Only a Pawn can capture En Passant, and only another Pawn can be captured this move.

Watch the diagram change as the Pawn captures En Passant.
Original position with black pawn never moved

The Pawn that will be captured is on it's second 'rank', or it's second horizontal row. (See the black Pawn.)  In other words, it has not moved yet.

The White Pawn that will capture needs to be on the 5th 'rank' and in a file next to the Pawn that will be captured (the black pawn).

Let's say the Black Pawn moves forward one square. Then it would be a normal Pawn capture move. The White Pawn has to just capture the Black Pawn in a normal diagonal capture.
Black pawn moves one square -
white can capture diagonally
 But we are talking about a different capture move.

So, to illustrate the Pawn en passant move, the Black Pawn will advance 2 squares instead of one. Remember the Pawn can move 2 squares on it's first move only.

Now, the White Pawn has the option of capturing the Black Pawn in a horizontal move, just as he would have captured if the Black Pawn would have advanced only one square.

Look at the diagram on the right now, and see the ending position of both Pawns. It is White's move now, and it has the option of capturing the Black Pawn. It does not have to move en passant, but it can if it chooses to.
Black pawn moves 2 squares (first move only)
- white pawn can capture horizontally 

The Black Pawn loses if he moves one square, and he loses if he moves 2 squares.

The White Pawn only loses if it does not take the option of capturing en passant at once. If you choose to move a different piece first then this Pawn loses its opportunity completely.

In other words, if the White Pawn does not immediately choose to make an En Passant move, the opportunity is lost.

If you know this move well and look for it, it can be a great surprise to those who are not looking for it.
Well done!


Impossible Chess Castling Moves

Marble Chess Board 
There are times when you may use the castling move and other times that you may not.

Temporary castling moves are moves where you may not be able to Castle at one particular time, but may in another move. Here's some conditions for Castling.

1. There has to be open spaces between the King and the Rook that you want to castle. It can be the King's side Rook or the Queen's side Rook.
2. You can not castle if the King is in check.
3. A King cannot pass over a square that is occupied by the opposition.

Temporarily Impossible:  the castling may be available later in the game.  The spaces have to be open between the King and the Rook to be castled. None of your chess pieces or your opponent chess pieces can in between the King and the Rook.

Also, keep in mind, as my son just suggested, that if the square that the King will travel over is being guarded by an opponent chess piece, you will not be able to castle with that Rook at that time.

The King moved before castling
 Permanently Impossible: There are certain conditions that do not permit castling to be done at all during the chess game. These are the conditions:

1. If the King has already moved once, the castling move may never not be done in that game.
2. If the Rook that you want to castle with has moved, you can not use that Rook to castle at any time during this game.

The Kings Rook has moved
before castling
In summary: if one Rook has not moved during the game, you can use that Rook to castle, if there are open squares between that Rook and the King, and if the squares are not being guarded.

The Queens Rook has moved
before castling
Remember: If you want to Castle, you must never move your King or your Rook before you use the castling move.

King and Rooks

Rook Chess Piece
King Chess Piece
In Check
Chess King Piece Moves


Castling With The King Rook or the Queen Rook

What is Castling?
What is the King Rook? What is the Queen Rook?
These are very important questions to some important strategy moves in Chess.

On the Chess Board, there are two Rooks on each side of the King and Queen. If you remember, the one Rook is on the side of the Queen, and the other Rook is on the side of the King. Hence the King Rook and the Queen Rook.

That makes two different Castling moves. The King is the only one who can Castle. The Queen can not Castle. The terms are used only to differentiate how the moves are to be made.

The purpose of using Castling is to keep the King safe.
It is used when there is a need to move the King to a square that is safe from attack.

See the picture below for an explanation of the King Rook and the Queen Rook.
Rook, King, Queen, Rook
The starting placement of the King and Rook, and the ending positions on Castling King side:
Ending Position for King Rook
Starting Position for King Rook

Castling from the Queen Rook is the same concept. You are just using the Rook next to the Queen instead of the Rook next to the King.

The King will move two squares so that he will be close to the Rook that he wants to use.

If he wants to use his own Rook, his two moves will bring him right next to the Rook and then the Rook will be placed on the opposite side of the King as the above illustrations show.

If the King wants to use the Rook on the Queens side (the Queen Rook), he will again move two squares toward that Rook, but will not be right next to the Rook. He will then place the Rook on the opposite side of him. See the illustration below.
Ending Position for Queen Rook
Starting Position for Queen Rook

If both sides on the Chess board Castle their King Rooks, they will end up facing each other across the board.

If both Kings use the Castle move on the Queens side (the Queen Rooks), the Kings will face each other across the board too.

Keep in mind, that it safer to use the King Rook to Castle with. This is a general rule. You may see that you need to use the Queen Rook at times. 

If you Castle your King early in the game it is important because it keeps your King safe. 

There are situations where Castling is impossible. Click here to find out when Castling is impossible.