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!


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