En Passant means “in passing” in French, and you’ll soon see why the rule is named this way. It should be the last of the three special moves taught to a new player, after castling and pawn promotion. Players are often confused by en passant, but I promise to make it clearer!
Things to Remember about En Passant
- En passant involves pawns capturing pawns. No other pieces can capture or be captured.
- The capturing pawn must be three squares from his starting line. So a white pawn must stand on the 5th rank to make the capture and a black pawn must stand on the 4th rank.
- The pawn-to-be-captured must jump two squares from its starting position, ending up next to the capturing pawn.
- The capturing pawn, standing next to the enemy pawn, moves diagonally behind it and removes it from the board.
- If the chance for en passant appears, you must do it immediately or you lose your chance with that combination of pawns.
En Passant examples
Now, let me show you what I mean. Take the following position:
I’ll show en passant for both sides. First for white:
Let’s say you pass up your chance for en passant. Well, you might get a different opportunity later, even with the same pawn! How? The following position will show what I mean.
The en passant rule is not so bad, is it?
- Pawns capture pawns
- Capturing pawn three squares from starting line
- Enemy pawn moves two squares from the starting line at once, standing adjacent to the capturing pawn
- Must capture immediately if desired