# En passant

• Last updated on 9/30/13, 8:31 PM.

• Send to friend

En passant (from French: "in passing") is a maneuver in chess which is performed after a player moves a pawn two squares forward from its starting position, and an opposing pawn captures it as if it had only moved one square. En passant may only be played immediately after a two-square square pawn advance, or the right to capture "in passing" is lost.

After pawns were granted the ability to move two squares on their first move, the En passant rule was introduced in 1490 to prevent pawns from having too much power or freedom.

Here is an example:

In the second diagram, White can NOT capture en passant:

White can take here though:
En passant captures are use in chess composition. Many Retrograde analysis problems utilize this fancy captures.

Black could only have moved c7-c5 last move, allowing 1.bxc6 e.p.#

• 6 years ago · Quote · #21
hmm never seen that before
• 6 years ago · Quote · #22

Well, I have readed about that in a book called Learn Chess or Call Me An Idiot, it great.

• 6 years ago · Quote · #23
What if the defending pawn is already one space out and moves up one more?  Is the rule still valid?  What if the attacking pawn moves up past the defending pawn that is already two spaces out?  Can he do still make the move?
• 6 years ago · Quote · #24

What about a bishop that threatens a pawns single space move?

• 6 years ago · Quote · #25

Hello, jammo-

"[1] What if the defending pawn is already one space out and moves up one more? Is the rule still valid? [2] What if the attacking pawn moves up past the defending pawn that is already two spaces out? Can he do still make the move?"

No, to both questions. The defending pawn must have just moved two squares. The attacking pawn (which is on an adjacent file and now on the same rank as the defending pawn that just moved) must capture it diagonally as if it had moved only one square--and the attacking pawn must do so on the very next move or waive the opportunity to capture like that. Neither of your questioned scenarios meets these criteria.

"[3] What about a bishop that threatens a pawn's single space move?"

Ah, this brings up something that has always bugged me. Why is it that only a pawn can capture en passant? If the real purpose of the two-square pawn move rule was to speed up play (as you often read), and if the en passant rule was invented to prevent a purely speed-up rule from being used defensively, then it would seem that it should enable bishops, knights, rooks, queens, and kings to capture on the skipped over square, too. But it doesn't.

Next, try to convince me why an absolutely-pinned piece or pawn should still be able to give check--which it can. That doesn't make sense to me, either. (Boy, would play be different if they changed that rule.)

• 6 years ago · Quote · #26
Que?
• 6 years ago · Quote · #27

I still am confused by En Passant.

How exactly does it work?

I've seen my dad use En Passant, but not on me.

• 6 years ago · Quote · #28

Oh and, Haywire23 said "Que?"

What the heck does that mean?

Dang Bammit.

Damn Dangit.

Bam Dammit.

Damn Bammit.

Bamd Damnit.

• 6 years ago · Quote · #29
As for the comment about absolutely pinned pieces giving check, think about it this way, in real time, if, say, a knight, were pinned to defending the king, but, could take the king immediately, then, he's not pinned, because he will kill the opposing king 1/2 move before the, (let's say bishop) that has pinned him would be able to kill his king.  And, since, in the game of chess, the action stops with the loss of the king, the pin is nullified by time.  In short, once your king is dead, it doesn't matter if you can kill the opposing king.  That's like taking turns in a duel...
• 6 years ago · Quote · #30

now i think i get it more.

• 5 years ago · Quote · #31

I have come across few games where en passant has presented itself..... it is a move that, in my opinion, shuold be thought of very carefully. I have utilized it where the results were detrimental, but have also had some success with it also.  should be used with caution I should say.

• 5 years ago · Quote · #32

Wasn't this one of the first things taught way back when we started playing?

• 5 years ago · Quote · #33

i always use to be stuck on this!

• 5 years ago · Quote · #34

If not for the "must be done right away or not at all" rule, laskers trap would be a lot harder to avoid.

• 5 years ago · Quote · #35

I am surprised so much people not knowing this rule. For newcomers, I suggest learning the rules from some book, not from untrusted sources..

• 5 years ago · Quote · #36

cool!

pawn has great power.

• 5 years ago · Quote · #37

foggle181987 wrote:

"As for the comment about absolutely pinned pieces giving check, think about it this way, in real time, if, say, a knight, were pinned to defending the king, but, could take the king immediately, then, he's not pinned, because he will kill the opposing king 1/2 move before the, (let's say bishop) that has pinned him would be able to kill his king.  And, since, in the game of chess, the action stops with the loss of the king, the pin is nullified by time.  In short, once your king is dead, it doesn't matter if you can kill the opposing king.  That's like taking turns in a duel..."

I've heard this "knight-with-quick-reflexes" explanation before, fog, but it does not persuade. As you said yourself, above: ". . . if, say, a knight, were pinned to defending the king, but, could take the [opposing] king immediately, then, he's not pinned, because he will kill the opposing king. . ."   And that's my point, if the knight can take the opposing king, then the knight is not really absolutely pinned, just as you say. But in actuality the knight really is absolutely pinned. An absolutely-pinned knight cannot move off his square, so it can't threaten a pawn on another square--even under current rules. But that absolutely-pinned knight, which can't move off his square, can threaten a king on another square  by giving check--even though that knight is not capable of moving off his square to consumate such a threat.

If you want to put it into medieval war terms, you could say that that knight is absolutely-committed (pinned) to defending his monarch, who then and there is under attack. He therefore is not available to participate in any attack on the opposing monarch at that time.

As I said, the present rule makes no sense to me, but I'm not interested in changing it officially. Maybe someone could program it into a website as a chess-variant, though, thereby becoming the first website to experiment with this rule. After a period of time, a check could be done of how many games the rule affected, and in exactly what manner--and what the players think of it. I think I'll suggest this to Erik to see how interested he might be in having Chess.com be the first to conduct this experiment. Why not?

• 5 years ago · Quote · #38

En passent is by far my favorite trick. Why? None of my friends know about it!!

• 5 years ago · Quote · #39

Just been caught out in one of my games.  I don't like the rule at all.  It is, in my book, unsporting, and sharp practice.  As a consequence, I am now going to resign from the game where I was humiliated by the sneeky move.

• 5 years ago · Quote · #40

I've been called a cheater for using this, until I show them a childrens chess book.