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Celebrate En Passant Awareness Day With Chess.com

Celebrate En Passant Awareness Day With Chess.com

CHESScom
| 100 | Fun & Trivia

Have you ever had your pawn captured as if it had moved only one square, but you had moved it two squares? If so, were you confused and scared? Well, you are not alone.

More and more members are contacting our support team with heartbreaking testimonials. Bugs, glitches, cheaters, and seemingly law-breaking bots are making players from all over the world feel lost and bewildered:

"I suspect that my opponent in this game cheated...but to give him the benefit of the doubt I will report it as a bug ..........please look over this game and the move I made which was c5 and he captured my pawn dxc6...that capture was supposed to be an impossible capture on his part, how he achieved this I do not know....or perhaops it truly was a bug in the system."

"There is a glitch in the system. The bot eats a piece that it is not supposed to. it has happened twice. Ate two pawns."

"Kinda boring, requires an update. Please patch the En Passant bug."

Have no fear, though! The situation is not as dire as it looks. En passant is a real thing, and today Chess.com invites you to celebrate En Passant Awareness Day. It was on this day 140 years ago that the Italians, on a quest to make chess the ultimate game, adopted en passant—unaware of all the fuss the rule would create more than a century later.

In 1881, Italy was the last country to adopt the modern rules of chess that included castling, pawn promotion, and en passant. The new rules were confirmed at a meeting in Milan that concurred with Italy's third National Chess Tournament, specifically on the morning of September 8, 1881, on this day 140 years ago. This ended a long debate of many years that had divided chess players.


Understanding Is Key: What Is En Passant

En passant is a natural part of chess and should not be stigmatized because it doesn't fit society's stereotype of a "normal" move. It is a special chess rule regarding how pawns can take other pawns, and it's quite beautiful once you understand it.

A pawn can take another pawn "in passing" under the following circumstances:

  • The capturing pawn advanced exactly three ranks;
  • The captured pawn moved two squares in at once, landing right next to the capturing pawn;
  • The capture happens on the turn immediately after the pawn being captured moves. If the capture doesn't happen on that move, it can no longer happen at all.

The player making the capture moves their pawn one square diagonally to the side of the captured pawn and removes the opponent's pawn from the game.

En Passant Awareness Day
En passant doesn't need to be taboo.

En Passant: The Memes

Now you know what en passant is, but the memory of being on the receiving end of it for the first time may still haunt you. Well, you know what they say: laughter is the best medicine. If you've ever felt hurt because of en passant, we hope these memes will make you feel better.

En Passant Awareness Day

En Passant Awareness Day

En Passant Awareness Day

En Passant Awareness Day

Living With En Passant: Acceptance Is The First Step

We understand living with en passant can seem scary at first. Trust us, we've been there. However, we also know that acceptance is the first step for a happy and fulfilling life as a chess player. And we also know that to accept, you must first understand.

First-time en passantees can sometimes be left with a feeling of profound confusion. You may feel like everything you thought you understood about chess has suddenly been taken away from you. The rules and laws that held the game together may seem to be crumbling right before your eyes. We assure you that's not the case.

En Passant Awareness Day

En passant became a rule a little after chess players changed another of the game's laws: pawns began moving two squares on their first move. In olden times, pawns could only move one square at a time, and chess games were much slower. 

To make chess more appealing, players started to adopt a new rule where pawns could move two squares when leaving their homes. The game did become more exciting, but also unbalanced: creating passed pawns was much easier.

The en passant rule came to remedy the "passed pawn situation." Players could then capture pawns that flew by their defenses as if their opponent had moved their pawn just one square up. Balance was restored. The chess world could breathe again.

It turns out that en passant is just a misunderstood hero.

En Passant Awareness Day

Raising En Passant Awareness For A Better Tomorrow

As much as en passant is a force of good, we understand it can still be hard to cope with it when it sneaks up on you. For this reason, Chess.com has taken multiple measures to reduce en passant-related trauma for a better future.

En Passant Awareness Day

Here are a few of our initiatives:

En Passant Information On Game Moves

Whenever en passant happens on one of your games, you'll see an information icon next to the move's notation. Hovering over that icon with your cursor will give you information about the move and the option to read more about it.

En Passant Pop-Up

If you're a new player and someone captures en passant, we'll display a pop-up message on the edge of your screen with an explanation about the move.

En Passant Education

We understand that information and awareness are the best measures to prevent en passant-related stress. Please watch our lesson on en passant and read our article about it.

Getting Up And Close With En Passant

En passant shouldn't be a big deal now that you know and understand it. Still, we want to be with you through every step of your journey. We want to make sure the next time you see en passant in a real game, you're fully prepared for it.

Take a moment to solve the puzzles below using the en passant rule.

Puzzle 1

Puzzle 2

Puzzle 3

Puzzle 4

Puzzle 5

If you want to get even more involved with en passant, make sure you check out today's Daily Puzzle.

A Safer Community For All: Spread The Word

Sharing is caring. If you know someone who plays chess and is at risk of being exposed to the negative feelings associated with surprise en passant, please direct them to this page. Make sure you also spread the word through social media using the hashtag #EnPassant.

Together we can make chess safer for every player!

En Passant Awareness Day

When did you first learn about en passant? Let us know in the comments below.

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