What is an en passant?
An en passant is a special move in chess.
See an example of how to en passant below:
Why does the en passant rule exist?
Before, the rules changes in chess, pawns were only allowed to move one square at a time.
But during the 15th century, a rule change happened where pawns were allowed to move two squares forward on their first move.
This gave rise to the situation where a pawn could move two squares forward on its first move and avoid getting captured by the adjacent enemy pawns.
The en passant special rule was added so pawns that these pawns could still be captured.
Without the en passant rule, a lot of unfair situations would happen during chess endgames that wouldn’t have existed prior to the rule changes.
The en passant rule is a way to keep things the same after pawns were allowed two move forward two squares during their first turn.
How to en passant?
Here is the most basic example of how to en passant.
Example 1: As White - Basic Example
Example 2: As Black - When pawns are blocked
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
What does en passant mean?
It means in passing.
What pieces can en passant?
Only pawns can en passant.
Official Rules/Conditions for an En Passant
- The pawn that captures must be on its fifth rank.
- The pawn that will be captured must be adjacent to the capturer.
- The pawn that will be captured must have just moved two squares in a single move.
- The capture can only be made on the move immediately after the enemy pawn makes the double-step move; otherwise, the right to capture it en passant is lost.
How many times can you en passant?
The en passant move can only be made on the move immediately after the enemy pawn makes the double-step move; otherwise, the right to capture it en passant is lost.
When Should You En Passant?
Though it’s relatively rare in practice, the en passant rule is important to know.
But as with any move in chess, it’s important to evaluate your entire position.
En passant can be a great way to advance a pawn you plan to promote, but if that same pawn secures your position, moving it could cause your whole position to collapse.